Facebook LIKES is NOT business development

This article first appeared in the SmartCEO magazine: http://www.thesmartceo.in/column/facebook-likes-is-not-bizdev.html

Spending oodles of money on marketing and branding activities is not the only way for a cash-crunched startup to win relevant clients. Instead, try Outlier marketing, suggests the author.

Dear startup,

Why did you start up? What are you selling? Do you know the difference between strategic and tactical marketing? Or even closer: between marketing and sales? Why do you want to spend money on branding ‘activities’? Does it fit your budget?

These are questions every startup must ask themselves, as they all address one word: PURPOSE.

While it is true that a startup must focus on lead generation and closing sales loops at the early stage, it must also remember that these leads should be a qualified set of prospects than the more esoteric branding!

How do I do that when I don’t have money? You may ask. Rightfully so.

Horses have blinders so they cannot look at what’s going on behind or beside them. It is necessary in their role as a race horse or wagon horse. It helps them remove distractions.

Startups should do much the same. Put on their blinders and focus. Focus on only one thing, which is business development: Money, in your pocket, from a client

When a startup has the smarts to identify a need and find a solution to address that need, it must also have the brains to find ways to reach its target audience.

One of the approaches is outlier marketing, also known as Outlier marketing or Common sense marketing. It deals with using what you have with you, within you and around you. No, we are not encroaching on the Jugaad world. Yet!

Outlier marketing deals with a simple tenet: what you do must get the ROI that you expected. If not, it is all fluff and a waste of time; and money (whatever little you have anyways.)

Ask yourself; is my business dependent on getting 5,000 Facebook likes or getting five clients who pay for their service? If your answer is, oh! But I need those likes, for people to know who I am!

Ask yourself another question. 

Are these ‘likes’ leading to an input to my sales funnel? If not, why am I pouring money into an activity that is not directly correlating with sales? Why?

The Three A’s of Outlier Marketing:


When was the last time you asked for help? Hey, I need assistance in defining my target group. Hello, can you share your thoughts about my idea/concept? Excuse me, I need an introduction to that person. Could you connect me?

We stop short of asking because we are worried about what they will think. How can I ask someone I don’t know that well? Let’s spend some more time knowing each other before I place my request, you say.

An outlier marketer avoids all that. He is direct and asks for assistance from anyone who can assist.


What have you done towards BizDev? Have you mapped your target segment, built a buyer persona, picked up a few beta clients? Is your prospect list too wide – as in, Oh, I have a great product, the whole world is my client.


Oh, I’ve done a survey. I KNOW.

A survey with whom? What profiling did you do to ensure that it is your target prospect that you are speaking with?

PS: Talking to close friends and neighborhood aunts doesn’t count!

Every action must be measured.

Ideally, every action must get a desired result.

That’s one of the basic tenets of outlier marketing. And that’s a punch-line as well, much needed in today’s times. To get the message crux across!


Have a list of action items. Pick one. Implement. Measure.

Ask this question: Does it meet the set objectives? Does it provide answers?

If not, tweak action, redo.

So, what’s new? You may ask. Nothing much, that’s how you learn to walk, cycle and swim. Use the same in your business and BizDev.


About the author: 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 DevilDoesCare available on Amazon and NotionPress. Pick it up for Outlier marketing tactics and examples to grow your business.

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