Product first, marketing second

I recently had the owners of a collection of BnBs contact me desperate for help. They have their accommodation places listed on various sites like AirBnB, Stayz, local accommodation directories and so on.

But they were receiving very few bookings, and were yet to convert even ONE enquiry from AirBnB to a booking.

I said I would get back once I had checked them out online.

So off I went to Google and explored their presence online.

And what I found wasn't great. In fact, to me, it wasn't marketable.

Dark, grainy, poor quality images.

A very dated interior.

And no, not in a stately, period-style way but simply daggy and unpleasant-looking.

Then I compared their price point to others in the same range and the same region.

What I found were super glam apartments and townhouses that had been extremely thoughtfully styled, or larger retreats offering much more space.

I even found places that were nothing 'special' but simply looked very neat and inviting and therefore far more appealing than theirs.

Tellingly, this couple had a 100% response rate and fast response time online - they simply weren't able to get them over the line with their current offering.

So, I got back to this couple to tell them I didn't want to see them wasting their efforts and money on marketing until they:

1) updated their interior to appeal to their audience


2) lower their price point, which of course is always last case scenario.

Today, I read the following statement, written by thought-leader in Storytelling, Bernadette Jiwa, which I hope articulates the point I've made above:

"As business leaders and entrepreneurs, much of our energy and resources are spent understanding how best to communicate our value to customers. Many of the most successful companies flip this thinking on its head.

If we create things that are worthy of the time, attention and money of the people we hope to serve, we don’t need to spend so much time, attention and money trying to prove their worth."

In short: you can't successfully market a product or service that simply isn't desired by your audience.

So keep this in mind as look towards next year and your business focus. Perhaps you need to change up some foundations things about your business to be able to find more success in your marketing.

Emily OsmondComment