It’s certainly not for the lack of motivation or enthusiasm that many new entrepreneurs fall short in their new endeavors. No, when it comes to launching their businesses, there’s one area they most often get wrong — and that’s marketing.
Ok, let’s be honest, marketing is a challenge even for established businesses. Even those who think they have a plan often fall short when it comes to implementing it successfully. And most of the reasons why businesses fail ultimately come back to marketing. How do I know this? Because most of you reading this right now are probably living, breathing examples that new entrepreneurs always get it wrong… You’re probably thinking something like, “Paul, how can running Facebook ads be the one thing that everyone gets wrong?!” Or “We’ve tried blogging and it doesn’t work,” or even “Why would new entrepreneurs be marketing anyway? They’re just starting out.” And you’d have proven my theory correct. Most entrepreneurs (and business owners) associate marketing with what’s done to promote what they’re offering and to get customers. And because most do this, most fail; and thus it’s the one thing that most get wrong.
MARKETING IS THE WORK OF THE MARKET:
- Studying the history of the industry
- Modeling potential customers
- Identifying and engaging efforts to raise capital
- Evaluating competitors
- Determining competitive advantages
- Interviewing potential customers, partners, and employees
- Figuring out if the business needs to advertise and how to do that
- Designing a product people want
- Pricing products or services in a way that will attract customers and create referrals
PUT ANOTHER WAY, MARKETING COMES DOWN TO THE CLASSIC “FOUR P’S”:
These basic ideas are still valid today, but they have also evolved to include a few new concepts brought about by modern technology. But the methodology is still the same: all must work in concert with one another, not just focusing on the concept of promote, rinse, repeat. It’s important to have a solid idea of exactly what you’re trying to sell, how you’re going to sell it, and who you’re going to sell it too before you sit down and craft the message itself. Anyone and everyone will most likely not be in your target market.
Marketing helps to determine your method and if you need to do Google AdWords or hire for Sales.
MARKETING IS NOT DOING ADWORDS ITSELF.
Marketing is a determining whether or not you have to physically sell your product in a store or sell it online. Is it a tangible thing or a service that you offer?
For the above reasons (among others), economists earlier in this century were stating the idea that marketing was the most important thing a business does. It is the actual work that creates the value.
For example, Apple sells subpar laptops and smartphones at a premium rate… how do they do this? Are they good at sales? Do they have a superior product? Not necessarily. There are phones and laptops out there that perform far better (and cost less).
How, then do they attract so many customers? Because of marketing.
They know who will pay for a superior brand. They know why they’ll pay. They also know how to sway them, how to serve them. Marketing gives Apple the know-how to sell a phone that’s roughly the equivalent of what you can expect from another brand for $100, but at an inflated price of $700.
As an entrepreneur, the very definition of your title is based on marketing. Entrepreneurs constantly recognize and identify needs and gaps in the market, and create resources to satisfy these needs. They are the opportunists.
SO, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT IF YOU AREN’T MAKING THE ACTUAL MARKETING PROCESS THE PRIORITY?
Duly noted, how will you do that if you assume that marketing on its foundation just means posting on Facebook, being a YouTube celebrity, tweeting, or buying Instagram ads? The way a successful entrepreneur determines what to do is by marketing.
To do it successfully, you can listen to advice from business experts and established entrepreneurs (Gary Vee, anyone?) when they break it down and tell you that the most important thing is to talk to your customers, plan a budget, get to know investors who can help you, test your MVP, or seek out a co-founder. But these all come down to one thing.
YOU GUESSED IT: MARKETING.
Marketing is the work of narrowing down your specific target, niche, and creating value in it, by designing a business around it and a market strategy that works.
Most entrepreneurs get this wrong the first time because they aren’t always taught that marketing is all-encompassing. It’s research and measurement, it’s knowing the why, and the who, the when and where. Most entrepreneurs just build something, or post something, or plan something… and they try launching it. They test it. They validate it.
And while they are doing all of the things that they ‘think’ they should be doing, while spinning their wheels, their competitor is doing the actual work that makes up the foundation of marketing. They’re out there figuring out how to be the next Apple or Coca-Cola while you’re toiling away, hoping and wishing to bring in some customers, make some money, and maybe negotiate your way to something better years down the road. And this is why you need to focus on marketing.