Interdisciplinary insights part 1: Marketer meets entrepreneur
Ken Murray kicks off a series where he’ll be sitting down with colleagues and contacts from a diverse range of disciplines, to find out what marketers can learn. First up is Braeden Lamarr, the man behind fashion label EP.
Mark Zuckerberg once said that someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good – they are a hundred times better.
There are people who do a job, and then there are those exceptionally talented, those who have found synergy between their habits, behaviour, communication and their purpose professionally. In the recruitment industry these people are called ‘A-players’ or ‘stars’. Those rare, intrinsically motivated individuals – I’m sure I’m speaking to one right now.
I’ve observed people who are pretty much born with an eye for meticulous detail. They would then develop this ability rigorously through everyday life; the care they take in their work speaks volumes through the business results they create. Great communicators, artists, engineers, whether you subscribe to nature or nurture it is undeniable that some people have savant specific skill sets that they bring to the table at work.
In fact, I have spent the last couple of months speaking to different A-players across a variety of positions and industries to form this series on interdisciplinary insights for marketers, in their respective fields.
On Thursday night I was bouncing ideas with start-up fashion entrepreneur, Braeden Lamarr, the man behind Fashion Label EP (Enkor Project).
What he shared with me was not what I expected
Dare to be different – the first notion that comes to mind when I meet the leaders of a start-up that gets my marketing seal of, ‘yep, these guys are doing it right’. I have a tremendous amount of respect for young entrepreneurs, those who decided to take their passion and make it happen. In the face of strong competition that holds pre-existing market share, no business is easy.
We marketers know too well the challenge of acquiring new customers, changing buying habits and penetrating new markets, but I have quietly observed the Enkor Project story unfold since 2010. They’re doing it all remarkably well. There’s a lesson here on focus: rather than try and take over the world over night or even the state, Braeden and the brand he’s developing is focused on one suburb (for now at least). Northbridge, an inner-city suburb of Perth, is not just a geographical segmentation, but as a parable of the values and themes the area represents to this culture.
Braeden explains that, to him, Northbridge represents the middle-class, the young bourgeois, and his launch label represents premium street fashion to be worn proudly by these individuals. Values and themes that have proven to have impact and reach far beyond Perth’s small nightlife district. With a knowing smile he hands me a hard-cover, custom-made leather photo journal. I can tell, the pages are a matte finish 250gsm it smacks of quality and care. He’s had them mass-produced. It is his version of what City Beach or Just Jeans, even Myer, would use throw-away magazine materials for. It is something I keep proudly on my book shelf now.
Knowing that he doesn’t have the media budget to make a big splash, I asked him how he’s been acquiring new customers expecting some interesting insights on guerrilla or social media, like all companies who push good product, word of mouth is the best advertising, he replies. “But what we’ve noticed and love is paid Facebook advertisements.”
While I quietly thought to myself that Facebook advertisements aren’t the insight that’s going to blow the minds of Marketing readers, what he went on to describe next was pure brilliance.
Braeden explains: “A lot of people think they need to promote, more and more, harder and harder which usually means spending more for less return on investment, but us, human beings we work on rhythm, think of all the hit music there’s a beat to it that resonates in us.” (‘Typical artist,’ I think to myself – what are these esoteric intangibles?)
Seeing that I wasn’t getting it he asked me to look at the analytics on impressions charted against sales – the graphs look almost identical.
“What does it look like, Ken?” he asks, seeing that I still didn’t get it. “Holy shit!” I blurted. “They look like textbook Bayesian curves!”
“Yes! We use a Bayesian curve principle for our campaigns!” I began thinking of a keynote by Tony Schwartz (Energy Project), where he likewise described our behaviours as rhythmic in the context of energy and focus, and I finally understood what Braeden meant by finding a rhythm with his target demographic.
His promotional strategy is about timing. First, when his target demographic is using the media for maximum leverage,and, second, the rhythm in his promotion before dropping a new product. It wasn’t just about banging the drum louder and louder. “I’m not running around the neighbourhood putting stickers up like some of our competitors. I’m not trying to take over the world, the country or even the state, I’m sharing good content to get the word out about a good product to the right people – it’s logical really, you just do it.”
I read in a paper submitted to the Australian Marketing Institute on marketing’s place in the boardroom, that marketers and entrepreneurs are cut from the same cloth. We often look to entrepreneurs or business owners for marketing inspiration and nod with respect at their innovative works. We know all the big success stories, but it’s something else to see them as they start, this is when the way you approach the little things, start to evolve into the bigger wins.
Here are three takeaways from hanging-out with my mate Braeden, the young man behind start-up fashion label EP:
- Pay attention to the fine details, the planning and the care that goes into the small things may seem like a waste of time to lofty marketing managers (not that you’re one, but I used to be one until I learned the results you can create on the flipside),
- focus and represent your niche market, creating a brand experience that is congruent with your customer avatar/archetype, and
- start with research and experimentation as an immediate goal (not just revenue) to improve timely communication. As simple as right place, right time.