I am at Cornell University judging graduate student teams as they present their business plans for my class "Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers". The ideas are real, practical and someone will do them soon, perhaps the students, perhaps others.
One new marketing concept stands out in the presentations. I call it "extended marketing".
It is popping up in giant corporations and in emerging growth companies.
It is powerful.
It is needed by every startup if they want to win in this new era of intense competitive business we have entered.
Extended marketing is what you do in addition to marketing your basic product/service. It is about what else you do, in addition to selling the product/service. What do I mean? Here are some recent examples from that old medium television:
- TV soap operas in the Philippines have viewers SMS text votes on what the lead characters should do tomorrow.
- Reality-TV producers use social networking to create chatter, thus increasing awareness and drawing viewers.
- American Idol engages viewers who vote for performers.
- CNN uses photos of natural disasters such as Haiti's earthquake taken by individuals when reporters cannot get to the scene.
- Glen Beck of Fox News Channel extends his popular TV show with a radio program and bestselling books. He tours and releases CDs. His logo appears on T-shirts, baseball caps and duct tape. He has an online fan club.
- Apple similarly has more than products, its extensions become a lifestyle for a sector of a cultures. When will Apple have its own TV show?
- Google and Facebook topped the list of websites visited during the Oscars, just as they did during the Super Bowl and the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
- Coke created on-line games to stimulate advertising impact during the Summer Olympics.
Startups can use these examples to stimulate thinking and grow their marketing power. The wireless, always-connected generation is growing and responds when provoked. Startups that learn how to do that and still remain focused add significant power to their marketing clout.
BOTTOM LINE: Ordinary marketing is losing its power. Extended marketing is helping clever startups win more often. The extensions build on a winning product/service, increasing the compelling value proposition to the customers. The creative extensions radiate outward, adding value to end users and customers, without losing the central value of the mother product/service. Even old companies are catching on. Startups have pioneered the way and are in the lead. Be sure your new enterprise is able to adopt the best of extended marketing. It will add power to your unfair advantage.