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7-Step Marketing Strategy for Startups

Updated: Jun 26

For every great startup that breaks into the mass-market, there are nine others that fall by the wayside despite many being excellent ideas and concepts. This is often because they simply haven't had the marketing strategy to make enough people aware of them, or persuade them to try them out.

Here's a checklist to ensure maximum bang-for-buck when you spend those precious launch marketing dollars:

1. Start with your target market

Chances are you'll have a primary target market, a secondary, and maybe even a tertiary one. Analyse their media consumptions habits carefully to identify which platforms they interact with most, and when, and what for. Most startups flock to social media by default, but think carefully if your primary target market is likely to want to follow the Facebook page of your new electronic device that measures the consistency of engine oil...

2. Remember you're a brand not just a product


In the rush to sell your product or service, the longer term brand-building objective is often forgotten. Brand-building is like a pension - the sooner you start the easier it is when you get older. So keep some of your marketing budget aside for the emotional stuff, giving people more of a connection than the rational reasons to purchase, that your product-advertising will focus on. In time, the balance between the two will swing because if you start building your brand today, you need not worry about selling your product tomorrow. ~Tim Culley


3. Use platforms that are appropriate to your budget

Whilst the platforms your target markets use must be the starting point, you must of course balance that with the budget you have. There is possibly no other advertising platform more impactful than cinema - you sit there, as a captive audience, glued to an enormous screen, with the best acoustics, as a golden retriever puppy bounds across the screen with your new cell phone in its mouth. Then you realise that it is also the most wasteful platform, as those 30 seconds cost you R5,000 and there is only 7 primary market individuals in the cinema... They will no doubt be swept off their feet by Goldie, but R5,000 could have got you 1000 clicks online.

4. Bursts, not spreads


Rather than spreading your marketing spend thinly over a longer period of time, pick times that are important to your business cycle or the buying behaviour of your target audience and load your activity into them - these are called 'bursts'. These will stand a much greater chance of being noticed that a very thinly spread 'always-on' presence. Leave your always-on to your websites & social media channels, which unlike ads, don't require $ to keep on!

5. Have a plan, let it play out

Once you have planned out the platforms you're going to use, what you're going to say on them, and how much you're going to spend on each one, over a period of time - give it a chance! Although digital platforms provide detailed analytics on the performance of your ads, don't chop and change things at the first sign of data. Have faith that a good integrated plan will work on some platforms when others are quiet, and then shift as the evening rolls in, the weekend comes by, content is shared, or the weather changes - there are many factors that effect ad performance, so let them run long enough that you understand what is effecting what.

If you are using ATL (print, TV, billboard, radio) I would recommend leaving that to run for at least 3 months until you start analysing the results. Digital can be changed up every week or so.

6. Make it disruptive


The media platforms you use can't do it all - you also need to have the right content to go on them. As we discussed in another blog, if you load the ad full of technical details, prices, offers and whatnot, along with a mundane headline and a stock image - ain't no one gonna stop to look!


Get across your message in a way that is totally different to everyone else in your industry, invest in a quality photographic or video shoot, make the ad breathtakingly beautiful, or edgy, or controversial - make it something that breaks through the mundane. It's 34yrs old, but imagine all those boring computer ads that came out in the 80's talking about the memory and operating speed, then watch what apple did https://youtu.be/2zfqw8nhUwA And there are plenty of other examples in this blog too.

7. Hire an expert

Everyone thinks they can run a coffee shop because they go to coffee shops. Don't assume that because you've been exposed to brands and advertising all of your adult life, that you can put together an effective marketing strategy yourself. You'll save time and money by pulling in an experienced marketing pro to create a single-minded proposition, communicated across multiple platforms, for a sustained period of time. Focus your energies on growing your business organically. Not sure who to call? Drop us a line at Synergist.

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Cliff Central Creative

BUILD | CREATE | BROADCAST

Find out more at www.cliffcentralcreative.com or contact enquiry@cliffcentralcreative.com

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