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The Business Side of Technomading: Anti-Marketing Marketing

We feel so green with regard to all of this business stuff it’s easy to forget we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. There’s so much information out there about running a business that it’s pretty overwhelming for someone who’s starting from scratch and it’s difficult to know where to begin. I haven’t actually read any conventional books on business (although I am currently reading “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” and am thoroughly enjoying it) but the two (yes, two!) that I have read have each introduced me to a concept that has completely obliterated many of my assumptions and given me some firm foundations to grasp onto. Another guiding principle I use doesn’t come from a business book at all but rather a sociology/social psychology one – an area a bit closer to home, for me.

I’ll talk a little bit about each over three blog posts.

Anti-Marketing Marketing

This one is by far my favourite as it provided me with an alternative to an area of business I had nothing but contempt for and it has had the biggest impact on the way we run our business. I first came across this concept in Chris Guillebeau’s ebook “Art + Money”. To quote from his ebook:

The “anti-marketing” approach is all about relationships, your story, and giving value… When you’re selling art, or any product that you passionately care about, you want the buyers to be people who truly want it. You want to connect with the people who are into your work, and let them realize on their own how much they want it.

The beauty of this concept is that it is not only a painless way to go about marketing, it is enjoyable, as long as you’re passionate about what it is that you do. Basically it works like this:

  1. Connect with people in your niche on various social media sites
  2. Some of these people like what you do
  3. Some of those people tell people on various social media sites about what you do
  4. Some people buy your stuff

It’s basically word of mouth on steroids.

A slightly more cynical take on this concept is to connect with “influencers” in your niche, a concept I read about in “Cloud Jacking: 7 Steps to Dominate Your Niche”. This can be done as authentically or disingenuously as you please. For example, we took a fairly strong dislike to the number one blogger in our target niche. We didn’t un-follow him straight away but after a time it became pretty clear that even if he did like The Cartographer – which we didn’t think he would – we didn’t actually want it associated with him or his website. We un-followed him and could put our efforts into connecting with people who we respected and were genuinely interested in getting to know.

The Cartographer hasn’t launched yet so I can’t tell you if any of this has actually worked for us but there are plenty of case studies out there for whom it has: Tim Ferriss, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Natasha Newton, for example.

For me, marketing always had negative connotations so I feel like the anti-marketing approach to marketing makes the entire prospect of running a business at the very least palatable and at the very best enjoyable and something I would do for free.

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4 Comments

  1. Thompson
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    For not enjoying marketing, your sure do have a beautiful video for The Cartographer app on your homepage! Any tips on how to do that for my own startup? Did you do it yourself with Final Cut?

    The two of you have a really interesting story. I enjoyed reading your posts.

    • Posted January 14, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Thompson =)

      It’s done in After Effects – all I can suggest is googling for tutorials, there’re thousands out there, many quite good!

      Cheers, Michael

  2. Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading these three posts on the business side of your adventure. I’d like to see more. How have things changed since Cartographer has been released?

    • Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Andy! Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve posted an update!

      There’s not much to tell thus far – we had mixed success with the above approach, some disastrously bad, some reasonably good. I think the biggest success that the app has had has been entirely unrelated to the marketing that we did: It was Apple’s pickup of the app, which is presumably because it’s something new and different, and they appreciated the aesthetic! Apple featured us, in one form or another, for nine consecutive weeks which is rather amazing.

      Since then, things have dropped off, but that’s mostly due to our PR neglect. That may all change soon, as we’ve started to take it more seriously.

      Thanks for the prod – we’ll post a proper update once we have something to report from our new approach!