So you’ve launched your startup — congratulations! You’ve established your USP, sourced the necessary capital, and built a solid product. What’s next? Hire a developer? Recruit an HR professional?
The answer: assemble a dedicated marketing team. After all, marketing is the lifeblood of every blooming startup — it provides direction, and fights to get your new business the attention it deserves in a crowded global market.
But marketers do so much more than that. What do I mean? Well, read on to find out why your startup needs marketers more than any other role.
They build strong brand communities
Successful startups don’t coast along on small numbers of ambivalent or indifferent customers. They gather substantial bodies of engaged customers who love their brands, products, and/or services. Each body of customers forms a brand community, and that community serves as a strong foundation upon which to grow the company.
A good marketer is a master at creating this type of community. They can build an effective multichannel strategy that spans social platforms (such as Instagram), email inboxes, and more besides, all carefully crafted to form personal connections with their brand’s top customers.
And these personal connections are important. They strengthen the relationship between a startup and its customers. A solid customer community gives a startup a safety net to protect it should it falter on its journey — making it an important asset for any burgeoning brand.
Many brands today focus on social media for their communities, using hashtags to assemble them. GoPro is a great example, because people often don’t buy GoPro cameras because they like technology, or even because they like photography — they buy them because they see incredible community footage and simply want to get involved.
They establish unique branding
There may be plenty of uncertainties in the global economy, but startups continue to emerge at a relentless pace. With so many new enterprises doing everything possible to achieve early success, it’s difficult to get your name heard above the noise. Marketers can help you with that task by establishing a unique brand image.
Marketing and branding go hand in hand, and the latter is what sets startups apart from the crowd. When two comparable businesses offer the same product (or two products that are extremely similar), it’s the difference in branding that gives one the edge over the other.
A strong marketing team knows the immense value of branding, and accordingly makes it a priority. Simply taking a basic business and giving it a core brand identity can be enough to radically change its prospects — all of a sudden, there’s the potential for something to resonate with an audience, instead of being forgettable like most companies.
Drawing on your mission statement, your unique selling proposition, and whatever makes your products and/or services stand out, a marketing team will create a recognisable brand that gets your startup noticed. That’s a powerful prospect.
They bring in the right customers
You could have the best product in the world, but if no-one knows about it, then it might as well not exist at all. Your marketing team finds you new customers (and retains existing ones). And with so many startups hitting the scene, it’s vital that you keep your customers hooked so they don’t get distracted by the competition.
But most importantly, your marketers are responsible for finding the right customers. Casting your net wide doesn’t get you sales, and that’s a mistake many inexperienced startup owners make — besides, you don’t have unlimited resources, making it foolish to try to appeal to everyone simultaneously.
Great marketers know the importance of focusing on the right target market. Appealing to the right demographic(s) generates better leads, increasing sales as a result. And the resulting sales are more meaningful, with the customers responsible more likely to bring in referral traffic.
You can learn a lot from how big companies modify their marketing to suit different audiences. One example from the ecommerce world is Shopify. It uses distinct tacks to pursue different types of prospective customer. It presents the benefits of Shopify Plus to an enterprise-style audience. For instance, it details things like bandwidth and response times. These are things that matter to big businesses but not so much to small sellers.
They foster positive perception
In today’s business landscape, reputation is everything. From your customers and suppliers all the way up to potential investors, your reputation can make or break your startup.
A large part of this is the transparency inherent to the digital world. People are able to look up a brand’s trustworthiness online in seconds, and a negative tweet here or an angry Trustpilot review there could be the difference between a substantial sale or a total loss.
Marketers are tasked with handling startup reputations. With intelligent communication and calculated strategies, they can give nascent startups the kind of positive perception that can significantly foster growth as they attend to scale up.
If you’re taking the first step on your startup journey, you’ll want to start recruiting, but consider the above before you do. Will you need a CFO? Definitely. A developer? Possibly. But without strong marketers, you won’t be able to grow your business — so start building a high-quality marketing team now, and you’ll soon see the benefits.