Essential startup marketing hacks

In today’s neuro-marketing age, textual marketing definition has become old school. Besides just the action of promoting and selling products or services, marketing is an umbrella word that involves a laborious journey from the generation of the product or service to market research, advertising and customer satisfaction. As an amateur entrepreneur, while there are several marketing aspects to consider, there are some empirical hacks that you simply cannot miss.
So what are the most practical marketing fundas to master for a successful venture ahead?
Marketing for the sake of it: Now this is a big ‘no no’. Marketing is a strategy, not something to merely shoot in the dark. So even before you think of launching a marketing campaign, it is important to realise that your marketing goal should be intrinsically linked to your business goals. Question yourself whether the purpose of your marketing campaign is to drive sales, build brand image, create a call-to-action or simply raise consumer awareness.

Product is the most prominent marketing aspect: Most of the start-ups fail because they neglect the product out of the four marketing P’s – product, price, place and promotion. With due respect to the start-up entrepreneurs, it’s been observed that in most cases they build products that the market doesn’t need at that point of time. Before you think about your marketing plan, it is important to realise whether the market needs your product, are there a similar category of products fulfilling the requirements that your product intends to and how will it add value to the end users in terms of quality, cost and comfort.
Start-up entrepreneurs should invest their time and money in market research before launching any product or executing marketing campaigns. Identifying your product USPs can help you create a strong differentiation for your product and if you can communicate it well, it can help you succeed.

Pay attention to customer segmentation: Most entrepreneurs try maximising their opportunities by targeting broader segments. But the hard fact is that it is impossible to build a business in a way that serves everyone. While many businesses have tried targeting a broad range of product features and services in an attempt to keep avenues open, it hasn’t worked wonders.

Have a competitive marketing strategy: You cannot change consumer mindsets or alter marketing mantras. However, you can build up a competitive marketing strategy that gives a cutting edge to your business. The hack is to bring some innovation or differentiation in the way you hit the market. There are four main areas to look at while considering the marketing edge you want for your product or service and you have to define it and communicate it to your advantage.

  1. Product – As discussed above, this is the most critical factor and there are several ways through which you can introduce your product innovation to your consumer group. Remember, sometimes the most cliché of ideas if tweaked innovatively can do wonders to create the hype you want.
  2. Place – Another great marketing strategy is to find a suitable market for your product. If there is no innovation in the product, it can be in the place. Think of providing the service or product to a particular segment or area that has not been catered by an existing product.
  3. Price – Several business owners have switched to providing convenient payment options to promote sales, and this strategy has been very successful. You may also want to consider offering lower or bundled price options to provide more value to your customers.
    After sales or customer service: You cannot underestimate the role that customer service plays in a successful marketing strategy. This could be your tipping point while you brainstorm ideas on how to market.

Likewise faster delivery, competitive rates etc can all add up to help you design a competitive marketing strategy.
Create a strong digital footprint before you launch the product
Some businesses wait until their product is launch-ready before they start talking about it. That can be a costly mistake. Pre-emptive awareness campaigning is important to let potential customers know your product is coming. You can sell the product benefit before it has arrived. This way, when the product is ready, so are customers! Look at building a dynamic website and engage your audience on social media in such a way that your content doesn’t slam your competitors but highlights your product benefits.

Institute Referral Marketing – Have customers become a part of the team
Referral marketing is an influential strategy involving very little cost. The driving idea behind it is rewarding existing customers or clients when they refer your brand to potential buyers. This will not only fetch you free publicity but will also help you build better relationships with existing customers. When consumers are rewarded, it increases brand loyalty.

Rely on PR tactics to make people start talking about your brand
Think you can do all by yourself? Don’t remain under that impression. On the contrary, it is observed that an effective PR strategy goes a long way to build a brand. PR offers more than just traditional advertising. If you wish to take your start-up from a minuscule entity to something enormous, investing in public relations is a smart move.
Remember, that when it comes to marketing, there is no ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. But there are some sensible guidelines that can be followed to achieve the kind of buzz that your brand needs. Use these noted marketing hacks to amplify your start-up efforts and get desired results.

About the author:
Pankaj is a principal consultant with Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting. He consults start-ups and SMEs on business, branding and strategic marketing and communication. He has more than 20 years of experience. He is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business (ISB).

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