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Guaranteed success

By [email protected] - 23rd June 2017 - 12:11

Being president of the United States and marketing geospatial companies have at least one thing in common – doing a good job in both is much harder than those new to these roles ever expected it would be.

I can’t speak to the former – only because I was born outside the US you understand – but I can talk with some authority and experience about the difficulties many companies face in getting people to take notice of their geo-based products and services.

Since one of the most clichéd marketing vehicles used by lazy, uninspired plagiarists to explain a point is to produce a ‘top five list of steps to follow for guaranteed success’, I invite you to read my ‘Top six tips for guaranteed success in making the marketing of your geospatial and or location-based products and or services much better than it is right now’

1. Brevity

Less isn’t just more these days – it is more than ever! If you can’t explain what it is you do in a single sentence and, even better, design an image that carries the same message, you will find people just don’t have the attention… oh, hang on a second, sorry just got a Facebook alert. Well look at that, a squirrel has completed the Shanghai Marathon. And there’s a video to watch! What was I saying?

2. Do marketing

This would have been number one in the list of six, but then my brevity joke wouldn’t have worked. Not marketing your product is just the same as taking your product to a prospective customer presentation and hiding it behind your back throughout the entire meeting. Except of course you wouldn’t have been invited to a prospective customer presentation because they wouldn’t have known you have a product to present. Or what it is you do. Or that you exist. You have to make some noise.

3. Don’t do marketing

You have to make the right noise. It is very likely that what you think is marketing really isn’t – just like what I think you can use a theodolite for really isn’t what you can use a theodolite for. And I’ve tried.

Marketing is a peculiarity in the business world in as much as everyone thinks that they can do it. Really well. I don’t think I can code a geo-based product that will instantly make the young abandon their FaceChat accounts, because I haven’t put the hours in to learn how. Yet many people think that they can distil the essence of the customer benefits of a company’s product into a simple-to-understand morsel of creativity if only they have a whiteboard, a cup of coffee and a spare five minutes.

4. Do what you do well

Marketing a scientific product (geospatial is a science) isn’t easy. Competitive and time pressures are extreme, the idea that ‘features sell’ is a comfort blanket for many people, and creativity and humour are often frowned upon in case they make products look less professional.

So, abandon the whiteboard marker – you’ve only written a list of things your product does and done an abstract circle doodle in the corner anyway. Stick to what you’re really good at and get someone else to do some really good marketing for you. But I am running out of space in the column and need to get back to my list of Top Six Tips.

5. Always leave them wanting more

Alistair Maclenan is founder of the geospatial B2B marketing agency Quarry One Eleven (

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