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Marketing... or how I lost my soul to Lagos

Life as a tech entrepreneur

Radbot Last time you said that a fair chunk of you have used crowdfunding to buy product.

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Allegedly, building a better mousetrap does not have the world beating a path to your door all by itself, maybe not even putting the design on Thingiverse.

As our caped hero is finding out, you need to let your potential customers know that the product of their dreams is available. Or maybe convince them that your new product *is* the dream that they hadn't quite got around to having yet. That's marketing.

Or, as my favourite search engine would have it: "The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising."

And as our heroes are also finding out, just setting up a dozen social media accounts is not enough. We've heard of content and strategy and engagement too.

Facebook pants

Oh, yes. During branding we found that we had to use domains and social media handles based on "MyRadbot" rather than just "Radbot" because as Dilbert found many years ago, it sometimes seems as if the good names have already all gone:

Still, we can always pivot to selling shaping underwear for IT couch potatoes.


I still feel a total noob when it comes to marketing, but I'm confident that authenticity is a useful attribute. We don't have ulterior motives (except saving the planet) and are genuinely trying to produce a device that saves money and makes lives simpler.

I am trying to make sure that we don't over-claim the abilities of our tech while trying to still have good copy that will attract attention. Promotion without lies, even if others are not necessarily so scrupulous or just don't have the tools to be accurate scientifically in their claims. Not many retail marketers have PhDs in ethics and physics, which may also be a good thing if we don't want be be reduced to beige boredom.

We're also not trying to sell a piece of use-once tat. We are aiming for a life of at least ten years for these devices, and again that should inform how we pitch this to the public.

It's a gas

I'm pleased to say that we have a very diverse team working on Radbot, from Europe, the US, and Africa for starters, which helps avoid groupthink and other basic errors. I'll talk more about this in a later piece.

But we are targeting a fairly specific northern European audience, and when not all of our team have current experience of European winter, UK energy companies, and fighting daily with radiators and thermostats, we have to work a little harder to get the right messages across accurately and clearly and using up-to-date shared understandings.

Not that my fund of BBC Micro and Hitchhiker’s Guide after-dinner stories is much help there either...

Indeed it's only in the same way that given that not all of us regard physics as a fun thing, we have to be careful about the difference between (say) household energy consumption (including electricity), and space heating consumption (primarily from gas for our audience).

Strictly Radbot factor?

We're not quite sure whether Radbot should become a star of our brochures and marketing and instruction bumff too, but for now he is screen-testing in his comic.

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That brings me to outsourcing ... Tune in next week to see how we're already beyond Brexit. ®

Full disclosure: my startup OpenTRV has received funding from EU and UK government sources.

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