Marketing without money, standing out with a zero budget
They say marketing begins with the preparation of a marketing strategy. This is sort of true but not even the best of strategies works if the implementation hobbles. And you have to remember that the strategy can very well be just two or three focus areas or key messages on a Post-it note. The main thing is that you systematically work to achieve them.
Marketing is often perceived as a bottomless well that in reality can only be afforded by major consumer brands. This is not, however, necessarily the case. Our software development expert company Vincit has gained visibility and generated positive images in the desired target groups in its own style without using in practice a single euro for marketing. We wanted to be and were included in the co-determination calendar of Helsingin Sanomat in autumn 2012 by organising unforeseen, positive co-determination negotiations. Last year, we provoked a lot of discussion by stating that, in our opinion, a woman’s place is between the mouse and keyboard and by promising hefty financial compensation for a person leaving during his/her trial period. Soon after the establishment of our company, we launched a unique money-back satisfaction guarantee in this field where 67% of projects fail. Every single one of these acts has generated more visibility than we even dared to hope for.
The marketing budget of Vincit has been about one-thousandth of our turnover, i.e. cumulatively a few tens of thousands of euros during the existence of our company. Of that amount, the share of Google search word marketing is significant. Minimising the use of money in marketing is not per se something of value, but a huge pile of cash is not necessarily needed either. In order for a company to be able to stand out with a Lilliputian marketing budget, it has to be
- creative and imaginative – it has to come up with something others have not,
- aware of the channels where it can reach the potential customers/employees/financers, and
- prepared to stir emotion – it is not successful unless someone’s feelings are hurt.
As the most recent example of Vincit’s projects, is the publication of the Code from Finland symbol (www.koodiasuomesta.fi). It is a certificate, similar to the Key Flag, for software companies all of whose employees pay their taxes in Finland. With this, we attempt to provoke discussion about Finnish competitiveness as a counterforce to outsourcing in cheap countries. Software development is increasingly outsourced to cheap countries, such as India and China, due to the inexpensive hourly rates they offer. The final costs of a project cannot, however, be measured in the hourly rate alone: software development should focus on work productivity above all else.
In order for the development work to be more affordable as a whole in the cheap countries and in order to avoid extra errors, very careful advance design and specification of the entity is needed. This is very rarely possible. Therefore, in software development the so-called agile methods have mainly replaced the meticulous advance planning familiar from other production fields. Efficient utilisation of the agile methods requires tight co-operation between the developers and customer.
It is very important to highlight sales and marketing as one of the main themes of Tampere’s international Subcontracting Fair 2015. Last autumn, we had the pleasure of accepting the Finland’s Most Marketing-oriented Engineer 2014 award together with Chairman of the Board Harri Sjöholm of Oy Robit Rocktools Ltd. We want to encourage the likes of us – the world needs more pro-marketing engineers!
Vincit Oy is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Finland. Core business includes product development services of customised software as well as software development-related consulting and coaching.