What is the ingredient of a successful business?
Is it the marketing? Is it the start-up funds? Is it the workers or the size of the company?
What if we were to tell you that, regardless of the product or services your company holds, or the business framework, even the size of the company itself, the secret base ingredient of a successful business is the founder himself – the entrepreneur.
Among all other competitors, rivals and other companies, customers will pick the brand and company that feels closest to them, the one that appeals the most to them.
Consumers are kings of the marketplace. They dictate the metaphorical movement and direction of your demand curve and decide who to spend on their money on. Naturally, they want to spend on a brand that they trust and like. Effectively, consumers decide on who wins and who fails in the business landscape.
Successful businesses start with pleasing and understanding your consumers’ needs and preferences. Failing business get the nail in the coffin when they grow too distant from their target audience.
That is the reality of the game. Your fate and your business’ future lie in the hand of countless invisible individuals that controls your company’s profit and sales. Profits and losses on your accounting books are as good as applauses and jeers by your consumers; they are a direct feedback and response.
You have little to no control over it.
But there is a piece of silver lining and good news.
What little control you have, over your customers, and your company’s fate is commanded by a steering wheel known as marketing.
Marketing in New Companies
What sets the brands apart from its competitors is naturally the man behind the company itself – the entrepreneur. Your decisions and choices affect your company’s image and direction. It helps create your company’s identity.
Small start-ups usually employ the use of paid ads to market themselves. They often look tacky and come at a low cost, making it extremely cost efficient. While there is nothing wrong with saving money, a professional job by a marketing agency can have a different effect.
It can help enhance your image.
For example, marketing with your professionally designed logo can help pave the way for future marketing efforts. It creates brand recognition.
A good advertising or marketing agency will be able to provide you with the direction and insight into your market and its distribution channels. Use your agency as an important mentor for advertising and marketing techniques. Different industries call for different strategies and methods. Knowledge of what works and what seldom works will be useful throughout your career and business journey.
When it comes to marketing, your primary concern should be to make sure that your customers and target audience have a feel for your product of service.
- What does your product mean?
- What message does it carry?
- What sets your apart from your competitors? What is your unique selling proposition?
These are questions worth answering and pondering. If you have a board of directors, these are useful topics of discussion. No one knows your company better than yourself. Nobody should.
Spare no effort and resources in attaining the best marketing agency that your start-up needs.
Problem with Start-Up Marketing
Start-ups are small. Naturally, some bigger and well-established companies may not be that interested in helping you out in your current phase. Smaller companies suffer from unhealthy cashflow, and sometimes, rely heavily on the help of angel investors.
This makes it harder to convince bigger companies to spare their time and effort in helping you out with your marketing efforts. Sometimes, smaller agencies that have been around a long time have stayed small, simply because they were no talent operators or outright chisellers. Like any other businesses that serves clients, you want to hire an agency that will look out for your interest first.
There will be plenty of people for you to choose from. This can range from part-time ad people to creative floaters to short term entrants in the advertising field or new companies. You will be faced with plenty of choices that you are at a loss of what to do.
However, one focus remains unchanged, regardless of who you choose – you want to strike up partnerships. You want a long-term partnership that you can somewhat gamble your future upon. Your marketing partner should not see just your present income as his paycheque, but also your future opportunities as shared opportunities.
No company, large or small, in any field or line of work, can get by without some form of marketing. If you wish for your company to survive and grow, you must embark on this venture. If you plan to have a truly entrepreneurial, first-rate growth company, advertising and marketing will propel you towards that goal.
The best way to appreciate the magnitude of marketing is to go ahead with it. In time to come, the benefits of marketing will emerge in your business setup.
A good gauge to spend on marketing is to devote at least five percent of your company’s gross income on a marketing budget. If you can afford to spend more, you should. However, take note to not overleverage your company and overspend. Along with insufficient marketing, overspending is among the few common reasons that companies experience their downfall.
Actionable Tips for Start-Up Marketing
1. Practice full disclosure
It is important to lay down the facts for your consumers, be it good or bad. The last thing you want is for your promotional campaign to feel like a scam or an act of deception.
As an example, it may be a tough sell to push for a product that may be lower than optimal quality, such as in the case of a lower-quality material. However, it is always better to be honest and state the material as artificial leather, rather than proclaim it to be authentic leather, and have one of your thousand customers find out about it themselves. The last thing you would hope for your company, in a marketing promotion, is to have bad reputation making rounds in the internet.
2. Avoid Institutional type Advertising
A new company should forgo institutional-type advertising.
There are two types, mainly, of advertising – institutional and product.
While product advertising capitalises on the marketing features of a service or product, to push the benefits to target audiences, institutional advertising is often used to improve a company’s image instead.
There are many common forms of institutional advertising.
For example, public service announcements are a form of institutional advertising. From time to time, you may see government health agencies promote antismoking commercials to warn consumers of the dangers of its products. The national dental centre may also run health campaigns in conjecture with these marketing promotions.
Many companies use indirect institutional advertising campaigns instead, to alert the public of their non-product activities, such as charitable donations or benevolent contributions. For example, an sports company might create a public statement or social media post to talk about its ongoing efforts against global warming or its community involvement programmes. This can be commonly seen from larger companies and brands such as Coke, Amazon, Uber and Facebook. They are even, in recent years, more frequently used by media brands, such as Mr Beast and Buzzfeed.
MrBeast, otherwise known as Jimmy Donaldson, helped create MrBeast Burger with a partner after his incredible popularity in the early 2000s online the Youtube Platform. Buzzfeed, known for its informative and addictive videos, slowly grew from a Youtube video channel to become a commercialised brand doing advertising for other companies.
A virtual brand like MrBeast can help leverage on its already-established widespread popularity to catapult its burger joint, while huge names like Buzzfeed can tap onto its large online followings.
Unfortunately, new companies like start-ups have none of these marketing leverage.
Hence, it is likely that if companies places less focus on product advertising, they may find limited success or difficulty in getting their products in front of your target audience.
3. Promote Your Products Instead
You, as a small start-up, should spend your efforts on product promotion.
Get your product in front of people before you try to get your brand known. If your product is of sufficient quality and substance, it will naturally carry its weight in the industry. From then on, you can get your brand known much easily.
To promote your product, you need to capture the attention of consumers in creative ways.
- You can use specific offers, referral codes, cashback coupons and lead generators. Entice your customers to take action through these promotional tactics. Create multiple channels to funnel the typical John Doe and Jane Doe to your brand.
- Hire people to take action. Have salespeople calling, writing, emailing to entice consumers to come by. Uncover your customer’s interest and learn what you can offer them.
- Try to teach and instruct. Impart knowledge and dispense facts. Provide educational information on the common problems that your target audience might face. This is commonly referred to as content marketing. Provide generic suggestions and solutions to those problems, and from time to time, if the shoe fits, slide your product in as the main solution to their problem. Not only is this a good method to appear in front of better-quality leads, it also helps you convince your customers of the quality of your products/services.
A common saying goes: “if you help your customers make better decisions, your company will prosper”.
Don’t forget, the king of the marketplace, are your customers.
4. Be Innovative and Creative
Advertising is frequently bad. On occasion, it’s great. However, most commonly, it’s average and mediocre.
For your company to be successful, you need to be proactive and precisive in marketing. The art of understanding evolves through trial and error. Experience helps to guide, suggest and inspire.
Good advertising tells the story of your brand and captures the spirit of your company. It allows your target audience to understand about your product and your market. With finer details, they might even understand more about your industry and the common problems that they face, which are related to your industry.
The purpose of marketing comes in many forms. Some argue that marketing is meant to educate, others say it is meant to advertise.
However, the main aim of marketing, in the simplest terms, is to create a customer.
How do you go about creating a customer?
With any new product of services, you must first determine to whom you are going to sell it to.
- Is the product suitable for the buyers you have in mind?
- Will they buy it?
- Why will they buy it? What would make them buy more?
- What are the potential problems associated with the product?
You might not have all the answers immediately, or at the start. Hence, it helps to have a variety of marketing research methods and channels to gather direct feedback. Having an external party for consult or marketing campaigns can also help shed a brighter light on the bigger picture.
True marketing starts with the customer. It is about the customer’s needs, wants, values, demographics, budget and situation.
A product should not be about ‘What we want to sell?’.
It should always be about ‘What does the customer wants?”
5. Start Selling
Selling and marketing are not opposites. They are not even two sides of the same coin; they are one and the same.
If you do not get out and sell, you aren’t going to make it with a new venture.
Every business requires selling and closing deals.
Your product or service, or the thing you are selling, will have to carry its own weight. It needs to have its own individual strong points and weaknesses. To sell a product you need to know how to emphasise its benefits and foresee any potential objections. This will make it easier for said objections to be easier to overcome, and for any staff to have a smoother time convincing the prospects.
Your product or service has its own Individual strong points and weaknesses. If you sell the product first, you know how to emphasize benefits and overcome objections. Then you can teach these tactics.
6. Start Building Your Sales Team
When it comes to growing start-ups, you are not just simply building your product’s reputation, you are building your firm’s reputation and infrastructure.
Like any infrastructure, you need a good foundation for support. When it comes to revenue numbers, this foundational support comes in the form of a good sales team. A good sales team is crucial in helping you build you clientele. The last thing you want for your business is to end up with erratic business volume or not selling enough.
To prevent that you need a good sales team, equipped with selling skills.
A good sales force would take on the role as consultants for their clients. Customers are important to a business, and their knowledge and information are a form of resource for your company. You need information on your customers – What do they need help with? What do they not know? How do they feel about your sales team and your product?
With premium services and/or product, premium prices would follow. Your profits would follow.
There is a lot to know about running a company.
Customers are commonly referred to as a source of funds. That is largely incorrect. Customers are a source of growth. They represent growth for your company in the form of long-term customers, and not a one-off cash grab.
The general rule of thumb that has always prevailed in the business world lies in the word – value. When you provide value to your customers, as you value-add to their lifestyle with your product and/or services, your business will start to grow.
The remaining hurdle you face, after understanding that, is to market your business product/service, in the most effective way.