How should you successfully market your startup?
Bdaily is looking at Online Marketing in this, our latest focus week. Here, Marc Duke guides startups over their marketing hurdles.
Having worked in B2B marketing for about 15 years for vendors and large agencies alike about three years ago I decided to focus solely on the start-up world as I thought it was time for a change. Here are a few hints and tips for those thinking about start-up marketing as a career choice:
As a start-up your marketing plan has to be short both in length and in time frame. One thing you don’t have is time. At most you are working to a six month plan, get used to working in six week blocks. Things can change so fast you can’t let a hefty plan trap you. A strategic ‘pivot’ can make your well thought plans totally redundant and you have to respond to that quick and effectively.
Targets, customer and metrics
I had old boss whose mantra was ‘results not excuses’ this is the case with start-up marketing. You have to think in terms of results – hits on the web site, click throughs, downloads, beta trialists, followers, cost of customer acquisition, open rates, views etc. If it can’t be measured don’t do it even if your gut tells you it’s a good idea. If it can, the metrics must be meaningful to anyone investing in the business. All the VCs/angels want to know about is will they make money not is our marketing world beating.
Time to build a team?
When a start-up secures funding there is a tendency for the marketing part of the business to rub its hands with glee and get hiring; digital agencies, branding agencies, PR agencies. My advice: DON’T unless they can deliver quickly and are happy to work on a part pay-by-results model otherwise your time is wasted in endless meetings when it should be spent on delivering results. Besides sometimes it is quicker to do it yourself than delegate to others.
What are your top priorities marketing to the investor or prospects?
You need to be really clear what the top priorities are. If the start- up is looking for investors PR and profile raising will be key, if it is looking for prospects direct marketing, lead gen, telemarketing and events will be crucial. Keep the business objectives top of mind at all times. Pick three or four key goals and go deliver on them, there is only one of you, only so many hours in a day and only so much you can do. One final point to ponder – get used to the idea of doing EVERYTHING from strategy to stapling, nothing should be beneath you. If it is, you are in the wrong place!
Networking and the decision maker
Don’t be seduced by marketing automation, lead nurturing and marketing software that can deliver incredible results. For a start-up in some cases using these solutions can be akin to driving a Ferrari around to do your local grocery shopping. You have to get customers, partners and prospects moving up the funnel fast and the focus has got be to on getting to the decision maker directly.
If you know them great – if not use your network – LinkedIn and Google+ are priceless here to make things happen fast. Don’t think ‘it’s down to the sales guy’, he/she can come in to do the negotiations but in the first instance they will look at you and say ‘where are my leads?’ and you need to have the answer before the question is asked!
With all of the above one thing I can assure of start-up marketing is never dull and a challenge I would recommend highly.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Marc Duke .