Marketing for non-marketeers, lesson 1
Good marketing requires a black-box of arcane knowledge and magic spells – or does it? No, despite what many marketing folks would like you to believe, it does not. While marketing can seem mysterious, it really comes down to a few key tactics. Even in today’s hurricane of ever changing social media, the fundamentals still apply, and the challenge can be boiled down to manageable chunks.
The start-up engineer entrepreneur has a few more challenges than an established business has. First, the language and lingo commonly associated with marketing are so different than what is spoken in the engineering lab. Second, as an early stage start-up entrepreneur, you typically don’t have the money required for a solid marketing campaign.
At the most basic level, marketing is the process of describing what you do, to people who need what you do. To describe it, you need to translate from your language into their language. You also need to concern yourself with the presentation of that information. That doesn’t mean form takes precedence over function. What it means is that both form and function are important, and form cannot get in the way of function. It’s common to hear that spelling and punctuation don’t matter in the technology world; just the message matters. But, one only need spend a few minutes online to see how fast your audience can get distracted by “there” vs. “they’re.” Once that happens, you are no longer communicating. Your message is lost.
You need to find those people who need what you do or have. You need to find them, understand them, and go where they are. What do your customers read? Where do they read it? Do they talk amongst themselves about the sort of thing you do? Do they make the buying decision, or just give recommendations. A good example if this challenge is the example of children’s products. The child doesn’t buy it. The parent does. The child recommends it (sometimes quite loudly), so who do you need to market to? In the business world, this pairing is often an engineer and a purchasing agent with an approved vendor list. Engineers and purchasing agents speak a different language; have vastly different interests, and read different web sites Which do you need to sell to?