6 Key Marketing Lessons for Those Getting Started: Part 1
Marketing is tricky: the more you know about it, the harder it is to figure out. From the outside, marketing often seems like a breeze. However, when you do marketing for a living, you spend your days trying to make sense of something that feels like it's constantly out of your reach.
My endeavors in marketing, including my companies Boxie and Brandcrafty, have taken me on an adventure. Every day brings a new challenge. At this point, many of the problems I face are familiar acquaintances. However, even though I’ve been at this for 10 years, nothing is ever easy.
During my time as a marketer, I’ve seen what has worked for us — and what hasn’t. The purpose of this article series is to share my biggest learnings with those who are only getting started. Lessons I’ve learned about customer acquisition, recruitment and constant improvement that are useful for marketing novices. Two of my learning points will also cater to the less tech-savvy, focusing on websites and measuring success online.
Let’s get started!
LESSON 1: Marketing is not an afterthought.
Marketing is not something you switch on when everything else is ready. Entrepreneurs with finished products have come to me and asked “so, can we start marketing now?” In some cases that light bulb doesn’t even go off. Products are stacked in their finished packaging, left waiting for customers who will eventually find them when they realize they need them. Which rarely happens.
When should you start marketing? Well, quite frankly, as soon as you go into business. As an entrepreneur with a new product idea, your first question should always be: who am I selling this to? Who wants it? If you’re creating a product that speaks to no one, there seems to be little reason in creating the product in the first place.
In an ideal world, marketing precedes product development. That may sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways to test your ability to sell a product. One of the most classical examples is running a test campaign and driving traffic to a landing page. Let’s assume you have a smoke detector company. On your landing page, you can ask people if they would like to buy your new smoke detector. Someone clicks on yes and gets told they are on a waiting list. Over at your company, an engineer starts working.
Marketing goes hand-in-hand with product launches, but should not be dropped the minute you reach your first sales goal. Like I mentioned before, it’s not an on/off switch. Marketing always has a role to play. You don’t stop budgeting when you are in the black; similarly, you shouldn’t stop marketing when you are making sales. Marketing creates that initial interest, but it also keeps your customers active. After all, you want them to keep coming back. Especially if you are a subscription-based service.
We’ve established that you should never stop marketing. But how do you do it right? In the following posts, I will share thoughts on what has worked for us and, more interestingly, what hasn’t. Stay tuned for more.