To say that emerging businesses have their plates full and then some is an understatement. We get it — things are moving quickly and there’s more to do than you can possibly handle. Given how much there is to do and how few resources there are to get it all done, emerging businesses often have to do things “quick and dirty.”
In this environment, marketing is typically one of the areas that gets pushed to the side in favor of more mission critical efforts. On the one hand, it makes sense — you need to get your core competency nailed down, as that is really the bread and butter of your business. But on the other hand, there’s no such thing as “if you build it, they will come.” You can spend all your time developing an amazing product or service, but that doesn’t do your business any good if no one knows about it. As a result, even though marketing is something that can easily seem like a “phase two” endeavor for emerging businesses, it’s something that very much needs to be present from the start.
Top Strategies to Get Marketing Off the Ground in Emerging Businesses
Ultimately, marketing is critical for emerging businesses to establish a brand identity, get their name out, understand what customers want and how to engage with them and begin to acquire those customers.
That said, emerging businesses are typically tighter on resources and time than most organizations, making it critical to invest in marketing wisely. So what exactly is the best way for emerging businesses to approach marketing? Consider these seven strategies:
- Build an infrastructure: It might seem unnecessary to implement marketing technology like a CRM system, marketing automation platform and social media management program when you’re small and don’t have the time and resources to manage them fully, but that’s actually the best time to get started. Building the right infrastructure from the start will save you from a massive headache that will come later on if you try to retrofit scattered information into an organized format. Additionally, it is exactly this infrastructure that will help your marketing efforts mature and grow quickly when the time is right.
- Know when to ask for help: Limited time and resources are something that every emerging business needs to make work, and in this type of environment there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. When it comes to marketing, consider opportunities to augment your own team with external resources that can help scale your growth and build the the right infrastructure so that as your entire business grows and matures, your marketing team is not scrambling to catch up (or, worse yet, holding you back).
- Get to know your customers: Customers are the single most important part of any business and marketing is often their first interaction with your company. As a result, it’s important that you have a strategy for engaging with customers from the very beginning. Part of this strategy should be getting to know your customers as well as you can so that you can build all of your marketing messages, designs and tactics around what they want. Establishing close relationships with these early adopters can prove very beneficial in the long run. And perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for their feedback.
- Develop your marketing persona: What is the look and feel of your company? What is your brand’s voice? These are critical questions to answer, as you need a distinct marketing persona to ensure consistency throughout everything you do to communicate with customers across channels. Ultimately, this persona is how customers will come to identify your company, and, if you get it right, it can go a long way toward setting you apart in the market.
- Identify your influencers: Influencer marketing is one of the top marketing strategies across the board right now, and it can prove particularly powerful for emerging businesses. Whether your influencers are well-known and well-respected individuals in your field or early customers who are willing to advocate on behalf of your company, identify who they are and build a relationship with them. Once you’ve established a relationship, you can begin to lean on them to expand your reach and earn the trust of prospective customers.
- Experiment: In today’s fast-paced world, trends come and go quite a lot. For example, what works on social media today might not work two months from now, and it’s often those who experiment with something new that get the biggest wins of them all. That said, it can sometimes prove risky for established brands to experiment too much or hop on the bandwagon of the latest trend, as doing so might cause them to stray too far from a deeply ingrained marketing persona. Emerging businesses, on the other hand, have more freedom to experiment since they are not yet constrained by such a well known persona. As a result, when it comes to experimenting, the risk is typically far lower and the reward can be far higher for emerging businesses compared to most other organizations.
- Start reporting: Finally, it’s never too early to look at the data. While it might seem unnecessary to capture early numbers (and even discouraging at times as you’re still ramping up), in the long run those early numbers will help you tell an amazing story about your growth. And even in the short term, reporting on marketing performance can help clue you in on big wins to let you know that you’re getting something right and should continue down that path. Most importantly, reporting early on helps establish the infrastructure that you need to grow and mature your efforts over time.
No Matter the Size, Marketing Matters
It’s easy for emerging businesses to sweep marketing under the rug and come back to it when more time and resources are available. And while you might get by in the short term with this strategy, it will hamper your efforts down the line.
As it turns out, setting a marketing strategy early on is important for emerging businesses to establish an identity, get to know customers, expand reach and, most critically, build an infrastructure that can support fast-paced growth. Although it might seem daunting, the results are well worth the effort. Most importantly, enlisting the right help can go a long way toward making this type of marketing as minimally intensive as possible for resource-strapped emerging businesses.