To many startups, marketing is a “necessary evil”. It is something they embrace after recognizing the time has come to tell their story to a wider audience, or do a better job of putting the spotlight on what they are doing and why more people should know about it.
But in many cases, the decision to do marketing – and I’m not talking about being on Twitter and Facebook – comes after a product has been developed and the sales pipeline is being ramped up or gaining traction.
So how does a startup know when they are ready for marketing? Here are five signs that it’s time to pull the trigger:
1. Your product is ready or about to be launched so it’s time to get out of stealth or low profile mode, and start getting the word out to target audiences: customers, partners, bloggers/media, investors. Keep in mind, you will need good stories to attract attention so work on creating them before turning on the marketing machine.
2. The company is ready for the spotlight. The founders/executives want to be out there spreading the word, the Website reflects what the company does and the benefits for users, and there’s a commitment to market on a consistent basis rather than just seeing as a one-off, let’s try to grab the spotlight activity.
3. There is an appreciation and understanding of what marketing can do and realistic expectations about the process, the goals and the resources required to make it happen.
4. There is budget for marketing. Whether it’s done internally or with external help, marketing requires money to account for the people, resources and content that needs to be part of the process. For startups, it means understanding marketing is more than having someone spend time on social media to publish tweets/updates and monitor activity.
5. Everyone’s on board. Marketing can be seen as a cost because it’s not about building product or having someone trying to make sales. It can be difficult to see the benefits and reasons to do it without seeing why it’s an integral part of a company’s development and evolution. As a result, everyone needs to get behind marketing and the people who will be driving it.
What do you think? What are the signals a startup is ready for marketing?