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Why investing in a clear marketing strategy is crucial for early stage startups

- June 21, 2018 3 MIN READ

A clear brand strategy is essential for any organisation, especially for a startup with limited funding. Without strategic direction and clear goals outlining where you envision your business being in the next 12 months, building a successful startup can be difficult.

Taking the time to invest in your marketing strategy and initiatives from the beginning will not only give you a strong brand identity, but increased likelihood of success.

Know your market

It all starts with getting to know your market through competitor analysis. Examining who is doing what in your space will give you an insight into how competitive your market is, and an idea of your competitors’ market share. Once you have established that there is enough room for both you and your competitors, you must identify your unique selling point and find your niche in the market.

The next step is building your marketing funnel, known as the AARRR model. The model breaks a business down into five components –  acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue – that all feed into each other. If your business isn’t tracking as well as you might like, examining each piece of the funnel allows you to pinpoint the key areas that need improvement. Without retention, for example, revenue will suffer, and vice versa with acquisition and activation.

Once you have established your place in the market and have a clear strategy in play, the next step is marketing your product.

Of course, the exact strategy will differ depending on the nature of your startups and the sector it sits in, but the key fundamentals apply. What’s more, startups should try to capitalise on the fact that they are disruptive and are bringing a new way of doing something or solving a problem to an industry.

Understand your target audience

Given the services of an advertising agency are outside the budget for bootstrapped startups counting every dollar, social media marketing can be a key tool for success, serving as the perfect foundation upon which to build a wider suite of marketing activities.

Social media has been the key for some of the world’s biggest brands, who are using social platforms to put in place relatively simple marketing campaigns that, when executed in a creative way, can produce serious business growth and ROI.

Airbnb, for example – which has over 150 million users and a worldwide value of $32 billion – relies on User Generated Content (UGC) for many of its campaigns and every day posts alike. Not only does this save the company millions in advertising dollars, but it also appeals directly to its key target audience with relevant and accessible content.

Your activities should start before your product or service launches into market: building anticipation of a new product or business allows you to put your brand at the forefront of the market’s mind ahead of launching, and with traction crucial, creating an initial buzz can be the difference between success and failure.

Of course, there are a range of social media platforms to choose from and you can’t conquer them all; rather it’s important to choose one or two to focus on before branching out. Take some time to research how other brands are using different platforms to see which is most relevant for your business and sector – Pinterest might work extremely well for the retail and food industries, but not so much for the finance industry, for example.

No matter which platform you choose, executing consistently both in terms of what you post and how often is crucial to building your identity and credibility. After all, a company’s reputation is built off its credibility, and ensuring that your business has a strong brand identity will allow you to position yourself as a credible player in your respective market.

An online Master in Marketing at RMIT University drives understanding of branding and marketing in the digital age, and focuses on learning that can be applied to personal career and business aspirations.