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When do I need to start thinking about Marketing?

Let’s make a distinction here: most people think of ‘marketing’ as a discrete activity, i.e. advertising, that they should do as specific action.

Marketing goes much beyond this: it is an approach that addresses all activities related to driving growth through all touch points with the customer, either directly or indirectly (through influencers): from generating awareness, demand and purchase, to building ongoing relationships, preference, loyalty and evangelism.

In this respect, it’s never too early to start thinking about marketing…and you need to!

Remarkable

Marketing starts with the overall experience that you’re delivering (not just the product or service) – you need to make it ‘remarkable’.

If there aren’t reasons why people (prospects, customers, influencers) should remark about it, why and how are you going to generate word-of-mouth? How do you build share-ability into the experience – functionally AND emotionally?

Storytellers

You also need to be thinking right up-front about who’s going to tell your story for you. Who are the influencers out there who you can reach out to, establish relationships with, and build trust so that they’re prepared to create awareness, advocacy and evangelise on your behalf?

Advertising, unless done very discretely to test for product-market fit, should be used to amplify your message only once you’ve already built the layers of your ‘Demand Pyramid’: delivered a remarkable overall experience; crafted a unique and compelling story (Value Proposition); created the contextually relevant content to tell that story; and proliferated it through influencers and social media / channels.

Growth is the defining characteristic of a startup, and marketing creates growth. So you need to start thinking about it now.

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