What is the role of marketing in a start-up business?

Build it they will come is dead!

The adage that says, “Build it and they will come,” doesn’t work anymore. Times have changed and competition has become fierce. If you have a business and you are shy, your business won’t see the light of the next day. In my language they say the cooking stick is handed to the quietest amongst us. However, in business it works slightly different if you are not marketing you will soon die. My pastor usually says a closed mouth is a closed destiny. I say a business that’s not marketed enough will soon die. It doesn’t die of old age but lack of clients.

Why is the lion king of the jungle?

You must learn a lesson or two from the king of the jungle: the lion. There is a common saying, “why is the lion the king of the jungle? Even though he is not the strongest, biggest, fastest, or wisest animal in the jungle?” Yet the lion an unlikely candidate still reigns in the animal kingdom. The answer lies in what he does, “he advertises”. The same is true of your start up business, if you are not marketing it, no matter how good your offering is you will soon die. Death of a business is painful, because it always comes with losses, sometimes huge ones for that matter. Your business is your baby don’t allow it to die.

Marketing is three things

In a class of real estate agents, I was teaching recently I explained marketing as, anything that a business owner does to be known, liked, trusted by those he or she wants to do business with.

Good is elementary.

In the past it was sufficient to be good at what you do, nowadays your competitor may even be better than you at the actual work or service you offer. I am not underestimating the role of offering a quality product or service here. Infact I am assuming that it is elementary, grade zero downright basic, the importance cannot be over emphasised. It’s too obvious. More essential is your ability to market yourself, that will take you places for sure.

Don’t peddle terrible products

If your product doesn’t deliver the goods or if it is mediocre don’t even market it. The impact of a bad service or product is downright close to dancing with danger it could kill you, both you and your business.

Be relentless in marketing

Assuming now you have a good product, be relentless in your marketing. Relentless marketing is the only marketing that works. Some people advertise once and pray for fame, it usually doesn’t work that way. Fame is rarely the work of a single advert. It’s the consistency that breaks you out of jail digging with a spoon.

Target marketing hits targets

The first step in your marketing effort is to identify a clear customer you want to target. If you don’t know who you are targeting, you will only succeed at producing mediocre marketing effort. Once you identify the target market you can go on to decide the message and the media or venue to meet up with your target customers.

The first temptation for a new marketer is to utter the suicidal words, “I am targeting everyone!” Everyone is hard, I always advise. Come to think of it, everyone means literally no one. Currently the world is confirmed to be having 7 billion people plus. So, imagine targeting 7 billion people plus with the marketing of your product or service, what media is used by all the people, what message resonates, and what language convinces everyone. If you ask these questions, you will soon realise the folly of your thinking. Targeting everyone doesn’t work, it clearly makes you stand out as an amateur in marketing. Amateurs rarely come out on top.

Think right, market well

A good marketer must think right. Half the battle is won in the mind. Mindset shift is key. A great man once said, “change your mind and change your life”. Don’t copy everyone because quite often, not everyone usually makes money.

Listed below are the 4 mindsets mistakes that new marketers must consider if their marketing has to succeed:

  1. Don’t target the whole universe. It’s unnecessary greed, it leads to tears.
  2. Don’t market without a call to action. Your target audience must be led, tell them what to do.
    3.Your marketing offer may not necessarily be what you sell, understand that.
  3. Don’t imitate well known brands’ advertising, their reasons may be far from
    needing a sale.

Marketing is influence

True great marketing is about influence, great marketing should influence the correct qualified client to take some definite desired action. Another trick is to make sure that the call to action is definite and clear. Some marketers are in the habit of confusing their audiences, confused audiences don’t buy. Confused fish don’t bite either.

Limit options to a maximum of three

One great failure in marketing is to give too many options, too many options disturb the effectiveness of any marketing arsenal. Infact experts say too many options confuse the prospects and confused prospects never buy. Three is about the maximum you can offer for a particular type of product or service. Learn from MacDonalds’ options.

Marketing is about being known, liked & trusted

Once you have figured out the best possible clients to target in your business you could ask the question, what can I do in this business to be known, liked and trusted enough by the prospects that they can take me up on my offer.

The biggest challenge small business owners face is that no one really knows them, no one really likes them enough, and no one really trusts them enough to deliver or honour their promise.

What can you really do to be known at a reasonable budget though?

You can ride on the shoulders of giants, by going into a marketing partnership with those serving same clientele but you are not in competition with. You can ask them to send out for example an email blast to their clients and recommend you. Of course, for every sale you get through them you must give them some commission. This is akin to them opening up another profit centre at your cost. You can let others offer one of your products or services as a bonus to their many clients. Whatever you settle for give your partners an irresistible offer for their clients.

Edumarket your prospects

You can Edu-market your prospects. Let them know you as the person who advises them on making correct decisions with regards to the products or services you offer. Do something famous if you can, donate to a charity or to a community and if you can cause yourself to appear in a newspaper by all means do so.

Get known, get liked, get trusted

You have heard it said that in life you mustn’t blow your own horn, but in business make sure the horn is blown and loud enough to be heard by your prospects at least. But don’t blow it in a rude and revolting manner. Blow it politely. It’s great if you cause others to blow it for you through testimonials and referrals but the bottom line of business is this, “blow the horn”. If you don’t be assured of this: your competitors will do.

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