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Why Marketing Is a Critical Component of Startup Success

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Azadeh Williams and Mike Scott on why marketing is imperative for any business that wants to succeed

Why Marketing Is a Critical Component of Startup Success

Congratulations, you've launched your startup but now what do you do? Some would say hunt for additional funding or build a customer base but what they sometimes forget is to market their business. 

Nona Digital CEO, Mike Scott, and host of the How to be Moderately Successful podcast speaks with Azadeh Williams, founder and managing partner of AZK Media explain why marketing is an important aspect of making your startup successful. 

Azadeh Williams> We do think any company, large or small, needs to have some sort of internal marketing capability. You can't outsource every component of your marketing function and expect magic. There needs to be some internal deep understanding and buy-in of the marketing function at inception. Whatever budget you have, whether you want to use agencies, partner or hire someone in-house, whatever budget you have. Remember there's never one single person or one single agency that can do it all for you there's no such thing as an ultimate unicorn marketer, especially at the startup phase.

A digital marketing agency might be able to do your SEO and create a great website, they won't necessarily be able to run a complete go to market campaign or create a great inbound campaign for you. 

Do your research and find the right mix of specialists, not generalists, who can help your marketing efforts and are also agile enough they can start small on small projects, then scale with you as you grow. It does make sense to take the time and do that research, and then make sure your budget, KPIs, and metrics are clearly defined and your marketer and your agency understand them. There's always a benchmark for measuring efficacy.

We also see some confusion when it comes to marketing metrics. We have startups come to us and say oh we want a bit of buzz around our business, can you give us PR? Can you get us into some trade magazines and tech trade magazines? We say absolutely we can do 50 pieces of media coverage in six months. However, what they actually want is lead generation, and PR won’t do this.  

If your metrics are leads, then you're talking about an inbound lead generation strategy, you're not talking about an awareness campaign through PR. So get your metrics clearly defined, so you're not wasting people's time and money and other agencies’ time and money. You're aligning your KPIs and metrics with the activity that's needed for it to happen, not the activity you think you need.

We see a lot of startups at that early phase get hounded by agencies who talk the talk, they look super slick and sexy, they have a proven track record, they're running glamourous multimillion-dollar campaigns. They get sucked in and they buy the dream from these marketing agencies. 

But those agencies have no idea what these guys do, they're not specialised in the tech space. Unfortunately, a lot of companies waste a lot of money with the wrong agency. We've seen this time and time again. 

A great little low budget way to start is don't underestimate the power of your own LinkedIn personal page. Make yourselves the stars. 

You don't have to be the next Gary Vaynerchuk to achieve results, but hone in on understanding a LinkedIn executive thought leader strategy. This can be a very low cost, but an exceptional way to build trust within your business and yourselves as founders.

Mike Scott> I want to jump in on that because I've had quite a LinkedIn journey. I'm grateful I was introduced to LinkedIn quite early. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine, who I ended up hiring. Who said LinkedIn is an untapped goldmine. This was a few years ago. There was an opportunity to carve out a name on the platform. My observation is LinkedIn has moved from a place where you look for a job to a business thought leadership and content channel.

I agree 100% when you're a founder, or when you're a leader, LinkedIn is a must-have channel and you need to be carving out your thought leadership profile or your domain expertise profile. What I don't agree with is it's easy because it might cost from a money perspective, but it requires a pretty significant amount of time and consistency. You've got to be posting every day, there are too many people posting absolute nonsense, you have to be able to be authentic, you need to be able to be posting things, which are objectively valuable.

It's also very difficult to delegate if you're the thought leader of a SaaS product, or you are the thought leader of a tech business. In my experience, you can't outsource, you can't delegate it because it's like it's in your head as the thought leader or as the business person. My question here is, how do you navigate that when you've got a founder who's already working 18 hour days and now you're telling him or her they've got to be on LinkedIn?You've got to come up with content - your company might help with the content schedule or the calendar, but how do you navigate this because I don't think you can do it for them? Maybe I'm wrong, talk to me about that.

Azadeh Williams> Interestingly, we regularly work on LinkedIn personal pages on behalf of CEOs and executives, they give us their login and we manage and post on their behalf, particularly if it's, for example, a 10 week go to market campaign or something that's linked to a wider campaign. It's not sustainable or scalable to do that in the long term, but for short term campaigns, we have done this. 

But what we provide is LinkedIn executive leadership training. We provide executives with a simple workshop to give them all the tools they need to cut downtime to post and manage their own profiles. You don't have to post every day, you only need to post three times a week, but those posts need to be of a higher value. We teach them the cadence of what should be posted and we help create the content where relevant and also make sure it's authentic of their voice.

To find out how to unlock the value of your marketing and media mix, contact AZK Media. 

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Genres: Storytelling

AZK Media, Mon, 17 May 2021 08:59:00 GMT