Based on my last post, I thought it might be helpful to
present several ideas about how to get small/young companies to focus on
investing in strategic marketing, early in the product/service development
First, let’s look at the sources of the problem.
get it out the door!“–CEOs are under the gun from the “get go” —
budgets are tight and there is tremendous pressure to get to market
quickly. As such, an activity that is not absolutely necessary is shelved
for later consideration. The mantra, “let’s get the product out and then
we can deal with the rest” is a fairly common one. It
you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail“–in small companies,
CEOs often come with technology or finance backgrounds. It is much easier for
them to focus on the issues with which they feel comfortable. To the
uninitiated, marketing appears to be anything from fluff to black magic.
many young CEOs, marketing reeks of bloated budgets, time-wasting
fluff-mongers, and generally an impediment to getting any real work done.
(See Dilbert for more information … .)
Trying to explain the value of marketing is generally a
waste of time. Rarely do I hear a CEO say they don’t believe in marketing; they
all “get it,” they just don’t have any resources for it now … Here is how
you can cut through the noise and get executives to understand what good
marketing can provide. This advice is equally valid for internal resources and
outsourced marketers looking for an engagement.
small–everyone knows that there are certain marketing pieces that any
company needs; it might be data sheets, customer case studies, or a sales
presentation. CEOs will spring for these. Once you begin, filling in the
content require good messages and proper positioning. At this point, most
companies will spend some time doing some messaging exercises–although
they won’t want to pay for it and they won’t want to “waste time”
validating the messages either.
that have clear deliverables are easier to digest–while it is difficult
to propose a serious lead generation project with poor targeting and poor
messaging, the process does lend itself for finagling some proper product
marketing activities. For example, as part of a lead generation campaign,
I often propose a white paper describing the market need and the
product/service’s unique value. This exercise almost always leads to a
serious discussion about how the company’s sees itself, and the company
should go to market.
your homework–showing a CEO what a competitor has been able to
accomplish with good marketing is often a catalyst for getting attention. When
a competitor is getting a lot of market traction, mentions in the relevant
forums, etc., CEOs get nervous. Fear is a great motivator. Also,
presenting a competitive market map shows the CEO you mean business and
that you get it.
away from anything that sounds expensive, flashy, or fluffy. Proposing an
expensive trade show with a customized booth and giveaways is almost
always a non-starter for young, thrifty CEOs.
industry influencers to amplify a company’s message. A project to work
with industry influencers is often well-received, if you don’t propose a
$15K+ subscription to an analyst group. Try and quantify the deliverables
up front in order to set expectations realistically.
These suggestions won’t guarantee success, but they offer a
good start to getting off on the right foot. Comments and feedback are welcome.