The unique challenges of marketing a new venture.
We help our clients navigate and solve initial marketing challenges so they can stay focused on their core business.
We have found a variety of marketing challenges that confront every new venture:
- Credibility Issues
- Knowledge Gaps
- First Impressions
- Balancing Goals
- Resource Allocation
- Finding Effective Partners
- Hitting the Target
Startups face an additional set of challenges not encountered by established businesses. In particular, new ventures need to develop a distinctive brand, introduce a compelling story, create awareness, and most importantly, establish a level of trust with the consumer. Other factors such as industry, technology introduction, sales cycle, and financing can also greatly effect the initial marketing challenges.
New ventures also have the distinction of starting with a clean slate, a blank canvas. The initial brush strokes are so important to the image you want to create. Your ultimate success is contingent on your ability to establish a strong brand and marketing foundation from the beginning.
Start-ups constantly run into credibility problems. Who are you, why should I care, and why do I need your product or service? Being an unknown can have its competitive disadvantages. In today’s environment of fickle customer loyalty, investors and the consumers alike want to know two fundamental things: is this company for real, and will their product or service deliver on its promise. You must deliver a credible message and tell a convincing story.
Bridging Knowledge Gaps
Bringing a ground-breaking technology or new idea or product to market is every entrepreneur’s dream. The nightmare occurs when prospective buyers don’t understand it. In many instances, bridging the knowledge gap is a key factor. This usually entails clearly defining and communicating the “need” to potential consumers. Once the need has been established, the solution can be introduced and its merits conveyed. Those who are able to reach out and explain their ideas effectively are the ones who succeed in creating new and sustainable businesses.
Ventures may undergo several evolutions during their incubation. New information is being gathered constantly through trials, testing and feedback. Advances and set backs can occur at any time. It can be a very unsettling time when trying to solidify a business plan. It’s important to remain flexible and assess each new opportunity and view it within the scope of the big picture. It may require a strategy tweak or a complete overhaul. Keeping an open mind is critical when change is needed.
You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. How’s your brand‘s curb appeal? Will people drive right by or give you a chance to tell your story? If you don’t present your strongest case, prospective buyers will make their own assumptions and decisions. That’s why it’s so important to control your brand message and identity at all times.
Short-term gains are very important for any new venture, but can quickly become a problem if they are the only focus. By marketing only to short-term gains, your long-term goals may suffer. Riding the first wave of success is exhilarating, but it might be short-lived and short-sighted. You could easily find yourself cornered into a limited niche market that your business model may not support. We can help you keep perspective of short-term marketing gains within your long-term strategy.
Operating “lean” is a core element for every start-up. Resources need to be used wisely to ensure the proper execution of tasks. New ventures in particular cannot afford to throw extra time and/or money at “marketing problems” or off-strategy planning decisions. Significant risk and waste can be eliminated by implementing an accurate marketing plan. Reserves should be utilized for implementation and capitalizing on unexpected opportunities, not fixing mistakes.
Finding Effective Partners
There’s a big difference between establishing a working relationship and creating a viable partnership. Trusted partners will have a vested interest in your firm by bringing a sense of pride and ownership to the table. They will ask, “What can I do for you?”, not “What do you want me to do?” A good partner’s motivation and reward are much deeper than financial – they want to be an integral part of your success.
Hitting the Target
Some ideas have difficulty finding the right target. There may be multiple markets that need to be targeted, each requiring very different messages, (B2B, B2C). The challenge is to define your core business model, then brand to it, no matter the market. Only a unified brand will be able to sustain multiple target markets and not create confusion.
Emerge showed everyone our actual progress. It opened our eyes to the reality of our situation. Through JumpSmart™, we were able to take this knowledge and realign our marketing efforts so they include both long- and short-term goals. It helped us quickly reposition our brand within University guidelines and save us a tremendous amount of time, effort and money.
Director of Publications
Boston University School of Management