How many times have you heard from your family and friends, “Your business idea is too risky” or “It is too silly to make money”? Well, this is a time to buckle up because we are about to tell you something no one has said to you before. Your entrepreneurship idea may be crazy, but that does not mean it doesn’t have the potential to make any money. In fact, today, people will buy almost anything if you can package it correctly and market it to them. One of the most significant proofs – Crocs. Crocs is a multi-million-dollar brand that started as a spa-inspired shoe collection between three friends. They began by spotting the right foam-based material and then acquiring the company that manufactured it. As of 2017, the company is worth over $530 million.

Is it possible to make millions on a crazy dream?

It sends a vital message to all aspiring business owners out there – if a shoe fits, people will buy it and wear it, no matter how ugly it is. Very similar crazy and controversial ideas from the typical plain Janes and the average Joes have gone on to rake in millions in the last few years. The leading instances include the launch of the Ashley Madison dating site, Pet Rocks, Babywear Mops and Snuggies. No one in their sanest best could claim these ideas to be “normal.” Sometimes, ideas for multi-million dollar businesses broach unethical as well, but it is those ideas that catch on quickly. One of the few reasons these products and brands enjoyed the spotlight and made fortunes is smart marketing.

Why do modern businesses embrace controversy?

That brings us to something more serious – controversial businesses and their promotions. Several instances have shown us that controversial marketing can contribute to the tremendous success of products that are more than banal. A study by Moz indicates that controversial topics garner more online views, attract more traffic and contribute to higher returns on investments than regular marketing strategies. Playing safe is no longer enough to get your brand what it deserves. You need to take risks, and you need to reach a new market that loves the thrill. However, it is only the right kind of controversy that can make a brand. Something as distasteful as the Twin Tower Sale by Miracle Mattresses in 2016 can lead to a debacle.

Controversial product vs. Controversial message

If you notice, we have mentioned two kinds of controversies here – a controversial product and a controversial marketing process. When you are dealing with a product or service that attract flak from the orthodox section of the buyer community, should you couple it with contentious marketing? Is it possible to market a notorious product as something mundane? How can you bypass the criticism-loving section of the consumers to reach the potentially accepting customers only?

According to a popular Harvard Review publication, companies are far more than pure money-making machines. They drive social campaigns and provide livelihood to the hundreds or even thousands, who work in the industries. Some companies run on conventional business models, expand intermittently, increase their workforce, commit to social causes and run charities. However, all great companies and their owners think differently. Then there are others, like 5LINX, which provide innovative and new-age healthcare products to the patrons in the most convenient way. Jason Guck is a self-made millionaire entrepreneur, and like the other business leaders, he knows how to market almost any product to the correct audience at the right time.

Audience targeting and audience polarization

That is when you should start thinking about audience polarization. In a majority of the cases, brands only focus on the customer groups that support the company. They ignore the anti groups that either do not like or openly speak against the brand. Considering the audience polarization will allow you to understand how you can attract more people for boosting revenue this quarter. Merely appealing to the pro groups is not enough. Once you identify the two broad categories of consumers, you need to work out a plan that can impress and convert the anti-consumers. You can take an out-of-the-box approach and exclusively appeal to the anti audience group through filtering mechanisms of marketing and channel selection.

The intricate relationship between marketing and consumers

Here, we must mention Dove and its body-type controversy. In 2015, Dove stated that about 4% of regular women believed that they were beautiful. The ad aimed at tackling low self-esteem issues amidst women with regular and different body types. However, the advertisement analysis quickly revealed that about 71% of the women thought they were beautiful and the advertisement did not care much for facts. Without concrete facts to support their campaign, it was impossible for Dove to uphold their message. There was controversy, it had the right intent, but the lack of genuine results foiled the campaign altogether. That is an excellent example of a good and regular product garnering a lousy name from (poor) controversial marketing.

That teaches a fundamental lesson to all entrepreneurs. If you have a controversial message for the audience, always back it up with reliable data and stats. The same goes for those trying to launch controversial products. Unless you have strong demographics for your new product, you will never know the kind of message they will appreciate. Learning about the people, who are ready to invest in your brand is critical for constructing the perfect marketing strategy. The example of the American Apparel “Made in Bangladesh” fashion ad is most befitting here. Despite being highly controversial, the advertisement garnered millions in worldwide views. It did offend many but eventually got away with the message.

Not all “crazy” ideas are bad ideas

The industry you are trying to enter will make a lot of difference regarding how your target audience will react. A high-street fashion brand can expect its audience to be relaxed and more open-minded, but a chartered accountancy business or electrician service cannot get away with overly comic or sexualized imagery. It will be wrong to pronounce a business idea as “too silly,” “risky” or “frivolous” without considering its genre, immediate competitors, and marketing options. There is hope for every product idea and business idea in today’s business market considering the highly diverse audiences you can reach.

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