Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Start Up With Your Customers.

Outside the realms of tax efficiency, nobody starts a business in the belief that it will fail. However, a recent visit to a start-up incubator revealed mindsets that ignored the possibility while putting the cart before the horse and making some basic marketing mistakes.

1) What you've done in the past is of very little relevance to your future customers unless they were your customers in the past. The most bizarre example of this was the proclamation that their CEO is a biathlete and their COO a fencer. Egoes should be checked at the door.

2) Your marketing focus should be on what the customer perceives to be the problem, rather than on what you deem to be the solution. A dating site that was promoting itself as a place where you could be honest rather than having to lie was missing the fact that its selling point was verified profiles that other users could trust.

3) Being funded doesn't mean you've proven your business case. You've just convinced some people who are not your customers of the veracity of your hunch.  The "pivoting" vogue isn't a get out of free jail card and it over-values the idea of doing something, indeed anything rather than thinking rigorously about whether you have identified a genuine problem.

As always, it's not about you and your self-proclaimed entrpreneurship, it's all about your potential customers. Barriers to entry may have fallen, but the barriers to success are as high if not higher than ever.


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