Bank of America Merrill Lynch – Global Transactions STOR ...Read More »
Lessons for Entrepreneurs #2: Develop a Real Marketing Strategy
An ad hoc marketing strategy is a makeshift unstructured document or set of documents that the entrepreneur hopes will (at best) enable an improvised reaction to external conditions.
A “Real” (non- ad hoc) Marketing Strategy requires a significant and disciplined investment in time and financial resources to develop.
Generally speaking, there are two key components of a Marketing Strategy. The Situation Analysis, which is a document comprised of the “reasoning” behind launching your product and company. The entrepreneur will conduct (or commission) research that provides data and information about the cultural, economic, demographic, technological, and political and other external forces that will have an impact on your product.
The other key component is the Marketing Plan itself, which presents the goals and objectives along with the strategies, and tactics to achieve them, for a specific timeframe (typically one year). Each plan is different and unique… and no plan is executed without mid-course changes and corrections. However, in general terms, the nucleus of most marketing plans derives from the answers to the below questions…
•What business objectives do you expect to achieve?
•What exactly do you sell?
•Who are your customers?
•Why should they buy your product or service rather than your competitors’?
•How will you communicate your product or service to your customers?
•How are you going to measure your progress so you can glean data and information from the experience?
Many entrepreneurial ventures will have deficiencies or weaknesses in one or two (or more) of these areas, which is of course why many entrepreneurs unfortunately - and erroneously – might try to make themselves (and their investors/customers/employees) feel better by relying on an ad hoc marketing plan.
Creativity, passion and even a little bit of self-delusion are absolutely all crucial for creating a successful startup, however, deemphasizing or ignoring marketing challenges won’t defy the harsh reality of the marketplace.