Why marketing is the best tool for startup growth.
…and how customer conversations are the key to unlocking incredible growth for your business.
In one way or another, I’ve been loosely attached to marketing for around a decade. Long enough to notice that marketing has a bad reputation. There’s good reason too. Corporate marketing has been driven by old-school metrics and techniques (not to mention the agencies), and that has unfortunately created bad karma for the whole industry.
But despite the image problem, marketing could be the solution to finding explosive growth for your business.
Marketing is about finding people to love your product.
Marketing is often thought of as a function. But done right, it can affect every part of your business. Put finding people to love your products at the heart of your business, and you’ll build a business that’s customer focused. That builds products that people want. That talks to them and sells to them the right way.
Old-school marketing focuses on advertising, that’s let’s face it, mostly broadcast: a one-way conversation that’s forced to focus on vanity metrics: hits, visitors, downloads and sales. All these things are great to have, but can they sustain a business in the long term? Difficult to say. They indicate nothing about what your customer values. Whether they truly value your product, or what it would take to change it for the nearest competitor.
New marketing techniques put customer conversation first. By seeking out customers, marketers can not only tweak their approach, but price it correctly. Pitch it appropriately. Focus on the right things to retain their customers. And importantly, provide crucial feedback to product teams to really make things people want.
Overwhelmed by marketing? You’re not alone.
If you’re an early stage startup, it very likely you’re leaving marketing for another day, or feeling overwhelmed. Creating an ad campaign, a blog, commenting on forum posts, social media or sending cold emails could have results, but all that activity is likely to be very inefficient.
Inefficient marketing is costly. Really costly.
It’s not just money (though a badly constructed ad campaign will translate into a very high cost to acquire a customer, and squeeze your margins to breaking point); it’s time too. Yours. Your team’s. The time you could be using to have real conversations and building better products.
If you’re getting traction through this, but it’s stressful and ineffective, ask yourself some questions:
- Are you targeting the right people?
- Are you using the right keywords to target your ads?
- Are you writing the best possible copy to get customers excited?
- Do you know where your biggest supporters hang out?
- And do any of these people even really need what you’re selling?
Often, it feels better to get something done than to plan something out. It’s something practically everyone leading a startup project feels. But when you spend time or money on marketing, and it doesn’t work as well as you hoped, do you know what’s to blame? The product? The marketing? The audience target? It could be all of them, or none. It’s practically impossible to separate out what the problem is if you don’t carefully plan your marketing strategy out.
How to use marketing to find what people love.
If you’re building a product, you probably had to make a series of assumptions. You’ve probably got a series of beliefs around what makes this product great.
That you’re disruptive.
Better than the competition.
And loved by your customers.
It’s easy to fall into a trap where you self reinforce. Everyone does — we have at Think Plan Thrive at times too. But to really figure out what a customer loves (or wants to love) about your product, you have to ask them. It’s means starting with people, not downloads, hits or purchases. It’s likely to be highly personal. You might even hear some things that you don’t want to hear, or believe to be true.
But customer insight can be powerful stuff, no matter what you’re told. But integrate it into everything you do in your business and it can be the key to making things that your customers really love and unlocking explosive growth of your business.
Are you building a business but you’re not sure how to make the most from your marketing?
Drop me a line for some free pointers on where to focus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re Think Plan Thrive, a London based Strategy company. We help that helps organisations to build from strong foundations, seize opportunities and get results, fast.
See more at www.thinkplanthrive.com