When we think about creating a new product or service for society to use, when it comes down to it, our goal is to solve a problem. Unless no option is yet available, there are really only two answers to solving such problems: a simpler way of doing something or a more efficient way of doing something.
Now imagine if you created a product that does both. The simplicity and efficiency is so glaringly evident that the product should basically sell itself. I mean why else wouldn’t a product like that succeed?
I cue in something in which I will call “Oxymorons in Marketing”
Grabbing your handy dictionary, Oxymoron by definition is “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” A product which should sell but, because of poor execution, doesn’t, is something that you should stand up and take the blame for.
This is actually a common problem from many new start-ups and new entrepreneurs because many times they do create such a product that may revolutionize an industry. With their many years of experience in that certain industry, they are able to see that need and decide to create a solution. However, the creation of a product or the running of a service is a very specific and technical skill set. Running a successful business takes an entirely different skill and knowledge set that many new entrepreneurs may not possess and, their underestimating of the importance of that knowledge, can lead even the most promising products to failure.
There is a product out there right now that I truly believe should and will eventually change the world. In entrepreneurial terms, it’s a disrupter in their industry, yet, because of poor marketing, will take much longer for society to accept.
Soylent is a meal replacement drink. In the words of it’s founder, Robert Rhinehart, a “drink [that] does not require refrigeration and also does not spoil until at least one year.” He notes that “given the amount of food that is thrown away, that spoils, and the unconscionable amount of energy that we spend on refrigeration in the United States, I think that it’s … a vast resource savings over the majority of the food system.”
Tackling and solving the problem of food inefficiency and world hunger is quite possibly the holy grail of problems in the world today. What Soylent provides is an alternative to give your body nutrients. This can help limit food waste and act as a substitute to areas of society that lack access to food, as the production and sales cost are relatively low as well. Not to mention the ease in storability and portability versus traditional food.
If you haven’t caught on to the tone in my writing, I truly believe in the creation of this product and the positive changes it will bring about to the world. However… it’s unfortunately currently a product of “Oxymorons in Marketing.”
In 1973, a science fiction film was released and is a film popular in culture. The name of the movie is called “Soylent Green.” The film takes place in a dystopian society where much of the population survives on processed food rations, including “soylent green”. The ingredients? Spoiler alert. Human beings.
I remember attempting to share my excitement of this new product and as soon as I brought up the word “Soylent,” immediately a reference was made which ended up curbing the conversation!
The article started off with this quote by Natalie Massenet: “Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”
Yes, perhaps it’s harsh for me to call this article “Oxymorons in Marketing” but I remember a saying that I read by Bill Gross that “failure is OK, as long as it’s quick, inexpensive & you learn” from it.
This, I believe is a prime example that budding entrepreneurs can learn from of how not to market your product.