In the traditional business mentality, many times companies (or individuals) will create a product or service and then head out to find their customers. They spend way too much time and money trying to convince potential customers that their thingamajig is useful and needed and better than the competition’s thingamajig.
Reverse Marketing, however, employs a much simpler approach: find a group of people who have a need, and then fill it. Yes, it seems like this concept would be in Business 101, but you’d be surprised at how many people head off into the entrepreneurial realm because they’re trying to fill their own needs…not their customer’s needs. Have you ever been swayed into a direct marketing company because you personally loved the products, but didn’t do the research to see if there was an actual need for the products by people other than yourself?
One of my favorite reverse marketing examples come from a young man (we’ll call him Joe) who was a car enthusiast. Joe spent a lot of time on various car message boards to get tips and ideas about restoring cars. Over time, he noticed that people who owned a certain style of car were griping that their hood ornament kept getting stolen. He did a little research and found a company that sold replacement ornaments, and contacted them to see if he could re-sell them. Joe then began offering his friends on the message boards links to where they could get these ornaments, and made income simply for the referral. He wasn’t spamming them, he wasn’t “selling” them, and he certainly wasn’t going out and putting ads in the newspaper or printing up flyers for his neighborhood. Joe saw a need within his online community and he filled it: Reverse Marketing!
Example 2: My friend Alex, the musician, came to me one day to ask advice about finding a way to quit his day job so he could focus more on music. He didn’t have any recording studio experience, nor was he proficient on the computer. I asked him to tell me more about his music and the challenges he faces in earning enough money to live. He told me the biggest problem was booking gigs. Apparently venues didn’t like to book single musicians because they had a whole night to fill. So his challenge was to find other bands that were available when his band was available so that they could create a full bill for the venue. If they could get more gigs, he was sure they would get more name recognition and sell more CDs…but it was a frustrating process. Is the solution to Alex’s problem as obvious to you as it was to me?
I told Alex that he should start up a booking service…it could be as simple as an online calendar showing when bands were available. That way, filling a venue’s bill would be a matter of making some calls to verify, and then presenting it to the venue itself. He could charge a nominal monthly fee to the bands to list their availability, which would help him earn some money and plot his escape from the 9-5.
The final example of reverse marketing comes from the education field. If you’re a teacher (or know of someone who is) you’re aware of the painstaking process of creating fun, engaging, and relevant lesson plans.
Teachers pay Teachers is an open marketplace where teachers can buy, share, and sell original lesson plans. What a brilliant idea! Teachers have a need and other educational professionals in the field can fill it while making extra income.
“If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies…in the real world, you need to find what people want first, and then simply give it to them.
Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company. Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!