startup priorities

For startups excited about marketing, one of the biggest challenges is having a focused approach.

It means being disciplined, rather than running around like an excited puppy because there are so many things to explore. In other words, it’s about quality over quantity.

This is a hurdle for startups because marketing is a big world with plenty of options. There are probably too many options, which makes the marketing landscape confusing and, at times, overwhelming.

This is why establishing priorities is important for marketing success. A startup needs to focus on the marketing activities that will achieve its goals – be it sales, leads, brand awareness, new financing, or attracting employees.

Once an objective is established, it becomes a matter of deciding on the best marketing activities to make it happen.

Let’s say, for example, a startup wants to nurture more leads. From a sales funnel perspective, it has to rank its marketing activities to achieve this goal. This takes into account target audiences, buyer personas and marketing and sales resources (people, money).

The next step is prioritizing the marketing initiatives using two variables.

1. What are the most effective marketing tools to get prospects into the sales funnel? The options could include sales sheets, white papers, case studies presentations, demos, videos and a Website.

2. How much money does a startup have to invest in marketing? Remember, each option has a cost: people, time and/or money.

Once the two variables align with goals, a startup has the insight to decide on the marketing that makes the most sense from a cost and opportunity perspective.

For some startups, it makes sense to have a good sales sheet and an effective Website so its salespeople have tools to reach out to prospects. This is a “basic” package, but it a startup may not require a lot of ammunition to drive the sales funnel.

For startups with more resources, the marketing bundle could include more options. This makes sense as long as these options align with how customers make purchases. After all, it makes no sense to launch marketing programs that don’t move the needle.

The bottom line is marketing is about driving sales or, at least, setting the stage for sales to happen. With limited resources, startups have no choice but to focus on the most promising marketing opportunities that generate the best return on investment.

Without establishing priorities, startups are running madly in all directions. They embrace marketing activities that have lower sales potential than other options, which is a crucial mistake.

So how are priorities established? It begins with developing a marketing plan that includes target audiences, buyer personas, channels and the competitive landscape. Then, you create a well-defined roadmap that aligns with goals and resources so the right things happen the right time.

This provides a startup with the discipline to drive marketing efficiencies and, hopefully, success. At the same, it reduces the chances a startup wastes time, money and effort by marketing based on quasi-educated guesses or intuition.

For start-ups and fast-growing companies looking to jump-start their marketing, I offer strategic and tactical services. Everything from building marketing engines to telling better stories through messaging/brand positioning, and reaching audiences by developing engaging content.