September 15, 2007

Startup "marketing strategies" - I

In one of the talks by Seth Godin , he mentioned about Sun Microsystems where Sun officials mentioned "We will take care of Technology and marketing would be taken care by itself " and as Seth mentions "Technology just enables you to connect to people but marketing helps you reach that Technology to people". Most of us are so much addicted to Technology that we always think in a technological sense but when we think of an idea , all the aspects are very important.

Every Business gets a shape with effective marketing and IMHO, every Business is like a DHANDA(in Hindi).My favourite example is "The guys who sell clothes in Fashion Street,Mumbai are the best marketers I have come across with since, they have the capacity to attract customers as well as compete very effectively with the surrounding competition." biggrin

Marketing is one of the pain-points of any startup since, (as a startup) you don't want to spend a single penny on marketing so, how do you still get your idea to the crowd? Below is a list of some the cost-effective marketing strategies , that might be used with a very high impact and good returns :

This article has been divided in two sections, the next one would follow very soon.

1. Word of Mouth (WOM) Marketing :
This is one of the most effective ways to start your marketing campaign.You tell your friends, relatives & others in your vicinity about your product/service and get their feedback.But only if a person comes back with a feedback than that is the person who is expected to spread the word biggrin Rest others are just observers and they can be termed as the passive users of your service/product.

For example: Initially when you have a new blog, in order to get some traffic on your blog, you inform your friends about your blog.Simple isn't it? But do you think each one of them would reach your blog? Na...Only people who are interested in the topic on what you write or who love reading/writing etc. would turn back to your blog.Rest of others are all one-time readers.
So ideal part is to identify the correct audience in your circle whom you can approach & after some time, they would surely revert back with their feedback biggrin So, the key is "Identification of the right audience to get the honest feedback".

2. Blog Marketing :
With the increasing number of people going online and reading blogs , Blogs are one of the simplest,fastest & easiest ways to spread the word.I am sure that as a blogger, each one of us, would be receiving many mails asking for a review, feedback etc and this list will keep on growing as more & more companies/startups start realizing the importance of Blogs biggrin With a better Broadband penetration in India, Podcasting would also be one of the effective tools for do hard-hitting marketing.

3. Video Marketing
Few months back, I had posted about the Coolest definition of Web 2.0 and you can check the viewer-ship statistics(which is already in millions) of the video here. But Youtube is not only about posting songs , videos but has also become a unique platform for startups to post Demos of their products. Just when I logged into Gmail, the bottom left corner showed the video(given below), which is a collaborative effort by the Gmail community.

So, what is special about the video? Well, Google has used YouTube to the fullest, to demonstrate the power of Gmail !!! If Google can use this medium, than a startup can definitely use the same medium to spread it's word.In fact, Prof. N. Venkat Venkatraman of Boston University School of Management points out that Google should look to monetize YouTube beyond advertising!!!". Video of Pakistani startup Scrybe demonstrating it's Alpha on YouTube [Interesting video]

4. (Un)Conference Marketing :
Unconferences are one of the best places to network with like-minded people as well as spread the word about your idea/startup.Consider the niche of your product and you are sure to get a good percentage of audience from the unconference community.
For example: If you have a new Blogging platform , than the end users would obviously be bloggers
lol Hence, BlogCamp would be an ideal platform for you to launch your new platform since, many of them would ideally turn out to be the end users of your service !!!

5. T-Shirt Marketing :
So, how does a normal half-sleeve T Shirt cost in India? May be in the range of Rs 100-150 but if you have a logo of your startup on it, it becomes priceless. When your team wears the same T Shirt, it suggests that the team is very well knit and also conveys your brand value. For example: T-Shirts have indirectly turned out to be one of the best tools for marketing unconferences !!! Every time you wear a BarCamp or a BlogCamp T-Shirt , you are sure to attract a million eyeballs !!! Below is the FOSS T-Shirt, which is bang of target wrt the punch line and many have unknowingly complimented me for the design of the T-Shirt wink T-Shirts have a very long reach with very minimal expense !!!

Image Courtesy : Alok Padhi

Listed above was a mix of conventional and unconventional marketing , the other strategies would be continued in the next article.Definitely, the new era of marketing has arrived and it can be used very effectively by startups !!!

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At Sep 16, 2007, 8:18:00 PM , Anonymous Jay Hamilton-Roth said...

Marketing is more than identifying your audience. It's knowing what problem or challenge that THEY have (and telling them about your solution to it).

At Sep 17, 2007, 9:17:00 AM , Blogger Mathew Johnson said...

that is damn good summary!!

kevin merritt @ blist has a good recent post in a similar vein:
who needs marketing

At Sep 17, 2007, 9:26:00 AM , Blogger alok said...

Good Sum up. If you know the audience better it's always gives an insight to discuss your ideas and solutions that you can provide them.

Need not mention the medium used for communication is the one which takes care most of the issues. If you have access to all the medium then Wow !!

At Sep 17, 2007, 10:02:00 AM , Blogger Anbusivam said...

Hey Nice one. But, marketing also depends on the kind of market segment you are going to target. Especially in growing economies like India, one needs to clearly understand the potential buyers of your products or users of your service.

I feel, all you've mentioned is perfectly suitable for IT based startups.

- Siva

At Sep 17, 2007, 10:36:00 AM , Blogger 100rabh™ said...

marketing is something people take for granted. Its best people realize that usually you need not just a great product but even a good product and good marketing can do a lot.

At Sep 18, 2007, 9:22:00 AM , Blogger Abhishek said...

Nice reading, Himanshu.

At Sep 18, 2007, 9:39:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

@Jay : Definitely, we need to understand the audience before we start something.But there are cases that you have solved a problem(faced by a mass audience), in that case some of these tactics might be useful to you...At the end of the day, you need to send the message out to the audience,you need to find them...they won't find you(in some cases they may)

@Mathew : Thanks and do keep looking out for more...Would add this link in my article.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Sep 18, 2007, 9:41:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

@Alok : You have a very valid point since, identifying the medium is so very important since, there are way many ways in which a same message can be sent to the consumer.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Sep 18, 2007, 9:49:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

@Siva : My comments embedded:

Hey Nice one.
>> Thanks

But, marketing also depends on the kind of market segment you are going to target. Especially in growing economies like India, one needs to clearly understand the potential buyers of your products or users of your service.
>>Market segmentation is of prime importance.Imagine opening a shop on the midst of a highway, definitely there is no chance of getting more customers but a same shop in a crowdy are would work...Regarding potential buyers, we can take the example of Mobile phone, when Nokia 3310 was launched in India, it was a hit!!!This is because Nokia had a clear idea of Indian market.Now,this policy is being used by other mobile makers as well !!!

I feel, all you've mentioned is perfectly suitable for IT based startups.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Sep 19, 2007, 2:37:00 AM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

@Saurabh : You are correct, great marketing can also result in success of ordinary products...But Excellent marekting is required and that is the bottom line :)

@Abhishek : Thanks.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Sep 19, 2007, 6:31:00 PM , Anonymous Mrutyunjay said...

You missed out PR (Public/Press Relations).

At Sep 19, 2007, 6:38:00 PM , Anonymous Himanshu Sheth said...

Thanks for pointing out that :) This was one of the points in my next post on Startup marketing.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

-Himanshu Sheth


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