Marketing is the first, foremost, and most important thing a business does. No market for your idea… nothing for you to do, no?
You are doing that, yes?
There is no customer, no investor, no partner, no desire, no demand, no co-founder, no support for what you want to do. You keep going? No, if the market says “no,” you stop.
MOST erroneously believe marketing means advertising and promotion. That couldn’t be more incorrect. Marketing is the work of the market; to determine WHAT to do… including whether or not you need to, and how to, promote your business.
The objective of Marketing is to design a business that doesn’t need to be promoted.
Follow that? If you have to SELL your product/service, your marketing isn’t doing its job. Does Coca-Cola, Tesla, or Apple actually SELL to you? Do they call you and pitch their product? No, because they’ve designed what it is, how it works, how to buy it, at the right price, etc. such that customers seek it out.
By FAR, the greatest mistake that startup founders make is that they start with the wrong things. They tend to have an assumption or desire about how to solve a problem and they go. You read that “startup” book that tells all you need to know… you went to a meetup or networking event that talked about what it takes… you’re ready!
If you are to actually have what you might consider a successful venture, a business, it starts there – in determining that you actually have a business. Let me throw for you a loop though… don’t yet worry about an LLC, accounting, patents, a website, nor coding if you’re diving into an web based venture – you don’t yet have anything! Let’s start at the very beginning: Do you know the market intimately?
Competitors, history, potential partners, costs, revenue models, what potential customers think they want – and what they might actually want? It doesn’t matter that you think you know, do you?
That’s your job. That’s the half of a business that creates the value. So let’s start, right now, with 4 simple things:
ONE: Get a notebook. Head to your favorite coffee shop and start ONE of 500, sit down, face-to-face, one-on-one interviews to figure out what not to do and to build a foundation of people to whom to turn with the initial solution. Yes, FIVE HUNDRED. Start spending your days caffeinated – you’re going to need it anyway.
TWO: Start marketing, constantly. Not promotion! We don’t have anything to promote yet. Start Marketing– The work of knowing and developing the market.
This is not the same as step #1, talking to potential customers, nor is it promotion. This is market research, competitive analysis, studying from where you might get funding, learning how such things exit, investigating what works and what doesn’t, etc. We do this to such a great degree as this is how we figure out what to do
insider secret: because customers are usually wrong– you do the interviews to figure out what NOT to do and you do marketing to figure out what TO do
THREE: Establish some market share by building out some industry assets: a Facebook group, a twitter, a mailing list, a newsletter… build some assets that are NOT consistent with your company name. We’re not yet building a brand as we don’t have that yet either– build some potential market share through industry related assets from where you’ll find an audience, fans, and early customers.
FOUR: Build a team. No startup in the history of startups is the success of one person. No investor in the history of investors funds one person.
Figure out your gaps and fill them with experience in a team that can succeed. Build a relevant, committed, capable team and you can accomplish anything: startups really only fail when the team quits.
What does that team include? Having figured out what you need to do by way of marketing, you’ll know. And there is no reason some of that team isn’t outsourced or supplemented by others; it’s why I do what I do, it’s why capable Venture Capital Funds help put such people to work on your behalf, and why we’re doing what we’re doing in MediaTech Ventures – don’t hire out of ignorance, get help having determined what kind of help you need.