Friday, November 14, 2014

unCon 2014 Session: Sharing Startup Marketing’s Best Practices

By: Sterling Dintersmith

While developing a product or idea is a challenge in and of itself, marketing that innovation to the public can be even harder, especially for startups. Today, Steve Robins led a group discussion about finding the best practices for successfully marketing a startup company. The discussion walked through several tips and tricks of marketing, both pre-product, and post-release.

The group consensus determined that a pre-branding analysis of the customers of any given product helps avoid the costs and setbacks of rebranding due to an unforseen change in customer base. So, even if an in depth analysis may be costly in the short run, it will pay off when the startup is able to directly hit it’s consumer base.  Additionally, Steve Robins mentioned that whatever branding does happen must convey the message of the product clearly and concisely. Other members of the discussion chipped in, commenting on how the product’s message should reference the root problem that it is fixing. Once a prototype is created, multiple peopled suggested getting lots of feedback from the customer base through various methods such as Kickstarter, pitches, and getting direct feedback from people interested in buying and using the product. This feedback can also be used as testimonials. Another discussion member mentioned the possibility of analyzing the competitor’s products and businesses for flaws and building off of those.

While the suggestions mentioned thus far have focused mainly on improving the product, a marketing trend seen often in startups, our group was able to develop several ideas for the marketing itself. First of all, increasing awareness of the problem that the product fixes can increase demand for the product. This can be done through reaching out to news reporters or bloggers, and is more easily done in niche markets. In any market, giving a product to influential members is also effective, because other people see that someone important is using the product and would be more likely to buy it. Facebook, twitter, Buzzfeed and other social media outlets can increase awareness as well. These outlets can all lead to the product’s website, which many discussion members recommended by very simple, clear, and concise. Oftentimes, websites contain too many technical details, which can slow a buyer’s momentum and decrease their interest.

As the product’s initial surge ends, the most important factor to keep in mind is customer satisfaction. When customer satisfaction is high, customers will spread the product or business by word of mouth and it’s consumer base will continue to grow. Out of all the takeaways from the discussion, this was probably the most important, because regardless of any other factors, only satisfied customers will continue buying. 

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