January 5th, 2012 | 1 Comment
We see them and marginalize them: Those street vendors offering phone cards, knock-offs and overtly fake fashion accessories. But, as Robert Neuwirth points out in an interview in this month’s issue of Wired magazine, these unregulated economies have a collective GDP of $10 trillion a year.
It got me to thinking about how most high-tech companies do marketing and PR: It’s almost always about people coming to them, not the other way around. And, it often involves the grand gesture. The big advertising and PR campaign.
What if, like street vendors, we went to the places people hang out. No, not the big trade shows, but to home-town markets around the globe, inviting people to see our wares and spend some time with us.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: big bucks. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be one man or woman and a laptop (or whatever other equipment your technology requires) on a tour of underserved, but significant markets.
This isn’t about the New Yorks, San Franciscos, LAs, Londons, Parises, Hong Kongs and Berlins of the world — those cities are already served by major conferences and waves of sales troops. It’s about having feet on the street in cities that don’t get a lot of high-tech suitors.
In the U.S., that could include places like Boise, Idaho; Wichita, Kansas; Durham, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; and others a bit off the usual high-tech conference circuit.
Recruit locals from your customer base, find out the cool places where customers and potential customers hang out, book the hottest local band or DJ and have a workshop followed by a party. Give out swag. Buy beer. Make friends. Be personable. Generate fun. Tweet and facebook about it.
People will love the fact that you came to them and delivered an experience that reflects their needs and culture. And, it sets up a foundation for that most important business-builder: a relationship.
While not everyone appreciates a Gucci knock-off, most people will approve of a company that brings a good product and a good time to their fair city.