Blog: Marketing for what matters
My thoughts regarding marketing for water focused startups such as Graytec AB and Graytec USA recently drifted to an unlikely source of inspiration, the Fyre Festival of 2017. Please bear with me, as this will all tie together with water conserving technology soon!
For the unaware, the Fyre Festival was a poorly produced music festival held on a small island the Bahamas that was the brainchild of Billy McFarland, a man whom was convicted of wire fraud stemming from this event to the outcome of a sentence of 6 years in federal prison and a court order of financial restitution to attendees and associated companies of $24 million.
Beautiful models were paid (or promised to be paid) large sums of money to fly out to this island months before the event in order to take pictures and post on Instagram about how excited they were about that upcoming festival, etc. It worked, as evidenced by the fact that 95% of tickets sold were within a couple of days so millions of dollars were generated by this event before it occurred. The final product was a disaster. Logistics and housing were bungled from the start. Those whom paid tens of thousands of dollars for luxury accommodations ended up having to sleep in disaster relief styled tents and their "celebrity chef made meals" were nothing more than prepackaged sandwiches. Chaos quickly ensued as attendees were flown out of over the course of the next several days. This poorly orchestrated event was later examined in Netflix's Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
While the subject matter isn't very interesting, I can't help but think about how a con artist was able to use marketing to generate buzz based on a nearly non-existent product. What, if anything, can those of us involved in blue technology learn from this regarding better marketing practices? Yes, the Fyre Festival is very different from what those of us in this industry pursue, but perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this.
First, social media was instrumental for promoting Fyre. My thought is that LinkedIn is more appropriate for blue tech companies to promote solutions due to the fact that this platform is more effective for business-to-business connections, as opposed to Instagram, which is what Fyre leaned upon. Second, are blue tech companies putting enough time and money into marketing in general? Our solutions require large allocations of capital to create our products, so it's understandable that companies such as ours maintain that as a priority. However, the old adage of "you can have the best product in the world, but it won't matter if you can't sell it" comes to mind. Unfortunately, many blue tech startups (such as ours) can't afford to pay $250,000 to models for a photo and a social media hashtag. I believe that we can perhaps leverage the facts that (1) we're startups and therefore lack large marketing budgets and that (2) our goals are altruistic as a way to recruit known faces to promote our products and/or find progressive marketing firms to extend us discounts, as was the case for Graytec USA and Tucson, Arizona-based Proper Villians (see www.propervillainsllc.com). Finally, should blue tech companies focus more on the environmental benefits or financial benefits of our products? Is there a balance for both? This can be a difficult question for startups lacking enough time and money to create robust marketing promotions focusing on both.
One thing that I have figured out quickly is that I do not look as great in a bathing suit as the supermodels that were hired to promote the Fyre Festival, so at least I've figured out that neither Graytec USA nor Graytec AB will require photos of me frolicking on the beach! HA!
The Graytec Companies would love to hear your thoughts regarding marketing for blue tech companies. Thank you, and we hope all are healthy and coping well during the COVID pandemic!
President of Graytec USA
Advisor to the Board for Graytec AB