A Startup Marketing Checklist for ’13

marketing checklistFor those of you who believe in New Year’s resolutions, there’s no better time for startups to have a strong grasp of their marketing goals for 2013. Here are five tips for making sure you have the right approach to jump-start growth.

1. Commit yourself to marketing. It’s not an after-thought or something that will happen after there’s sales traction. Marketing has to be baked into your business plan as much as development and sales activity. And stop thinking about marketing as a cost because it only shows a lack of understanding of what marketing can achieve.

2. Know thyself, what your company does and how it meets the needs of customers. Otherwise known as core messaging, it’s the foundation for how the business operates and carves out a competitive edge. A failure to have a clear vision can make a company vulnerable and unable to take advantage of new and different opportunities.

3. Have a strategic and tactical implementation plan. This means having a strong grasp of your goals, objectives and success benchmarks. As important, it provides a company with a clear idea of what needs to be done and the resources needed to make it happen.

4. Be super-clear about your target audiences. Who are the people who need to hear about your company and products? Who’s your core customer, and what can you do to make them look like heroes? Where and how do they consume information? What is their buying behaviour?

5. Make sure your product delights. It’s not just about bells and whistles but delivering a product or service that meets the needs of customers elegantly, simply, quickly or effectively. This can include the sales funnel, the buying process and post-sales customer management. Any touch point should be positive and delightful.

6. Provide 360° customer service. It’s important not to forget that your customers can become powerful marketing vehicles that can spread the word to new places. As a result, you need to not only keep them happy but continually arm them with new information that will keep and spark their interest in your product.

More: Here’s an Entrepreneur story on the importance of including marketing within a business plan.

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  • Ruth Zive

    Regarding #4 – I don’t think it’s enough (from a marketing point of view) to know your audience. You have to understand their pain points and than align your value proposition with their needs and interests. You may have your target markets identified – but the gold is in crafting messaging/content that will resonate meaningfully.