A startup is a company designed to grow fast. And in this growth objective, it surpasses multiple stages of evolution to evolve into a stable established entity. Effective marketing plays a key role in this evolution. At every stage, there exist fundamental questions which need to be solved & require a change in marketing plans to scale ahead.
During the Ideation & Conception Stage
Every startup begins with an idea that requires market validation against a target demographic. Given limited funds, the idea is always to pick a small target niche & deliver exceptional value to educate & engage. This niche subset of users ensures greater focus & requires teams to drill down deeply into the behaviour patterns of their target group to smartly reach them.
Niches can be identified by constraining one’s reach to a specific city/neighbourhood, particular age group, gender & life event. The key question remains, how to reach this niche. For example, a hyperlocal grocery startup, identifies working professionals – primarily men as their initial niche to reach out to. In doing so, it targets an IT Tech Park neighborhood such as Gurgaon , and chooses to advertise in local cinema theatres and corporate park lobbies/ elevators. The challenge to make key-relevant decisions lies in being aware of every media option available to cater to their audience niche & execute on the same, within a startup’s limitation of budget & time – this requirement is ideally self-served via an online platform.
At the Commitment and Validation Stage
Having validated the idea with the target niche, the startup now expands to serving a larger audience pool and is all set to achieve the product-market fit. The requirement at this stage is to target more mainstream media options that could still give a more localised reach to the advertiser. Hence, for a hyperlocal grocery, having proven the model for Gurgaon, the goal exists to validate the business through all of Delhi NCR – which needs to be reached via Newspapers, Radio, Regional TV en masse. In doing so, any marketing plan is vetted against key performance metrics to establish a decent ROI. While digital marketing is inherently performance driven, the challenge remains to emulate similar measures towards mass-media campaigns catered to reach the larger “offline” audience pool.
Given that ad inventory is perishable, the same ad space gets sold at different prices to different advertisers. Any ROI driven mass-media plan starts with optimizing the price at which the ad inventory gets sold. In order for an advertiser to pay the lowest cost – he needs to be self aware of historic trending prices, understand lean-buying seasons & validate Ad quotes across multiple agencies. The bounty of this effort on working with a track-record driven media buying agency, often results in savings of over 65% on standard card rates which publishers tend to share.
In addition to cost, choice of the right media and message is as critical. Hence, understanding customer behavior patterns for consuming media help decide which Newspaper Supplement , TV Channel or Radio Station reaches the target audience better.
Scaling and Establishing Leadership
Having attained the product market fit besides establishing key ROI indicators – the startup is set to obtain funds to exponentially scale its operations nationwide. Marketing evolves from being local & ROI driven to now encompassing National Reach & the necessity to establish awareness via branding.
At a point when branding and building awareness is the central marketing premise, a startup needs innovative media planning that cuts through the clutter of daily advertisements. The media agency ought to be one that studies companies and their media campaigns and is thereby in a position to inform a startup on innovative media options besides sharing relevant insights. For example, TV Advertising which earlier proved expensive at a local level, now appears cost-effective nationally in its promise to deliver awareness across boundaries.
Ability to understand customers’ online behavior to identify offline preferences, insights on tracking competitors’ media spends besides tracking responses of campaigns – stand as a key in the right media agency partner out to execute on this promise of providing your startup national reach.
Your Ideal Marketing Partner
A startup is permanently transitioning itself across stages. As evident, the key challenges which need to be addressed require unique innovative solutions by a partner that understands the business & the target customer the company is out to reach. The right media-buying agency must also evolve itself to continue to service its client as it expands its operations So next time you plan a campaign, think before you leap. Choosing the right partner makes more difference than you probably think.
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