Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The core elements of marketing have never really changed.

By Mark Helfen

If you want a product to succeed in the market, you need to focus rigorously on segmentation, create a value proposition, and communicate with your market. Which means that you need to understand your customers.

Or so says Guy Smith, Principal at Silicon Strategies Marketing, a consultancy that helps companies that “reduce the risk of failure and maximize market penetration.” His focus is on “everything to the left of go-to-market,” and keeping his clients from making “classic, colossal mistakes” – not understanding the value of their product to potential customers.

Smith will be speaking at the November 12 SVForum Marketing SIG with a talk titled Start-up CEO’s Marketing Myopia – How to lead marketing without being a guru.

He is the author of the Start-up CEO's Marketing Manual, and will have a few copies with him that he will give away for the best questions asked.

A lot of product developers believe in the “better mousetrap theory,” the idea that a cool piece of technology will sell itself and be used by “everybody.” Smith doesn’t buy into this, and instead preaches the “rigors of segmentation" – clearly identifying your customers, understanding their needs and interests, and how your product will make their life better. To do this, you need to talk to customers and go outside your perceptions.

(As an aside to this, your blogger recently heard a presentation from Daniel Russell who is the “Uber Tech Lead” for Google search. He explained that it’s impossible to find the kind of average or typical user that Google needs as test subjects for their newest developments here in the valley – they need to go to such exotic locales as Stockton or Modesto to find more “normal” people. )

“Most founders don’t understand most of the value of their product,” said Smith.

He has sat on both sides of VC pitch panels, and claims that many entrepreneurs are missing fully half of everything they need to start and have a chance of succeeding.

There are three key items to give your startup a chance – money, a realistic plan to reach your market, and time to execute your plan.

The plan starts with a value proposition – back to the marketing basics – and the evening will give some guidance into creating one. You don’t need to be a “marketing guru,” you need to understand what you know and don’t know about marketing discipline.

So given the current thinking how does social media help in this? It can certainly help with communications, but “there’s no magic,” nothing happens by itself.

So come by on November 12. You might win a book. And some guidance in how to start a process of market segmentation and developing a value proposition.

The core elements of marketing have never really changed.

Please sign up at our meetup site to help us get an accurate count for the eventing - thanks.



Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

He can be reached at: mhelfen@wordpixel.com
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/markhelfen
Facebook: facebook.com/mark.helfen
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mark_helfen


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