It’s Not What We Do, It’s Why We Do It
I’m not a big fan of quotations. Social media is littered with insightful sayings from friends and connections who feel compelled to sprinkle words of wisdom over my day as if to make me wiser, happier or more productive. Once in a while, however, one of these nuggets hits me the right way at the right time.
The latest is from Simon Sinek. He’s a writer, professional thinker and generator of spoon-fed truisms that blanket the digital netherworld like TS Eliot’s yellow fog that curled once about the house and went to sleep.
Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”
I’ve heard this before, but like all good truisms Sinek’s continues to ring . . . well . . . true.
At OffWhite we’ve learned that our most rewarding work is for clients who are changing the world with what they do and why they are doing it. They’re often new or emerging growth technology companies. We are incurably curious and often confronted with the next big thing in immunology, cell preservation, pharmacology, crime scene investigations and even cow teat comfort (teats are a big deal, believe me).
What our clients do matters to the world. What ties these projects together is the passion associated with their ideas, together with the successful outcomes that arise from disciplined marketing strategies we help to create.
Here are some examples.
One client developed a better way to freeze biological samples. Not just a better way, but an industry-changing way. They advanced the art. They developed a technology that cuts in half the expense of storing viruses and research samples, thus opening the door to a more efficient model for long-term preservation of priceless specimens critical to drug discovery. Along the way, their passion for change created a market distribution model that broke every rule in the book. And it’s working. Not only is their technology unique, so is their go-to-market program. They’re changing the world because what they save their customers is plowed back into research.
Another client found a way to milk cows without irritating them. Sounds simple, but it’s not. We learned that milking cows is a complex interplay between vacuum, ramp, dwell, release, touch points and milk liner shape. The goal was to reduce somatic cell counts, improve raw milk quality, increase dairy farm profits and make cows very happy. Consider this: There are 56,000 dairy herds in the USA alone – that’s about 10 million cows. Some dairy farms have 40,000 cows that must be milked at least twice a day, sometimes three times. Happy cows, better milk quality. Do the math. This company is changing the world.
Another client on the East Coast develops and manufactures antibodies and assays used for research, virus screening and countless other protocols in clinical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications. While the Ebola epidemic is increasing public awareness (and fear) of widespread disease progression, this company’s highly purified products contribute to rapid detection of pathogenic organisms including those that cause infectious diseases as well as cancer and other medical problems. Better research, faster screening, new drugs targeted with more precision. They’re changing the world.
And, one more straight from television’s Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). Our client in Florida has developed a better way to detect fingerprints on a variety of substrates, giving crime fighters a better tool for evidence processing and documentation. As a result, investigators not only can see the ridges that comprise the unique human fingerprint, they can see the pores on the ridges that enhance this unique signature. CSI folks call this “third level” print identification. At OffWhite, we call it analog/digital. Why? Because the final image is a combination of lines (analog) and dots (digital) that push accuracy beyond conventional recognition.This client is helping minimize uncertainty and putting a sophisticated technology in the hands of even the most rural criminal investigating teams. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Our client is changing the world.
We can’t make this stuff up. This is what brings us to work every day. It’s never business as usual where we work; there’s too much at stake, so much to learn, so much to teach.
- Did we have to learn about free-piston Stirling engines and coefficients of performance? Yes, we did.
- Did we have to learn about cow teats and the economics of milk flow? More than you would ever imagine.
- Did we have to learn about primary and secondary antibodies and how they’re manufactured? You betcha, including conjugations and signaling pathways. . .the whole works.
- Did we spend time in a Florida crime lab watching a team of CSI technicians processing evidence from a murder case, fuming prints and viewing images under a variety of wavelengths? Absolutely. After all, we had to explain it when we got back to the office.
As marketers, it’s not what kind of marketing challenges we seek, but why we seek them that makes a difference in our lives. The truth is, we are crazy curious. When we understand something, we can help everyone understand it.
Above all, we're educators. We create information that sells. And that’s where the hard work of marketing begins.