Bootstrap marketing helped an unknown entrepreneur pull off one of the biggest political upsets in history. Click PLAY to hear George & Mary-Lynn share the story and lessons for any business and brand on the BIGG Success Show Podcast.
Bootstrap marketing™ is generating outsized results with limited resources. We recently saw it in action in, of all places, an election.
But this is not a story about politics. It shows David can still beat Goliath.
Before we get started, one quick note: We’re not taking sides. We’re not endorsing anybody. We’re not commenting on the results. We’re simply offering up some lessons that we entrepreneurs can take away from it.
Bootstrap Marketing Leads to Victory
As you may know, political novice Dave Brat defeated well-known House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Not by a little bit. By a lot.
The Washington Post called it one of the biggest political upsets of all time. How much of an upset? No sitting Majority Leader has ever lost in a primary.
The unknown entrepreneur used bootstrap marketing to defeat his much more established, well-known competitor. Let’s dissect this story to find out how.
Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 1: Money isn’t everything
Brat spent $122,793 during the race while Cantor laid out $5,026,626, according to Open Secrets. In fact, the New York Times reports that Cantor’s campaign spent $168,637 on steak dinners alone – more than Brat spent in total!
Stated differently, Cantor spent nearly $41 for every $1 Brat spent. Yet Brat won.
Money isn’t everything. Think bootstrap marketing to find ways to outmaneuver bigger spending competitors.
Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 2: It pays to play to the media
Brat got interviewed by top conservative radio hosts. It was the kind of media exposure he couldn’t afford. Yet it’s also the kind of media money can’t buy. So it means more than advertising.
The media business is more fragmented today than ever. They’re hungry for great storylines. They have an audience they need to keep tuned in.
What do people want or need to know about your product or service?
Let’s take a tough example – does a plumber have anything to say of interest to the media and their audience? Sure, a plumber could talk about home safety, the latest technology, etc.
Think bootstrap marketing to craft a media-worthy topic. Then pitch it to media outlets in your area to start.
Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 3: Look for neglected customers
On the night of the election, Cantor wasn’t in his district. He was in Washington D.C. People felt he was more interested in national politics than the local scene.
As a bootstrap marketing practitioner, keep your ear to the ground. People talk about their experiences – especially their bad ones.
Sometimes the best marketing isn’t what you do. It’s what your competitor doesn’t do.
Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 4: Craft a message which drives people to act
Inside the D.C. Beltway, Cantor was a shoe-in. They weren’t giving the race much attention. No one, it seemed, expected the results to be close.
And they weren’t. But not in the way the political insiders thoughts. Brat received 56% of the vote while Cantor only got 44% – a thumping which rarely seen by incumbents. Source: NPR
He highlighted three key issues when he announced his candidacy: (1) fix the economy, (2) restore the checks-and-balances stated in the Constitution, and (3) end crony capitalism in Washington. Source: Huffington Post
Simple. Concise. Invigorating – at least to his target market. Voter turnout was up in the district 28% over 2012 – a Presidential election year. Unheard of! Source: Washington Post
How can you craft a message which turns prospects into customers? Do something most people in business don’t: talk with your customers! You can’t afford not to do this when you’re in bootstrap marketing mode.
Find out what they were thinking as they moved along the buyer’s journey. Get inside their heads so you know what sparked them to vote with their dollars.
Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 5: Make your brand a conduit for expression
Your brand is an expression of you. But it becomes so much more when it becomes an outlet for others to make a statement.
People vote for and against simultaneously. For supporters, a vote for Brat was a vote for a new beginning. It was also a vote against the Washington establishment.
The same is true in business. A vote for Pepsi is a vote against Coke. A vote for Apple is a vote against Android.
Bootstrap marketing necessitates creating connections. Your customers – current and future – want to connect with a concept, a feeling, a cause, and/or a community.
Your brand is a conduit – connect them so they can express themselves and you’ll be a BIGG success!
Why are you connected with your favorite brand?
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