“How and when should I start marketing?” Many companies and new entrepreneurs can easily get hung up on that question. Whether it refers to determining when to start marketing your product or service to customers, or figuring out the correct market in which to launch, the following 4 steps will help guide your through the process.
- Product Knowledge
You need to frame the product/technology as it relates to your proposed product timeline and evaluate what stage it currently resides. Doing so defines the timing of when you should go to market and who would be the ideal target within each of the product’s stages.
If you aren’t sure where your product stands, consider the following points:
- Are the primary features still being developed?
- Are there enough features to let someone test and give meaningful feedback?
- Are you ready to present your product and find a first beta tester or even customer?
- Where does your product reside in the product life cycle? Each of these stages varies in length and directly affects how you market and what your timing is.
- 1. Development
- 2. Introduction
- 3. Growth
- 4. Maturity
- 5. Decline
Product knowledge will assist you with your marketing messaging as well as increasing your competitiveness within the market place.
- Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy should plan out the approach you will take to reach potential prospects. Define your target audience and know the best marketing medium, channel and budget for each persona.
Your marketing strategy needs to include the following elements:
- Product & Consumer
- Price & Costs
- Place & Convenience
- Promotion & Communication
Also consider these points when building your marketing plan:
- Who your product or service will serve
- Where to reach these people
- How to reach these people
- How to best do the above given the resources you have
- Competitive Landscape
To be successful and truly stand out to your target audience, it is crucial to have a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape. Figure out who the top competitors are, along with their value proposition and core messaging. Can your product or service thrive in the market place? All products, services and companies have competitors so be sure you conduct due diligence. I recommend starting with some web searches then building from there.
After you have developed your marketing strategy and understand the positioning of your product in it’s competitive landscape, the final component is to define the messaging. Your messaging is the compilation of the first 3 steps, but positioned in a compelling manner. It must be creative, catchy, engaging, memorable and most of all convert-able (leading to new business). If you are to be successfully noticed by a prospect, your messaging must be timely, relevant, and personalized.
Provide value and think about your unique value proposition. Consider the use of comparative language. Are you faster, bigger, sleeker, or cheaper? Your product knowledge, market strategy and competitive knowledge should help you to create messaging that will engage your target audience.
The 4 steps I’ve outlined will help you determine when or how you should market your new product or concept. It should begin developing an actionable marketing strategy that will allow you to under stand your product/service and it’s target audience. This also includes conducting market and competitor research as well as creating engaging messaging. These tips will allow you to properly plan your strategy and execution, which will be the key to your success.