In working with pre-launch startups, there’s a lot of focus on getting a marketing communications strategy started, in order to build brand awareness and impact marketplace traction. I see the same strategy implemented with small to mid-sized businesses as well.
How intimately are you connected with what’s going on in the heads of your marketplace? Really.
Customer discovery may have suggested one or two first customer segments. You are targeting – and counting on – early adoption from these groups. Did you measure acceptance of these first customers to your idea? How willing are they to purchase – especially once your competitors get wind of your impending commercialization efforts?
Marketing communications initiatives, PR campaigns, website development, and internet marketing can work wonders to create a pull marketplace. It’s a matter of whether you really are aiming at the right target markets, in the long run.
Otherwise you end up marketing to a whole bunch of folks who may not truly represent a sustainable marketplace for your product, service, platform. When your channel partners and competitors (even the ones you thought you didn’t have) identify this mis-alignment, you’ve effectively shot yourself in the foot.
You may find it’s harder to re-do and pivot once your product is launched, than when everything still is in development.
Most businesses and startups consider developing a marketing communications and PR strategy as a static exercise. The marketplace is anything but standstill. Your strategy requires constant monitoring, measurement, and reposition – especially if you are acquiring your early adopters.
If you are the CEO of your business or startup, do you feel your job is through once you sign a contract and engage the services of a marketing consultant? Guess again. Your marketing consultant will thank you for your reconsideration.
Commercializing a startup, let alone running a mature business, is exhausting. It’s an all-hands-on-deck play book. There never seems to be enough time, money or insight to give yourself a break from the action.
You long to become a visionary leader, whose primary responsibility is to provide guidance. You yearn to walk out of your office daily with some nugget of inspirational leadership that keeps the troops charging forward into the marketplace.
You know, as well as I do, that there is no let up. The umbilical cord between you and your startup or small business is never really severed. It shouldn’t be.
As the CEO of your venture, or the owner of a small business, you are your company’s first CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). You should, and can, keep your fingers on your customers’ collective pulses – otherwise your competitors will be glad to.
Your only focus is your company. When you hire marketing folks to commercialize your venture, they have responsibilities to other clients as well. They depend on you to alert them to changes in the marketplace, not vice versa. Did you know that?
Instead of commercializing your startup, or running your small business, via a corporate culture of functional silos, go poke some holes in them. Starting by collaborating with your marketing and marketing communication folks. This strategy can make a huge difference to your revenue stream.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to startups and small and mid-sized businesses. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business, is now available in eReader format!