Marketing seems to be the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs today! Over the last few months I have been conducting day long workshops across India on ‘Getting to Market’ for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The last one was in Kolkata this weekend and we had close to 50 active participants in the room. The session started on time, had reduced break times and was extended in the evening by an hour. Why so much interest in marketing? And, the answer is direct – all of these entrepreneurs had capacity but not sales and in some cases almost no sales. Dangerous situation!
Marketing is a subject that raises lots of interest amongst entrepreneurs but most do nothing about it seriously. By the time they start doing something about it, many are in desperate situations to makes revenue, hence aggressive sales is what happens! This may lead to a spike in sales, but will eventually settle down. It is not sustainable.
Entrepreneurs need to understand that marketing is an important function of the enterprise. It requires resource allocation and constant monitoring. It requires well thought out, coordinated actions. It requires investment beyond money: time, effort, creativity, and stories worth talking about.
Marketing for an entrepreneurial firm is much different than it is for mature businesses. This is because there is supposedly something new and unique about the product or the firm. The newness / uniqueness should be used to help people identify the start-up, thereby becoming discovered. Great businesses are found, they are discovered, not just by venture capitalists and angels, but by customers. They help the start-up with unsolicited marketing (word of mouth). This is because they see value clearly, they see pride in association, they see smartness in sharing this information, they gain some social currency for having discovered and recommended a new / unique solution.
Hence any marketing that an entrepreneur does should involve enabling customers to do the above easily. They should help right customers find them easily. They should give them messages that are worth sharing easily. They should give them tools and techniques to spread the message amongst their networks easily. If we can enable all of this through our marketing activities, business begins to come our way.
Think about it!