The key differentiator between two startups is pace. Things need to be done at a faster pace for startups to be competitive against large companies. And, in order to react to market conditions and changing consumer trends, startups today rely heavily on data analytics. The power of being able to gather, identify, understand and execute upon patterns of data is critical for long-term success of companies as well as for advancement of humanity.
Any organization can leverage the exponential data growth but size is on the side of smaller businesses that are perfectly suited to act on data-derived insights with speed and efficiency, unlike large organizations that are often less nimble and hindered by clunky, legacy IT infrastructure. All that’s required is somebody in the business that understands two key fundamentals: data analytics and data science.
For example, for a startup organization, product marketing act as a growth catalyst in establishing brand value in the market, which is very costly and usually eats up a huge part of the budget.
However, while a business can be built on a combination of inspiration and perspiration, being able to manage analyses and interpret data requires a very specific skill set that will actually enable innovation and drive it forward. From predicting and reducing churn to winning business from new and existing customers, the opportunities are endless.
Data Analytics can help startups in identifying and reaching out the right target market for launching product(s) and providing better return on the marketing investments. Moreover, it can also help in understanding the customer needs and leveraging their requirements for designing or updating offerings.
Advertising and marketing without data based insight are akin to trying to hit a target in an unfamiliar dark room with only 2 to 3 bullets in your gun. While Big Data science is evolving, and is not fully precise, it does tell you the direction in which to shoot, so that your probability of hitting the target is higher.
Whether you are looking for funding, thinking about the best way to deploy your latest round of investment or a scale up looking to fuel growth, here’s five quick ways analytics and data science can help you:
Evidence-based decision making: One of the rarest commodities when a business is in the growth stages is time. Decisions are taken in days, sometimes hours that in more established organizations would take months. Young businesses especially spend most of their early stage time probing the market and looking for the right product offering to execute upon. Unlike an established company, one mistake can cost its future so having a data scientist on board is the key to being able to gather and analyses data from multiple channels to mitigate risk and improve decision making.
Test your decisions: Making decisions and implementing change is only half of the battle; it’s vital to know how those changes affect the company. A data scientist can measure key metrics related to important changes and quantify their success (or lack thereof) so that learnings are made and substantiated when it comes to playing back results to investors and moving the business forward.
Perfecting the target audience: Everything from social media profiles to website visitor reports contains data which can help a startup pinpoint its target audience – and therefore target them more effectively. Even if it has gone as far as roughly identifying its demographics, a data scientist can identify key groups with laser precision through careful analysis of disparate data sources. This in-depth knowledge can help tailor products and services to key customer groups.
Making use of the information: Data has to be at the fingertips of every decision-maker, which are usually most people in the business at its early-stage. This is reflected in the data science and analytics space right now with predictive modelling and machine learning both attracting huge amounts of interest – a sentiment underlined by the recent acquisitions of DeepMind. It is not hard to see why when this particular type of data management enables real-time responsiveness when it comes to translating the raw data into insights, which can be transformed into actionable applications to propel business growth.
Here is something many entrepreneurs need to understand when it comes to marketing: there is no such thing as guaranteed results.
There are too many factors about your marketing campaign that no one can control. Among them, there is the behavior of the overall market, competitive pricing, demand for offers like yours, current events, and others.
It would be anti-ethical for any marketing agency or freelancer to guarantee ABC results if you invest XYZ amount of money. But it does not mean that there are not ways to get the most out of your marketing budget (according to the circumstances).
Here are seven ways you can maximize your marketing efforts – whether we are in a recession or a booming period.
Do Not Confuse Marketing with Networking
If you are marketing your business, you need to understand the difference between connecting and communicating with your community and sharing / promoting your business.
Do not take to social media or networking events to present your sales pitch right away. People do not like it when you sell stuff to them. Instead, connect first by hearing about their problems, and communicate with them in ways they can solve those problems.
There will be time for you to promote and share on social media and at networking events. But you need to build a relationship first. That way, your audience would not feel like you are selling to them, but that they are taking advice. Because they trust you.
I am a firm believer in A/B testing. It is the best way to keep your marketing campaigns rolling and not waste your budget.
You do not want to throw money away with marketing that is not appealing to your market. That is why it is imperative that you constantly test your letters, ads, and emails to see what is getting the attention of the market, and what is persuading them into buying.
Cut What Does Not Work
Once you start testing your marketing efforts, you will know what to keep and what to drop.
You do not need to be everywhere at once. You need to be where your market wants you to be.
Do not waste your time on Facebook if the people are not responding. Stop sending letters if there are no sales coming from them. And please, do not waste two million dollars on a TV spot that won’t produce any ROI.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
I believe both inbound and outbound marketing have a place and are beneficial to every business. But they have their place in the marketing process.
Outbound marketing should be the focus when you are starting out. You need to let people know that you are there to help them. Thus, you should be sending emails, making phone calls, and making the first step to connect with the market.
Once you have set up a reputation for your business, then inbound marketing takes over. Because people will be looking for you. They will look at your website, your blog, and your social media channels.
So, do not disregard either marketing strategy. Just place them correctly according to the level of growth of your business. Outbound marketing when you are looking to prove yourself, and inbound marketing when you have an established name in the market.
Cold Calling as a Marketing Tactic
Most people are afraid of cold calling. Honestly, I believe “terrified” is a more proper term.
That is the reason many dismiss this tactic from their marketing strategy. But I think cold calling is as practical a marketing tactic as any of the others.
You need to make that first connection. And if the market is not coming to you, you might as well go to them.
And cold calling is not as bad as people make it out to be.
All you need is a good script and some thick skin (to handle rejection). And after a couple of times doing it, you will feel comfortable approaching targets and converting them into leads.
You can divide any marketing campaign into three facets: strategy, content, and design.
If you have experience in marketing planning, website design, and copy and content writing – then, by all means, go for it. Although I would recommend getting a critique from a professional on each, just to go safely.
But, if you are marketing your business, and have no prior planning, writing, or designing experience, your best bet is to hire professionals for each endeavor. They will know what to do to present your product in the most appealing way possible to your market.
There is also the choice of learning things yourself, but if time is not on your side, then I suggest hiring the professionals anyway until you can take over after getting some marketing seasoning.
Plan Your Marketing
You might have expected this to be tip number one. But I wanted to make sure you understood some things before we got into time management.
But now that we got the small details explained, here is a template to develop a weekly marketing schedule:
Mondays: Market research to find targets
Wednesdays: Content marketing
Fridays: Website updates
Every day: Networking on Twitter and LinkedIn
Make sure to separate (at least) an hour every workday to do your marketing. You can perform a marketing task each day to keep your efforts moving. Also, make room for at least half an hour of networking – online or in person.