As entrepreneurs, we’re eager for our targeted customers to get hold of our products and services because we’re confident our product can make a difference.
Our excitement for the change we seek to make with our product is reflected in our aggressive marketing and brand building often at the detriment of ignoring the voices of clients & prospects who’re providing us genuine feedback.
The approach to Marketing for most startups (especially one’s that are not well funded) is often uncoordinated, pushy, constantly in the faces of prospects sometimes borderline annoying. This form of Marketing aptly known as “Guerilla marketing” has intensified due to the ubiquity of social media. The impression has been created that any startup founder with basic social media navigation skills truly believe they can handle marketing their brand.
As entrepreneurs, we need to recognize, marketing is the key touchpoint for building our brands. We need to be careful of making the right impression on our clients because first impressions count. Word of mouth advertising by a trusted person is even better.
We need to find the “right Type of Marketing” for our startups and by the right type of marketing I’m referring to the underlying motivations and reasons for marketing our products in the first place.
As startup owners, we need to develop the marketing ethos for our brands that will guide our marketing strategy. Remember the 80/20 rule? If that is anything to go by, finding the right clients for our products can make all the difference and get us to our desired revenue targets sooner than a lame guerilla marketing tactic.
The right type of marketing is personal not pushy
The right type of marketing comes across as genuine and wanting to solve the problem of the customer. For a startup building a brand, it is important to have the personal connection with prospects and customers. Typically, products from young startups do not have the critical acclaim and hasn’t reached the tipping point. Therefore, for the few prospects that have taken the time to know about our business, we need to provide them the maximum attention that they deserve.
We need to create that avenue for feedback that will foster growth, understanding and knowledge of our product. Samuel, a jewelry maker writes handwritten notes to client that purchase from his startup. One client on reading the note was highly impressed so she referred Samuel to all her friends. The revenues on orders from Samuels’ first clients were enough to provide him with the targeted income he needed for a year.
The right type of marketing is Empathetic
One edge startups, have over established brands is the opportunity to create warmth by making transactions less mechanical and making prospects understand we care about them. Good marketing should be able to come clean to the prospect when the product cannot solve the pain of the customer and even suggest competing products if that’s what will make the customer
The story is told of a prospect that called Zappos Customer Care Line to order Pizza. As the story goes, the Zappos rep at the other end of the line assisted the prospect in getting some pizza rather than dismissing the prospect as some knucklehead who does not know what he’s about. In the book “Delivering Happiness” Tony Hsieh writes extensively on customer care that is sincere and helpful which made Zappos an outstanding business. In 2009 Amazon paid almost a billion dollars for Zappos.
The right type of marketing builds communities
Customers enjoy choosing product based on their identity and preferences. They are also open and most likely to bond with other customers who have the same preferences. That is why there are famed Harley Davidson, BMW fun clubs all over the globe. Because in the minds of these customers, sharing the joys of a product with another person provides an added level of connectivity.
As startup founders, community building is essential and key to the growth of our brands. Creating social relationships around our brands and building it is one of the best things we will ever do for our startups. As Seth Godin puts it. “People like us, do things like this”.
The right type of marketing is not pushy, intimidating or overbearing, but requires personal connections, community building and empathy.
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