Marketing for startups is very essential. Isn’t it?
It’s no secret that startups are quickly becoming the defining model for business in the 21st century. Many of the biggest companies at the moment, like social media giants, started life out as a small-time startup. But with the right decisions and enough determination, it’s possible for the smallest of startups to become a major business.
However, if you want to get the most out of your company, you’re going to need to know how to market sufficiently. Thanks to the internet, there’s a huge amount of competition out there in any industry. We’re going to look at some of the most important things you can consider when it comes to marketing for startups, including:
- How to manage a budget
- The kinds of people to surround yourself with
- Better approaches to marketing
Update: This post was submitted to Indivine. And Later it was ranked as a top post by IndiBlogger.
Table of Contents
- 6 Things that I Learned by Marketing for Startups:
- 1) Growth Hacking Is the Real Deal
- 2) Don’t Go for Specialists Early On
- 3) Keep Trying Different Approaches:
- 4) Be Prepared for a Changing Environment
- 5) Don’t Try and Protect Your Budget
- 6) Be Prepared to Change Your Approach Regularly
- Wrapping Up:
6 Things that I Learned by Marketing for Startups:
Here are the 6 things that I want to share with you, that I learned after marketing for startups.
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1) Growth Hacking Is the Real Deal
One thing to consider is the fact that growth hacking is definitely more than simply a buzzword. The idea has been around for a few years and has gradually gained general acceptance among startup marketers. It’s a straightforward concept and refers to hiring someone, or a few people, on your team who are solely concerned with the growth of your company. Rather than providing them with more specific roles, such as marketing, they are tasked simply with working out ways for your business to grow.
It’s an innovative approach, but one which has seen guaranteed returns. By allowing someone the breathing room to focus on a single, large task, and use all the tools at their disposal, you can expect to see some pretty impressive returns on your investment.
Should you hire a Growth Hacker for a startup?
Many people have put off the idea of hiring a growth hacker. It’s pretty difficult for startups to confidently decide where they want to put their budget in order to get the largest possible returns. This is especially hard in a world where standard practice is changing all the time.
Startups are certainly not the office environment that many people are used, and they have started developing their own dynamics. That said, it’s not too difficult for charlatans to take advantage of a climate in which experimentation and trial and error are par for the course. Many people can easily shill ideas. And many smart people can also simply get carried away by the mood of the times. You may consider a position such as growth hacker to sound like absolute nonsense, and that’s understandable.
But for our money, it’s a position that can easily end up becoming an impressive return on investment.
2) Don’t Go for Specialists Early On
Further to that idea, when you’re deciding whom to hire to your marketing team, it’s worthwhile getting generalists ahead of specialists. While it’s always worthwhile having a few people who have specialized in certain areas, generalists are more likely to have a better understanding of the general principles of marketing. They’re also far more likely to be adaptable, and willing to think outside of the box. For a startup that’s trying to work out its own ideal way of doing things, these qualities couldn’t be more invaluable.
Generalists are more flexible and can coordinate well:
It’s easy for a startup to feel the need to try and specialize. After all, the vast majority of startups are founded on the assumption that they’re delivering something to the customer that is available nowhere else. This approach is understandable, but it can lead to an attitude that leans towards specializing. You may feel that your business is going to need to get every little thing exactly right and that by hiring a variety of different team members for each specific thing, you can achieve this.
The reality is that the bigger your team, and the more diverse their skills, the harder it can be to successfully coordinate things. The result will be a confused company where everyone knows their own job but doesn’t understand how it relates to those of the team. On the other hand, by hiring an all-rounder, you’ve got one person who can carry out a range of different jobs. This means that there are no problems with coordination, and things can move smoothly and easily.
3) Keep Trying Different Approaches:
It’s easy when marketing to fall into a simple routine, carrying out the same kinds of campaigns and promotions again and again. If you’re getting modest results, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stick with what you know. On the other hand, if you don’t step outside of your comfort zone, you’re never going to know what you’re really capable of. It’s only by a process of trial and error that you’re able to work out exactly what works for your startup. Once you’ve figured out the best methods to bring in more business, you can start refining the process and getting better and better at what works. From there, all you need to do is keep trying new things.
Never get afraid of Mistakes and Failures:
Many startups begin their life with a very clear idea of their own identity. After all, they have been founded based around the idea that they can deliver a product or service that is not widely available. This means that it may often be difficult for the people at the helm of a startup to accept that they need to change their approach. The huge amount of time and effort needed to launch a startup means that many people may view and kind of change as an unacceptable compromise. However, this mindset will ultimately be destructive to the company.
Change does not necessarily need to mean that previous ideas were an abject failure. Rather, the whole process is a gradual movement in search of what constitutes a successful company. It’s foolish to think that a startup can take off without making a few mistakes along the way. However, some business owners are not willing to accept that they have to change their approach. With marketing, a high degree of flexibility can make all the difference between success and failure.
4) Be Prepared for a Changing Environment
Many people don’t realize it until they start, but marketing for startups is a pretty big departure from working for a larger, established company. You’re going to find yourself working out a lot of things on the fly and adapting constantly to an ever-changing environment. There’s every chance that you’re going to have to take on the occasional duty and task that may not fall within your official remit. You’re also going to have to be prepared for things to change at a very fast pace.
However, once you get used to this extremely fast-paced and malleable atmosphere, it’s easy to start bringing about real results. Don’t be afraid to embrace new responsibilities when they appear, and make the most of what’s in front of you.
It’s not always easy keeping up with constantly changing duties, but it is very common in the life of a startup especially early on. The world of business can be extremely unpredictable, not just in terms of the returns on investment you see, but in terms of how a business actually runs. You’re also going to have to accept that those at the helm of your startup, you will have difficulties in ensuring that everything runs exactly how it’s supposed to.
Despite all their best efforts, keeping things on track and matching people to their tasks is not easy. The bigger the team, the harder it is to guarantee that everyone is in the right position, and will be free from taking on any more duties than they’ve already got. However, if you’re willing to meet them halfway, these changing environments can actually be beneficial to you.
Keep learning and build your skill sets:
Every job is a learning curve, and sometimes the curve can be extremely steep. But if you’re willing to learn new things, you’ll be able to pick up some valuable skills. These skills could serve you extremely well in the future. That doesn’t mean that you should take on an excessive workload, or accept a task simply because you’re worried about the consequences of saying no. But if it looks like it could move the business forward, you may as well take it.
5) Don’t Try and Protect Your Budget
Another major departure from larger scale marketing is adapting to a budget. In many bigger companies, marketing people are under the impression. The impression is that if they don’t clear their budget, they’ll receive a smaller amount next year. But with a small startup, the lines are far more blurred between different departments and responsibilities. Here you have to prioritize the welfare of the entire company ahead of the Startup marketing department. If you can’t find a use for your budget which you genuinely feel is worthwhile, you may be better of spending that money on hiring new personnel. More than in larger companies, the success of a startup rests on everyone making the decisions that are right for the company.
It can often be hard for people to accept that their budget may be better used elsewhere. Particularly in a competitive corporate office environment, people can become needlessly jealous and do everything in their power to hold onto funds even though they have no real use for them. To be honest, this is inherently wasteful and does nothing to advance the company.
Startups are a very different situation. Because here everyone needs the company to succeed if they want to stay in a job. This is a good thing. Because an increased investment in the business means that people are far more inclined to work as a team. The result is an environment that many in other office jobs envy. That said, you may have to draw a line at some point. While the startup environment is certainly a more communal place than many other companies. You are still going to need to stand up for yourself when necessary. Don’t let people take advantage of you, and don’t completely give up your budget.
6) Be Prepared to Change Your Approach Regularly
It’s important as well to recognize that, as a startup, your product may still be in an unfinished state, even if you’re already marketing it. It can be frustrating marketing a product which is simply not receiving the interest you feel it should. However, try to turn any failures into something to grow from.
If you can examine your campaign and product, and pinpoint exactly why things didn’t turn out the way you hope, you can refine both your product and marketing process. It’s crucial for any business to learn from its mistakes, and in a startup environment where the division of responsibility is less than in other environments, it’s worthwhile that everyone tries and build together on previous successes.
Many of these challenges will help you hone your skills in marketing, and develop tactics and strategies that you may not have previously thought of. As a result, you will grow with your company and continue progressing up to your career ladder.
These are just a few great lessons that I gleaned from experiences marketing for startups. Working for such a company can be a very exciting experience, and very rewarding. That said, it can also be frustrating trying to keep multiple different plates spinning at a single time, and the lack of defined goals or work aims can be difficult. If you’re comfortable adapting to a changing environment, and good at thinking on your feet, there’s every chance that you’ll be able to flourish in one of the many exciting business marketing options available today.
Note: This is a guest post by Anabel Cooper. If you have a guest post to contribute, proceed to our Guest Blogging guidelines.