Discover the Hottest Opportunity on the Internet

“Discovery” may be the biggest treasure trove of unique opportunity for businesses today because it can bring consumers who aren’t even on your radar, right into your backyard, becoming viral advocates for your offering.

First, what “discovery” is not…

“Discovery” is not search.

Search happens when consumers know or have an idea of what they want and what they’re looking for. The process of “discovery” precedes this, occurring spontaneously when consumers don’t know what they want or that they might be interested in something.  And, the enterprise currently garnering the most attention, funding and traffic right now facilitating discovery is Pinterest.  Ron Conway, Special Adviser to SV Angel, who has invested in companies including Google, Facebook, Zappos and, yes, Pinterest, shared with our UCLA MBA class on Digital Technology that he believes Pinterest to be the most exciting company on the Internet. He proclaims its user growth rate is comparable to what Facebook’s was five years ago.

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard allowing individuals (primarily women) to organize, share and give advice about the things they love. People collect photos and link to products they adore or they can browse pinboards created by other users. They connect through shared interests which can range from fitness to planning a wedding to almost anything under the sun. “Discovery” happens organically, through browsing and then becoming more and more immersed, committed to, and passionate about the topics of other people’s pins.

How can your business use the principles of “discovery” to take advantage of this phenomenon?

  1. Get out of the informational business and into the inspirational business…

    because that’s where the resonance of Pinterest lies.  Information alone doesn’t catalyze passionate evangelists.  Aspiration, because it is emotional, does.

    Action Item:  Stop selling features and start selling benefits.  The way to consumers’ wallets is through their hearts!

  2. Eavesdrop.  It’s not rude.

    In fact, it’s an organizational imperative to drive competitive advantage.  There are conversations going on all the time on sites like Pinterest and others in which consumers are sharing their interests, wants and needs.  You don’t need a crystal ball to spot future trends, just active listening.
    Action Item:  Schedule time in your day to listen to what people are saying online.  Visit sites you may not typically visit.  It’s not a waste of time or frivolous to listen in on social media sites, in fact, it may be the most valuable time you ever spend!

  3. Be a visual story teller.

    Part of the appeal of sites like Pinterest is that they’re visual experiences – primarily photos.  As they say, “a picture is worth 1000 words.” Pinned photos tell stories of inspiration and aspiration hitting like minded people viscerally and driving them to action.

    Action Item:  As it’s estimated that 65% of the population are visual learners, be sure your marketing efforts include visuals that describe your offering using pictures, graphics and/or videos.

  4. Be generous!

    Advice on Pinterest is given freely and liberally on all topics which propels interactivity, community and engagement.

    Action Item:  Find ways to be generous to both your prospects and customers.  It will pay dividends.  Generosity comes in many forms.  A few examples include offering free tip sheets or hotlines or demos, samples, coupons, money back trials, hospitality events (like dinners or brunches), inviting thought leaders to speak on a topic at no charge to audiences, and your imagination should provide endless opportunities.

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