That is what one business owner asked me this past week.

He wanted “marketing hype” for his product idea. But thinking about it, it struck me, marketing is only part of the ingredients for hype.

In my view you need at least three parts to generate hype:

  1. A good product that will create the hype,
  2. A great marketing campaign that sparks interest,
  3. Money to invest in the marketing to ensure it reaches enough people.

So, it is not just marketing’s job to generate hype.

In fact, the more I work with business owners, the more I realise that there is actually a further critical element to hype: their own role in marketing the business. You simply can’t hide. As the owner, your job is to become the leading voice of your business, to preach the idea from the rooftops, to explain it to as many people as possible and to grow your network aggressively. If you want to create the hype, start with yourself!

It is a common mistake to think you can just pass your idea onto the marketing department for them to create the hype. The thinking goes “I’ve created it, now they must go sell it”. Of course, there are many desperate marketers who will take on this challenge for a quick buck, but failure is inevitable. Typically it is at this point that the business owner lashes out at how stupid marketing people are, just like the one I spoke to last week did.

No, “hype” is not something you can give to the marketing department to create. It requires much more. It is a team effort and it needs investment. You can’t get something for nothing. You can’t get customers’ attention for nothing. If you want their attention, you must pay for it, in some form.

The idea of building excitement around a small business often falls flat because the business owner is reluctant to be part of the marketing efforts, and he refuses to spend money on a well crafted marketing campaign.

Of course, hype is a big concept, and for a small business to create this can be a daunting challenge. So maybe the idea is not to create hype, but rather to create interest. Start small, develop a pilot, show it to a few people, get feedback, make improvements, show it to more people. Continue along this road until the idea snowballs into its own hype.

As a business you should not worry too much about hype. Focus your marketing on creating awareness and raising interest. The hype will create itself!