Quit marketing your “stuff,” and start marketing your values

After three years being open, Office Nomads is bustling with over 75 members and is contemplating the possibility of opening another space. One of the ways we got to where we are is by focusing our outreach on our values, not our stuff. So we wanted to reach out and share a little bit more about our opinion that the best way to market your coworking space is not by telling folks about all our great shared resources, but to tell folks about your great values.

Let us explain a bit further: No one’s business has been improved by our shared printer. While shared resources (internet, printer, desks, coffee, etc.) are great, they don’t make anyone’s business or work better. While it may be a contributing factor to why people step through your doors, it is certainly not the reason that they stay. Coworking space members enjoy these things, but they STAY in your space and enjoy their experience coworking because they get relief from the isolation they felt working solo and they’re able to be productive again.

If you’re trying to get people into your space by telling them about all of your “stuff,” you’re likely wasting your time (and attracting the wrong folks). If there is one thing that we’ve learned over the last three years, it is that we are not in the “stuff” business. We are in the coworking business. If we try to sell ourselves otherwise to potential new members, we wind up disappointing people. Our true selling point is our culture and our values: we believe that choosing to work along side one another makes our work AND our lives better overall. We believe this, and if we can get that message across, we wind up attracting folks who stick around and are happy.

Members are not impressed with the stuff. Alexandra, our rockstar Community Cultivator, reports that she rarely has people commenting on how great it is that we have an internet connection or a fax machine. Instead, they comment on how cool they think it is that we have rotating artwork in our space, or that we have yoga on Wednesdays. The culture of our space is what impresses people and encourages them to become a member – that’s because they see value there. They see their work life being enhanced. If you felt your work/life balance could be improved by a fax machine, well, you’d just buy one and get on with your life.

What coworking spaces have to offer is SO much more exciting than the stuff. We hope this is helpful to those of you currently hemming and hawing about how to get some new members in the door. And further we implore you: don’t waste your time telling them that you have a badass internet connection. Spend your time telling them that they don’t have to be alone anymore. 🙂



One thought on “Quit marketing your “stuff,” and start marketing your values”

  1. You make a great point! We market who we are, not the stuff we sell and that is the only thing that makes any of us different. We can race to the bottom to be the cheapest, but ultimately, your values and personality are what people want to interact with. Thanks for a great post!

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