Q. I am taking on large competitors with a new business I'm launching. They have lots of resources to put towards advertising. How can I make my business cut through all their advert spend?
A. Know thy customer.
Every startup company is up against an incumbent or competitor with more resource, more people and more brand presence than them. By getting into the heads and hearts of your customer you can speak to them in a meaningful way with the marketing resources you do have.
If you target your customers with your hand on their head and heart you create your first tier of champions. They become your powerful weapon against big budget advertising.
The thing that will beat marketing dollars every time in terms of engaging new customers is the power of existing customers. No advertisement can speak louder than a customer who loves you shouting to their friends, family and networks about your amazing company.
Mimicking the reach and saturation of a major advert spend is hard to do but with the internet at your beck and call there are tools which allow you to spread the word without having to buy Superbowl adverts. Think social media, bloggers, online media, targeted online advertising. All of these cost less and can have great impact if done right. But remember nothing is completely free and any channel you are serious about should warrant as much time, resource and focus as you can muster.
If you are looking at channel or distribution partners to accelerate your product to market journey, they often have larger budgets and established marketing channels they can cut you into and create a splash as part of their role in growing your business.
You don't have the muscle of the big kids in your market so you have to be clever and appeal to people to do your marketing for you. If you are on the money in terms of delivering value to your customers, partners and investors, they should have every reason to sing from the rooftops about your business. Don't be shy to ask.
- Nick Churchouse is venture manager at Creative HQ, www.creativehq.co.nz
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