I grew up with a brother who does some pretty extreme things in life and loves to film it. Being the younger brother, I was the one with the camera documenting these adventures. GoPro allows us to push the limits and creativity of the footage. One time in Lake Powell I even rode behind the boat on a tube, just a couple feet short of where he was wakeboarding. We were able to get some cool shots without worrying about water damage or losing the camera.
Recently I found an article in Inc. Magazine titled, “The GoPro Army” by Tom Foster. The article talks about “…how a scrappy little camera company turned its customers into a stoked sales force and became a $250 million industry.” It focuses on GoPro’s CEO and founder, Nick Woodman’s story. Here are 4 reasons why I think GoPro is successful:
- GoPro solved a problem: It doesn’t matter what business you are in, your product/service should solve a problem. The bigger the problem and the more simple the solution, the better the product/service. The better the product/service the more successful you will be. Nick Woodman saw surfers had to document each other. The surfers used disposable cameras that would easily get lost in the water or hit you on the head. He started GoPro trying to find a wrist strap to hold a disposable camera to his arm. It wasn’t until later they developed their own still camera to sell with the strap.
- Woodman let his passion “drive” his business: If you don’t have passion for what you are doing, why are you doing it? There comes a time in every business when it is easy to throw in the towel but harder when you are passionate about what you are doing. Woodman has the passion to live on the edge. It wasn’t until Woodman went to racing school, to become a racecar driver, that he figured out he needed to make mounts that could go anywhere (bikes, surfboards, cars, etc.). Many of GoPro’s tested and proven products are still tested and improved upon on private racetracks by Woodman himself.
- GoPro built an army: Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing and its typically free. You have probably seen a GoPro in a store or on the TV, but odds are you first saw it online. GoPro’s main marketing channel is online through social media. Thousands of people upload their GoPro videos to websites like YouTube or Vimeo everyday. They then share their links on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Through online media they created this “army” of people who love their product and would recommend it and promote it to anyone.
- Their product speaks for itself: When you buy a GoPro there isn’t a kiosk with a salesperson harassing passing customers. The product sells itself. People buy a GoPro because they see all the awesome videos online from friends, family members, or even strangers. My brother even had to get one after seeing a GoPro HD Hero Ski Commercial. GoPro figured out that people who see their videos are five times more likely to buy one. If you go into any store that carries GoPro you will most likely find one or a couple people standing by the video display watching amazing footage of an extreme sport.
Since GoPro brought its camera first to market in 2004, they have blown up. I truly believe the success of any product/service starts by finding the simple solution to a common problem. However, just because you solved a problem doesn’t mean it’s going to take off and instantly be successful. It wasn’t until around 2010 that GoPro really started to take off. GoPro hasn’t plateaued either. They recently just brought out their GoPro Hero 3 that is better than ever. Don’t believe me? Check it out, 15.5 million others already have.
Do you use a GoPro? If so, what is your favorite thing about it?
Mike Alder is a University of Utah business marketing student and marketing specialist at Lendio. Passionate about entrepreneurship, small businesses, and inbound marketing. Mike shows his passion by sharing stories of successful entrepreneurs and companies with small business owners on the Lendio blog. He makes these big success stories easy-to-apply in simple and easy to read language for the everyday small business owner and entrepreneur.