The biggest problem that nearly all tech start-ups face with marketing is simply not understanding marketing strategy.
The vast number of companies we mentor believe they just need to focus on engineering and development first, then bring marketing on after they have a MVP ready to go. Even at that point, most believe marketing can be accomplished with Facebook ads, networking events and attending conferences.
The result is the too often an eventual pivot because the product pricing is wrong, the problem the product was created to fix isn’t a real-world problem. At the end of the day, the market isn’t there and software needs to be jammed into another solution in an attempt to save the work and remaining budget.
Marketing needs to be a foundational aspect of the product strategy, as important as the engineering and development work. Hard questions need to be answered around 1) does the product solve a real-world problem? 2) does the product provide viable and worthy differentiators? 3) has the pricing model been strategically vetted? 4) does the Serviceable Obtainable Market provide a feasible market size?
The final aspect of marketing that start-ups need to get a solid understanding is around brand awareness. Market intelligence tells us that Top of Mind companies (those that spring to mind immediately) win business 85% of the time, those under the Unaided Awareness banner (if you think a few more minutes these companies come to mind) win only 10% of the time and Aided Awareness companies only win by extreme price breaks.
Successful companies will build from brand awareness to thought leadership to third-party credibility. This is a major part of a business and requires sufficient budget and time. It’s more than a logo and tagline with Facebook ads. If you don’t have budget for marketing, readjust and rethink before you have to pivot. While saying you pivoted has become a somewhat acceptable thing to say, it still really means you failed and wasted a large amount of money. Prepare, research and plan with marketing in mind and you can keep more money and generate real revenue much faster.
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