On Shark Tank, I keep seeing entrepreneurs who think their main selling point is their passion and hard work.
Passion and hard work mean absolutely nothing. I've known lunatics who were passionate and working hard.
I think this crazy attitude comes from New Age gurus.
"Wish hard enough and it will magically materialize."
"What you picture in your mind must appear in the world."
"Thoughts are things."
"Believe it will happen, and it will happen."
"Have zeal and make it real."
"Fake it until you make it."
And other loads of crap.
To succeed, you must be smart, not just fanatical.
You need to know the market.
You have to first know the problems, needs, and desires of your customer. Without that foundation, all the passion and hard work in the world will accomplish nothing.
You don't just invent something, then try to see who you can sell it to. You have to begin with the customer's pain and perplexity, their anguish and anger, their frustration and futility.
You have to see a big problem that is not being solved very well by competitors. You then design a solution and those who need it are already craving it.
Marketing is simply connecting your solution with the people who need it.
Your marketing must come not from a marketing team in a conference room, but from the lips of customers, how they talk, what they say about their problem, what they dream about and desire.
Your website, Facebook business page, brochures, radio commercials, TV advertising, business cards, everything should speak to that need and in the language your customers are using.
Your marketing should start and end with "You...." and not "We...."
Your company should be positioned as the expert, the problem solver, the thought leader in your field.
Whether your business is ham and sausage ... or photography and video productions.
You start with the customers and their needs, questions, problems, wishes, hopes, and dreams. NOT with your corporation or how great your product is.
Nobody wants to buy your products and they never will.
What they want is a way to fix a deficiency, enhance a lifestyle, or solve a problem. That's what they will buy. Not "product" but SOLUTION.