Entrepreneurs and technology leaders these days are expected to go beyond their domain of just building a great product, but are challenged to market them as well. VCs fund ideas and products that can ultimately see wide scale market adoption. So, how does an entrepreneur at least get started to build a framework for marketing success. In this article, I want to lay out few key steps to successful marketing.
Step 1: Creativity
Smart marketers are highly creative people. These individuals know how to think "outside-in" (not "inside-out") and know how to think outside-the-proverbial-box to create strategies that are highly creative and are able to promote their idea or product in ways that competitors are not able to mimic or rival. Their marketing creativity is incessant, and hence they keep setting new milestones of creativity for others to catch up, and they keep changing the game. To bring this to life, a smart entrepreneur will be creative enough to position their product or technology in a way that other products in the market are not able to replicate. For example, if one is trying to enter a crowded market of consumer media services in India, he or she has to look for a unique positioning so that it is easily distinguished from other offerings in the marketplace. So, if you are planning to come up with a new ‘newspaper’ service, for India, you have to develop a new twist on news journalism which presents news and editorial in a way that other competing newspapers cannot mimic. If they tried to morph to your strategy, they would be forced to abandon their current focus and strategy, and therefore run the risk of loosing their existing franchise. So, perhaps, you create a newspaper service for people who are frequent business travelers, so other newspapers that may currently have single metro focus, are not able to compete with your multi-metro business traveler focus. This example simply illustrates the point that your market positioning has to be such that others are not able to mimic.
Step 2: Strong Research and Analytics
Good marketers are diligent students of markets and trends. They are religious about analyzing facts and data, and would not just go after vague instincts and opinions. They spend lots of time understanding how consumers and businesses behave? and what motivates and who influences their buyers? They try and study how markets evolve? A good way to start your research is to use the web and pay attention to news and opinions on areas of your interest. I certainly recommend that you spend some time every week to better understand the world around you, as that will help you create the right marketing strategies and distinguish in your marketing execution. For example, currently in India, as the economic growth rates are slowing down, good marketers are trying to understand what are the causes and effects of this slowdown, and how might that change consumer or business buying behavior? Data driven research and analysis is the cornerstone of marketing success.
Step 3: Leveraging the World of Digital Marketing
In this world of Internet, digital marketing techniques are gaining strong adoption, because consumers and businesses are rapidly migrating to digital and interactive media. The traditional media of print, billboards, television, and radio are being augmented by interactive and digital media of web 2.0, mobile marketing and interactive videos. We truly are converging towards a digital media, where you can reach your audience through superior online marketing techniques. I urge entrepreneurs and managers from all fields to at least familiarize themselves with the power of search engine marketing, social and conversational marketing, mobile promotions through text/SMS, power of facebook/opensocial apps, youtube/video marketing, blog marketing and webinar events. Being well versed in the techniques of online and digital marketing will help you figure out the best way to execute your marketing plans, capture user and buyer attention at the lowest possible cost, and gain market share over competing choices. For tech savvy professionals, this world of digital marketing should be a natural extension of skills. I urge you all to at least know the concepts and the power of digital marketing and how it might help change the future of marketing.