This is part seven in our series on how to start thinking about marketing. To see our previous articles, check out:
Both established companies and start ups have unique challenges when trying to build their marketing plans. Â If an established company is in a known industry, they will have a very difficult time overcoming current perceptions – their brand is out there. Â But, a startup has to find people willing to take a chance on an unknown quantity. Â Either way, a good marketing plan is key to achieving the goals.
Being an established company means you have experience from which to draw. Â This is great news because there is no better marketing than your customers. Build a portfolio of testimonials, case studies and stories to use in every media and conversation you have. Â Spend as much time talking to your current customers as new ones – you want people just like your current customers, right? Â Really understanding their needs, wants and challenges allows you to connect with new clients faster and easier. Â If you don’t know today what is keeping your clients up at night, find out. Now. And that doesn’t mean guess – you should KNOW.
A start up company doesn’t have the luxury of calling on those stories and experiences. Â Instead, you have to focus on what’s wrong with the current market and why you started the company. What needs weren’t being met? Â What needs to happen to get things done right? Â The best marketing angle to take in this case is “one of you”. As “one of you”, I recognized the following problem with…. If you were a frustrated customer just like the people you are appealing to, they will listen. Â If you have hit one of their true frustrations. Â So how do you know if you have? Â Again, you need to talk to people. Â Connect with people however you can -LinkedIn, Blogs, local Chamber organizations, etc. to get a chance to have a conversation. Â Be sure to listen more than you talk and find out what the frustrations are. Then, as soon as you get that first success, capitalize on it. Â I worked for a company at one point that made a point to let everyone know who the first 5 clients they had ever had were and we were to treat those people even better than the rest. Â They had retained all five for 10 years when I moved out of the area and left the company. Â Pretty impressive!
Looking at your marketing plan with this in mind can also help figure out how to prevent the other guy from getting to your client. Â If you understand the benefits a start up can bring, you can answer it up front. Â If you know what the current providers do well, you can head that off before you get hammered with questions. Â Either way the best defense is a good offense.
Next we will conclude our series with Tech-focused on Non-tech-focused clients.