Last week, I participated as a mentor at Babson College's Mentor Madness event in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. The event allowed all students to share information about their new venture with mentors and receive immediate feedback on overcoming some of the business challenges they faced.
One of the most common questions I get asked as a mentor is:
"When should I start marketing my startup?"
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the right time to come out of stealth will vary depending on your specific startup. However, some general factors to consider include:
- Have you validated your business idea? You should have a good understanding of your target market, their needs, and how your product or service solves those needs.
- Have you built a viable product or service? Your product or service should be ready for public consumption and able to meet your target market's needs.
- Do you have a go-to-market strategy and marketing plan in place? Your GTM strategy will determine where you market. Are you selling to specific verticals, selling horizontally, or through partners? Is your product being sold as a service? Do you have the capability for a free trial? Your marketing plan is built on this information. You should have a plan for generating interest and buzz for your product or service once you come out of stealth mode.
Start your early-stage marketing engine.
Once you’re within six months of launch, there are a few things you can do to start your marketing engine:
- Do some work to understand your target audience and buyer personas better. Examples include capturing insights from sales calls, creating a survey to potential prospects, or conducting in-depth research. Then, you can create your ideal customer profile and buyer personas to tailor your product and content to their needs.
- Who are your potential competitors, and how do you stack up against them? A messaging exercise will help you position your brand and product in the market and create the positioning you need to make an impact. Read more in our blog 5 Steps to Find Your Product/Market Fit, on how we help package our clients’ messaging for success.
- Create a game plan and implement pre-launch marketing tactics and strategies to build traction and awareness – starter website, social media, tech stack tools (CRM and marketing tools), pre-launch marketing content development, e-mail marketing, etc. For many of our clients, we recommend startups create and launch an educational e-book and relevant started content needed, such as sales enablement tools (i.e., presentations, solution briefs, beta use case studies).
Once you have your engine started, it’s time to add the fuel. Within three months of launch, we recommend you prepare for launch to increase brand awareness and start generating leads. At Red Javelin, our launch marketing services include everything you need to launch, such as social media campaigns, e-mail marketing teasers, paid social advertising, byline placement to hit around the launch date, and a well-planned and targeted launch public relations effort.
Red Javelin Startup Marketing services use proven B2B marketing strategies and tactics that are highly efficient, core to startups, and work within a tight budget to create faster growth, brand awareness, and authority in the marketplace. Our agile marketing model allows you to start small and scale up gradually to meet the changing needs of your growing business.
Download our e-book on 65 Steps to a Successful Product Launch, and contact us today to learn more about how we can help you launch your startup.