Six marketing tips for social innovators working to get their ideas off the ground


Marketing tips for social innovators working to get their ideas off the ground

Does this sound familiar?

💡 You’ve got an innovative idea for social change. 🌱

You’ve put in the time and effort to research and develop it.

You genuinely believe in its potential to disrupt the status quo.

You know it’s bound to make a meaningful impact.

However, the idea isn’t catching on fast enough.

People say it’s “too early,” “too idealistic,” or simply “not feasible.”

While it’s absolutely normal for disruptive ideas to take some time before they gain traction, there are ways to ease and accelerate the process.

Check out six practical tips to help you get your idea off the ground and drive more impact, faster.

1. Ask your audience

What could be more insightful than seeking feedback from the very people for whom you created the product or service? Consider the following questions:

• What prevents them from trying it out and why?
• What are their key concerns?
• What would make them use it?
• What do they like about it?
• What alternative solutions do they use and why?

Look for specific answers and provide a safe space for people to feel comfortable to share their feedback.

2. Clarify your promise

Oftentimes, products and services go unnoticed or overlooked due to the ambiguity and complexity of their promises. By effectively conveying the value and benefits of your innovation and prioritising clear and concise messaging, you will increase its acceptance and widespread adoption.

• Do you talk to the challenges and goals of your audience?
• Do you paint a vivid picture of success and impact?
• Do you use clear, engaging language – no jargon, no vague and unnecessarily fancy words?
• Does your target audience confirm that they understand it?

3. Talk about the problem

Yes, it’s important to be solution- rather than problem-focused. However, in the early stages of awareness, it’s key for your audience to understand the problem your product or service is addressing. To effectively communicate the problem, you can approach it from two perspectives:

• Zoom in – talk about it on a personal level. By zooming in, you can create an emotional connection with your audience, allowing them to empathise and relate to the issue. Sharing personal stories, testimonials, or case studies can help demonstrate how the problem affects people’s lives directly. This approach is particularly effective in engaging your audience on an emotional level and making the problem more tangible and relatable.

• Zoom out – talk about it on a systemic level. By zooming out, you can emphasise the wider consequences and societal impact of the problem. This could include discussing statistics, research findings, or trends that illustrate how the issue affects not only individuals but also communities, industries, or the environment. Zooming out helps your audience understand the larger context and significance of the problem, reinforcing the need for a solution.

4. Build a community of early adopters

Find the curious and open minds who, just like you, are challenging the status quo. This is not solely focused on formally initiating a community or establishing the platform where it will reside (although it may be relevant in your particular situation) but rather emphasises the importance of consistently engaging with the people who grasp the essence of your concept.

It involves understanding their needs, concerns and aspirations, asking for their feedback, listening, co-creating, and duly recognising their contributions.

5. Show proof

You might think: it’s a new idea, how can I show any proof? Consider these questions:

• What are the results of the initial tests?
• What’s your experience and how did it inform your new idea?
• What does your community of early adopters say about the idea?
• What do sector studies say about the problem?
• What are the stats that illustrate the need for your product/service?

6. Be consistent

Once you’ve defined your core message, it’s crucial to maintain that consistency across all your interactions, ensuring that your audience receives a cohesive and memorable experience. Stay consistent in:

Your message: once you’ve clarified your promise, stick to that core message in all your communications.

Showing up: communicate on a regular basis (time to create an editorial calendar and stick to it!); attend relevant events (if possible, show up at regular editions); help whenever you can.

Following up: Noticed interest? Follow up! Got questions? Follow up! Received criticism? Follow up! Got feedback? Follow up!

Bringing a fresh idea for social change to life can be tough. Resistance and slow adoption are common. But by following these practical tips, you can overcome some of the hurdles and make a bigger impact faster. Engage with your audience, clarify your purpose, communicate the problem effectively, build a community of early supporters, show proof of concept, and stay consistent in your messaging and interactions. In doing so and staying committed to driving change, you have the power to create a significant impact in the world.

What other tips would you add? Leave your comments below.

Published on 12 June 2023 by Laura Tufis.