A Guinness record in Toilet-cleaning..?
This article first appeared in the SmartCEO magazine.
A practical example of Outlier thinking & execution:
A company called VE Clean approached me with a request for brainstorming Outlier marketing tactics. They are a small company with a clear focus – to be the Toilet-Cleaner-King for the city of Madurai. No apps, no gizmos – just a plain and simple Clean India “Swacch Bharat” campaign.
Issue: How can we scale up from a small core team of five (plus 10 cleaners on a retainer)?
Known Fact: Not enough money for marketing/advertising. A stigma associated with their line of work (who wants to talk about cleaning toilets anyways.)
Ideation: One of the clear rules set forth prior to the start of the ideation session was that ALL IDEAS ARE KOSHER.
We have this great tendency to edit out an idea as soon as it is formed. Why? Let it flow, document and let it mellow. Put on your editor’s hat a day or two later and then whittle down to the best 2-3 ideas.
So, there we were, popping out ideas by the dozen, well almost! Two of them stood out and both were in the realm of “Shock and Awe” to ensure maximum bang for the buck.
The finalized idea was to talk to a gated community and offer a challenge; that of cleaning all the toilets in all the flats/apartments – within 24 hours. VE Clean used the ASK ACTION AGILE framework.
ASK: VE clean was direct. They went straight to the decision makers and pitched. Permission was granted and this information was shared with the local press who were more than happy to cover this challenge (Free coverage folks!).
ACTION: Day Zero arrived and VE Clean landed up with their small army of cleaners. Within 24 hours, 435 houses were cleaned.
So what, you may ask? This is just a free offer. This is common sense!
The outlier part was in gamifying it with a challenge, going to a concentrated set of prospects and showing their work/skill before asking for more.
Plus, this was all done without spending too much on advertising.
The overall expense for this exercise was approximately Rs. 7,350 (USD 120) and the returns:
84 houses signed on for an annual contract.
Collateral Gains: 20 of the residents asked VE clean to pitch cleaning services at their companies and some of them converted into annual contracts. This is clearly more profitable as offices need to be cleaned daily! When was the last time you got your home toilet cleaned?
Additional gain: The local coverage got the attention of the Madurai petrol bunk association with whom VE clean is now working to ensure that toilets at select fuel stations are CLEAN.
One marketing activity providing multiple returns; THAT is outlier marketing
AGILE: Three months on, VE Clean is setting a higher goal, that of cleaning 10,000 toilets in six minutes and aiming for a Guinness World Record.
Constraints are good. Constraints of time, money, resources – all good. As they provide a spark for something we don’t have any constraints for – that of creativity, innovation and doing something new.
Be an Outlier Marketer.
So, do you have specific marketing challenges that you want solutions for? Write to us and let’s work together for an Outlier Marketing solution, custom-made for you!
Pravin is a startup specialist, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur and likes to call himself Pravin “Shameless” Shekar. He can be reached at mic@PravinShekar.com .
Pravin is the author of the book Devil Does Care, available on Amazon and NotionPress. Pick it up for Outlier marketing tactics and examples to grow your business.
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