After over two decades of experience marketing for start-ups, I can seem like a magician to others who want to know how to bring in serious results, but that sad truth still remains: magic isn’t real. While a great marketing plan can make a lot of difference, it’s not going to be the silver bullet that can fix anything.
Common start-ups issues like lack of name recognition, a bad sales cycle, or poor & incomplete products or services that don’t fully meet a market need are very hard to overcome.
Great marketing definitely helps, but those other issues need to be addressed and this isn’t an instant “Abra-cadabra!” and with one marketing campaign, everything is fixed. This is a hard-knock truth that can be shattering to startups hoping they’re just one hire, one consultant, one campaign from hitting their dreams and then some but it doesn’t quite work like that.
Understanding that no matter how good you are, you’re not magic, and being able to confidently explain what you can and can’t do in practical terms, takes away a lot of the unfair expectations and sets you on the path to a quality working relationship based in reality.
That being said, understanding a few of the better “marketing tricks” such as video animation can help make sure you get the most effective impact from your time and effort.
1: Limit the Number of Big Goals.
Too many goals lead to clutter, confusion, and overwhelm. You can’t do your best work with one of these, much less all three. Limit the number of big goals. In fact, many limit themselves to between 1-3 at a time.
For a true startup that might be building awareness and reputation. For a more established company, it might mean improving advertising and outreach. Keep things general, but narrow the focus in this step. Details come later.
2: But Also Visualise the Bigger “What if” Picture.
While narrowing focus on one or two main goals is crucial, that doesn’t mean you don’t look ahead at the larger picture. Visualising the ideal situation when you have the demand you want, the exposure you want, the customers you want is crucial. Because that paints the picture that allows you to work backwards.
Where your two main goals going forward meets the ideal situation working back, that’s where anything close to “magic” actually happens – and it only works if you’re taking care of both points.
3: Map Out Specific Tactics to Implement.
Every good plan not only needs a marketing strategy, but you need tactics to make sure you can implement that strategy. Tactics matter, and with hard work easily make up 90% of the marketing success in the world.
A great strategy is important, but what specific actions get you there? What needs to be done as far as tangible action to make sure that you are really working towards that visualised scenario where everything is glowing and perfect? Tactics are where marketers can often do the most work.
4: Don’t Shy Away From Honest Feedback.
Feedback isn’t always going to be rosy and in fact, often time’s honest feedback isn’t going to be glowing and often time’s negative feedback can be some of the best kind. Granted there is a lot of crap out there but if you can sift through that to see the genuine and honest feedback then you can really get a powerful marketing campaign going on for you and your business.
Follow these four pieces of advice, understand the difference between real “magic” and impossible expectations, and you’ll be on your way.