What does it take to succeed at marketing in today’s printing business? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t take. Buying into the hustle-bro marketing mythology.
What is hustle-bro mythology?
If you watch YouTube, you see snippets of pre-roll advertising that feature earnest, fast-talking “hustle bros.” These dudes talk about how their program made them millions with minimal effort and investment. Ten years ago, you could find that same guy on late-night infomercials hawking real estate investment programs. No money up front! No risk! The money will pour in!
It’s so tempting to believe, isn’t it?
In fact, it’s so tempting that when I talk to printing company owners, they start with the hustle-bro concept right out of the gate:
“Hey, I think we can do all our marketing with paid ads and keyword content. The money should pour in.”
Maybe they are even working with a content agency.
Then why are they calling me?
Because selling print is not like selling impulse items like shoes or discount electronics.
We need to play a different game, and hustle-bro is not it.
In fact, for a print customer looking for a trusted provider and ongoing professional resource, the hustle-bro approach may be a giant turn-off.
It’s the difference between seeing ads for cut-rate accident lawyers who want to take your case on contingency versus the attorney who advises you on setting up your children’s trust fund. Big difference.
Don’t get me wrong, I think paid ads and strategic content can be and often are part of a successful marketing plan. I’m just saying, be careful who you get your advice from.
If not hustle-bro advice, then what?
In my decades of experience working with printing companies, successful print customer marketing requires a fine mix. It takes regular financial investment, time, experimentation, the proper use of tools and channels, well-functioning internal or hybrid teams, and an owner with a realistic view of managed risk.
Good marketing also benefits from having a solid, values-based foundation. I always say: build your business from the inside, so your people want to do good work and are proud to represent you.
Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s essential and intertwined with your overall presence. Your marketing is evident in every place where you are visible.
We must discard the hustle-bro mirage and make space for real marketing.
Real marketing takes a willingness to create something designed just for you, suited to your ideal print customers, and not a plug-and-play approach that looks like every other printer out there.
There is so much opportunity out there that marketing can touch and influence. You can’t believe the conversions I have on a regular basis with people who are doing amazing, amazing things in marketing. Just this morning, I had my mind blown by a prospective customer on the things they are doing with AI.
Exciting times we live in!
Hustle-bros capitalize on that. They know how to mix fear and excitement with shiny objects and empty promises. They would have you believe that the world is changing so much you need to discard what you know in your gut.
Here’s what I know in my gut.
To succeed in marketing, we need to be open and aware. We must watch, pick things up, make connections between ideas, and glean and discard. We need to gain a deeper understanding of our customers, including their behaviors, preferences, and quirks. We must understand how influence and persuasion work in marketing, and we must be good writers.
Finally, we have to jettison formulas and give our teams permission to see what sticks when we throw spaghetti against the wall.
And we must be willing to throw it again and again and again.
Now let’s talk about you.
What does your marketing plan look like? What could it look like? What would make you proud? What would get you excited?
“Am I basing my expectations on the hype created by hustle-bro culture? Or (I hope) am I building something that sets the right tone, presents our company in the best light, attracts ideal customers, and sets us up for continued success in a constantly-changing world?”
The hustle-bro culture has done us wrong, in my opinion.
It’s time to blast apart the hustle-bro myth and build a marketing plan that wins in the print business arena.
Excited? I am!
Check out last month’s post: https://printmediacentr.com/how-to-build-your-print-business-from-the-inside
Sandy Hubbard, CSM is a Marketing Strategist and Business Advisor for the Printing Industry. She consults with owners and C-level managers on how to build solid print-media-tech businesses that are strategically positioned for the future. She is the host of #PrintChat, a global community that meets on LinkedIn. Connect with Sandy here!