When you are struggling to launch a business, marketing seems like just another expensive obstacle toward achieving your goal. Yet, more accurately, marketing could mean the difference between a successful startup and a total flop. Instead of mindlessly throwing money at online ad space, you should think more critically about your marketing campaign, especially at this early and crucial period of your business’s life.
Inspiration rarely comes from nothing. If you need some help developing a marketing concept that packs a punch, consider any of the following campaigns that put other startups on the map.
Mint is an invaluable, free, personal financial service for consumers eager for a better overall picture of their financial situation. Today, Mint is owned by Intuit, the financial software behemoth, but back when it started, Mint was a small fish in a well-populated pond. To make a name for itself, Mint launched a massive digital marketing campaign that offered consumers hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of content about anything and everything personal finance. As a result, consumers searching for information about p-fin always encountered Mint’s assets, and most went on to engage with Mint’s product.
The takeaway: By flooding with web with high-quality content on a niche subject, you can force your audience to find your brand — even if you are a brand-new startup in a competitive market. However, if you are going to go whole-hog into content marketing, you will need an experienced partner, like Digital Current, to keep you organized and on-track.
Dollar Shave Club
Despite the blades on its product, the razer industry wasn’t well-known for cutting-edge marketing practices — until Dollar Shave Club. Competing with big names in razers, like Bic and Gillette, Dollar Shave Club came out the gate swinging with a launch video jam-packed with facts about their products and services woven between uproariously funny scenes and statements. In a matter of days, Dollar Shave Club gained millions of views, subscribers and subscriptions.
The takeaway: Just because your industry is boring doesn’t mean your marketing materials need to be dull and drab. Deviating from the norm can be exceedingly profitable, as long as your target market is receptive to fun and flashy marketing.
It’s hard to imagine a startup or small business functioning today without Slack, but the truth is that this collaboration tool got its start less than six years ago. Their spectacular rise is largely due to their emphasis on high-quality customer relations. Today, with over 10 million daily users to contend with, Slack makes responding to help desk tickets a priority, with the result that the company solves user problems at an astonishing rate. Instead of investing heavily in other marketing, Slack uses its Wall of Love on Twitter to let happy customers do the legwork for them.
The takeaway: If you can make a product or service that functions as a true solution — and if you can make your customers exceedingly happy — you can slash your marketing budget. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing is more effective than any other strategy, so focusing on this could work wonders for your startup.
More and more, it is looking like electric vehicles are the future of the automobile industry — and that is entirely thanks to Tesla. However, when it first launched, Tesla had an overwhelming amount of stigma to overcome. Just a few years ago, most people thought of electric vehicles as slow, ugly and boring, not to mention inaccessible. Through innovative product designs and engagement with audiences on social media, Tesla made electric cars seem cool without spending hardly any budget on marketing in their early days. This is due in large part to the popularity of Elon Musk, Tesla’s energetic CEO who despite recently having his Twitter privileges limited has amassed a huge following of loyal devotees.
The takeaway: Engaging and congenial leaders within your startup — yourself included — should take to social media to talk about your business and products. And again, you shouldn’t be afraid to defy consumer expectations and deliver a product that is different in a good way.
It’s hard to do something new and different, but it is necessary to be innovative and unique to give your startup a push in the right direction. Every startup needs a good story, and it is up to you to devise the right one for you.