Why geeks rule the world but can't sell!

Posted on:29. 08. 2015

By Cliff Findlay

Brilliant minds create disruptive breakthroughs but they must ensure their tech creations push customers’ buttons too.

Across the globe, disruptors, entrepreneurs and creators are putting their brilliant minds to work, creating some truly mind-blowing stuff.

Some of the ideas and creations they come up with are so out of this world that you sit there open mouthed and wonder how on earth they came up with it. You’re sure they will become millionaires by this time next year and kick yourself for not having come up with the concept yourself. We are talking about a special breed here. These are people with minds so advanced in their subject of choice they create breakthrough technology.

We love geeks. As a marketing company, we are fascinated by what they have achieved. We love learning about new stuff and soak it all up like sponges. As you probably know, anyone who has done something rather brilliant loves to tell people about it. When we speak to them they explain everything in great detail, showing us just how awesome what they have created is.

But the problem is, clients simply aren’t interested in all this cleverness and brilliance. Clients don’t give a monkeys about the product, what it can do, how it works, how long it took them to come up with the idea or how the moment of inspiration occurred. They don’t need to know what code it is written in, what light rays are transmitted or that the flux capacitor has been reversed.

All they want to know is what benefit it brings them. In the simplest of terms, what can it do for me? Sure they think the geek is clever, perhaps they like listening to them and possibly find it all rather interesting. However, that’s where it typically stays… interesting.

Sales isn’t typically the world of the creator, it’s the world where the buyer wants to know what’s in it for them – and quickly. This is where businesses based around tech often make huge mistakes. Most frequently the inventor is the owner of the business, so it makes sense if he or she writes the text, says how to communicate the benefits and does the demonstrations, after all, they created the damn thing, so who better? Well, anyone really.

This can quickly become a huge Achilles heel for the growth of the product and the company, until it brings in a translator, someone who can listen to, understand and rewrite the key functions of the product into key benefits for the user.

Even the Big Boys have managed to get this wrong. Take Microsoft Kin mobile phone. Truly ahead of its time, it allowed social media aggregation, instant messaging, cloud storage, 5 mega pixel camera, streamed music and offered 4 gig of storage and, all of this, back in 2010. But either the market wasn’t ready or the core benefits weren’t explained properly or perhaps it simply didn’t appeal. A mere $2bn dollars later, the concept was shut down.

The Amstrad E-m@iler was Mr Sugar’s personal dream machine (he who said the iPhone wouldn’t survive) it allowed you to email from your office hand set. After total sales of 92,000, losses in the tens of millions and a CEO resignation, Mr Sugar finally gave up on the idea after four years droning on about it.

And finally, the bird trap and cat feeder. The idea was to trap a bird by luring it in with bird feed and then allow a cat to eat it through wire mesh. No, I haven’t made it up, look it up on the internet. Possibly more the idea of a warped mind than a genius, but you get the drift. Lots of money, time, sweat and great ideas, but they simply don’t take off due to poor marketing or the tech not serving a function the market wants.

So what do you do when you have a genius and a brilliant idea? Our suggestion would be to get someone in who can look at it with fresh eyes, who can take a look and see if the market wants it, can understand the benefits it brings and then explain them clearly and succinctly to the market. If you don’t…. well, get ready for many hours of hard work and very little income.

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