Do You Remember the Film?
I realize that I may be dating myself here, but after watching countless Super Bowl commercials this past weekend, I feel that a discussion of marketing for your small business may be in order—especially for those who don’t have millions of dollars to create thirty second ads to air during the Super Bowl.
In the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays the role of an Iowa farmer who hears voices that tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” From these voices, he understands that he should build a baseball field on his farm. He does this, and soon the ghosts of eight Chicago White Sox players that were banned from the 1919 World Series show up and start playing ball.
Costner’s Theory of Marketing
As a marketing theory, “If you build it, he will come” is an interesting one to consider. Here are the key suppositions of the movie and also of the Field of Dreams Theory of Marketing:
- Speak whatever you want into existence. Change your language so that it sounds like what you’re after has already or soon will happen.
- Laugh at (or don’t be discouraged by) people’s claims that you’re crazy.
- Understand that if you’re just talking about something and not doing anything to make it happen, you might be crazy.
- The more you talk about it being a part of your life, the more you will want to make that an actuality.
The most important thing here is to not just talk about what you want to do. The saying goes “If you build it, he will come.” You must work hard in order for things to play out the way you want.
Applying the Movie to Our Business
So how can we apply this theory to our business in 2014—a quarter century after this movie was in the theaters?
First off, the most obvious message is that if we set goals, talk about them, and continuously work towards meeting them, it seems extremely likely that we will come close or actually meet those goals.
On a more granular level, let’s talk about the marketing and advertising that we create in order to generate leads. You cannot just speak or will yourself to obtain leads. And, you cannot just throw a website up and expect to get loads of traffic every day. Of course, if you do actually produce a marketing piece, the likelihood that someone will contact you is much higher than if you do nothing at all. But, with respect to the Internet, you are going to have to do a lot more than create a website in order for him “to come.”
Online Marketing Considerations
Here are three things to consider in regards to online marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization. Whatever you decide to build online, make sure that it is well-optimized for the search engines. Although this topic merits significantly more discussion than given here, if you are on a WordPress platform, using plug-ins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast will assist you in making that happen. Creating a Google plus page, and claiming Google Authorship can also significantly improve your placement on search results.
- Audience. People say that you need to give your customers what they want. What does your prospective audience want? How well can you deliver? And, more importantly, is what you are offering actually something that they need? If not, it may be time to adjust accordingly.
- Image. It is such a turnoff when you get to a website or look at a marketing piece and it is filled with typographical errors. Ensure that whatever you put out there for the world to see is polished, professional, and easy on the eyes.
- Freebies. America loves free stuff. What items of value could you give to your audience that would encourage them to come back for more? A free podcast or ebook? A free coupon for your store? A discount for everyone who checks in at your food truck location? Leverage the power of viral marketing by giving away items for value.
I’m not thoroughly convinced of the merit of the Field of Dreams Theory of Marketing. After all, it’s unlikely that if I build something a bunch of dead guys will show up. On the other hand, if I am careful and calculated in my business and marketing ventures and I take the time to plan and actually do what I say that I am going to do, I’m confident that the clients will come!