Your startup product or service won't sell by itself, no matter how good it is. You need a robust startup marketing plan to launch it in the market and acquire new customers. A marketing plan will help create product and brand awareness in the early stage of your business. Once your startup establishes a footprint in the market, a marketing plan will also go a long way in retaining the existing base while acquiring new customers.
Major Benefits of Startup Marketing Plan
Apart from customer acquisition and retention, a marketing plan brings a whole bevy of other benefits:
- Gives clarity on who you are and what you want to do with your business
- Enables ascertaining brand positioning and messaging
- Creates measurable business goals (for example, Rs5 million revenue generation in the first quarter)
- Benchmarks your startup’s performance against competitors
- Establishes credibility among investors for fundraising
Core Elements of Startup Marketing Plan
A marketing plan requires a strategic approach to make it successful. The foundation of a solid marketing plan rests on the pillars of the following core elements:
1. Target Audience Description in Detail
When you know the profile of the customers to serve, you can direct marketing efforts in the right direction. Define your target audience profile as minutely as possible based on the following factors:
- Demographic (age, gender, income, occupation)
- Geographic (zip code, city, country, climate)
- Psychographic (lifestyle, personality, values, interests, hobbies)
- Behavioural (purchase intention, social media use, mobile phone use)
Take the example of boAT, the consumer electronics startup, now the 5th largest wearable brand worldwide. It describes its target audience as millennials and cash-strapped tech-savvy consumers looking for trendy, quality, affordable audio products and accessories.
2. Competition Analysis
According to a report by the business analytics platform CB Insights, competition is among the top three reasons for the failure of startups. Therefore, competition analysis becomes a crucial element of the startup marketing plan.
Find out how the existing competitors are marketing their products on these parameters:
- Value proposition
- Social media presence
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – organic and paid keywords
- Offline events or campaigns
You can also do a ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats’ (SWOT) analysis of your competitors. This will help you to find your unique selling proposition against their strengths and threats and capitalise on their weaknesses and opportunities. Ensure your marketing plan isn’t a blind mimicry of your competitors.
If you have a first-mover advantage in the market, you should still know your potential competitors. Conduct research on startups working on a similar idea or have already developed a prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
3. Selection of the Proper Marketing Channels
The choice of marketing channels depends on where your customers want to see you and take action (buy, like, comment, share, sign up). For example, B2B customers are likelier to engage through LinkedIn content, webinars or trade shows. B2C customers prefer to connect with brands on social media, especially on Instagram and Facebook or through influencer marketing.
Make sure that you have a robust digital presence on social media channels. Statistics indicate that the number of social media users in India is equivalent to 33.4% of its total population. If you don’t leverage social media, you won’t be able to tap into a large customer base.
You can pick a mix of a few marketing channels for optimal results. Chaayos, the chai-café chain startup, publishes engaging content on social media channels and conducts offline promotional activities in offices, malls, etc.
4. Marketing Budget
Cash flow struggles are often typical for startups; you must make every penny count. So, a startup marketing plan may look great on paper, but it may fail if it doesn’t align with your budget.
Determine the amount of money you wish to spend on marketing. Depending on your marketing objectives, you can plan the budget for a quarter, six months or a year. It is also advisable to keep some extra cash reserves aside if you need to pivot your marketing strategy.
However, it makes good sense to begin with, organic marketing tactics such as:
- Social media content
- Case studies
- White papers
Monitor the insights of these tactics. You can then allot a budget to tactics that perform nicely and give you better market traction.
A startup marketing plan is a blueprint to reach your target audience and boost sales. However, remember that as your startup grows and evolves, you may need to tweak the marketing plan accordingly. Be ready to change it to meet the customer and market needs.
Scalix and its integrated platform to help startup founders and entrepreneurs with resources and networking can guide you in developing a winning marketing plan. You can also join our Early Founder Programme to get exclusive access to mentors in marketing, legal and human resource areas, startup boot camps and the investor community.