I’ve been involved in helping dozens of small start-up companies ramp up their PR and marketing. Many times it’s to establish a new category of product. Sometimes it’s a new innovation that is disrupting a mature industry. But what I love about what I do is that with startup marketing, there is a formula to success and best practices I’ve learned over the years to help turn small start-ups into industry leaders.
If you are a start-up company that plans to launch a disruptive technology in the near future, here’s some tips as you think about your marketing efforts:
Tip #1: Get To Know Your Buyer Personas Intimately – There is nothing worse than not taking the time to develop personas that detail the pain points and needs of your target market. I know you may not know them yet but really get under the hood- who are they? What are the functional titles of the people buying your products? What keeps them up at night? What problem are you solving? Do the research, primary and secondary, that helps you nail these and refine them as you go along.
Tip #2: Build the Marketing Infrastructure Early – It’s never too early to uncover your key influencers, the reporters and the analysts that you will need to reach. What events should you be speaking at? What awards are key to establishing validation for your product? During the pre-launch phase, you will want to outreach selectively so build a pre-launch plan for building the buzz you need before you launch your product.
Tip #3: Messaging Your Startup – From when you first had the idea of building your new innovation and company, your messaging was in process. Now it’s time to refine and package it for the market. Take the time to create a messaging blueprint for your company and product that has your first, best and onlys. What are your differentiators? Know the competition and position against them. And start monitoring their activity through launch so you can tweak your messages as you go along.
Do you have multiple audiences you need to interest? Make sure your blueprint reflects each pain point and solution and that your website does as well.
Tip #4: The Optimal Marketing Mix – For a startup, your optimal marketing mix – content, PR, social media, paid media, and channels – will ultimately be where your target market lives, what kind of content is interesting and relevant to them, and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Do your research and then build a launch plan that integrates these tactics to increase your brand awareness, drive beta and future subscribers once your launch your product.
Tip#5: Don’t Micro Manage – Once you find a marketing resource you are comfortable with, give them the reigns to be creative and be open to their suggestions. As a founder, you have a lot on your plate and trying to be involved in every aspect of what is happening during the pre-launch phase is not a wise use of your time.
Most of all, learn to enjoy the wild ride, be flexible and agile, and keep pushing and evolving to what drives your early stage success.