4 Things Every Young Entrepreneur Needs To Know About Marketing

Often we get marketing related questions from people wanting to start their own business. This blog is written for those young entrepreneurs. Share it with your friends who are starting their own business too.

When starting any kind of new business, it can be easy to get so focused on designing and developing your new product(s) or service(s) that “marketing” can take a back seat…which is sort of like opening a new restaurant without an “open” sign. No matter how great your new “thing” is, without marketing to attract new users, failure is almost certain. So, what are the basics your new company needs to get started?

1. A brand plan

As simple as it sounds, many start-ups fail to actually map out their brand – what they plan to communicate, the targets they hope to reach and channels they will need to use to get the message out there. A brand plan doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it should be taken as seriously as any other part of the business planning process. It should include a full competitive review and a user-needs summary that helps to demonstrate how your brand will reach users and potential buyers that is different from your competition.

2. A budget 

Again, sounds simple enough, but it’s shocking how few new businesses include “marketing” as a real investment spend in their business plans. And depending on your industry, that initial spend can be substantial – north of 25% of revenue for many industries.

A realistic view

Be realistic on what you can and will do yourself. You simply can not do everything “on your own”. We’ve all seen this in action – the new entrepreneur that thinks that “doing it all on our own” is the best way to either a) save money or b) ensure the owner has a “personality stamp” on the new business. This usually results in a web site built by the nephew in the basement or a company logo designed at the kitchen table by a spouse or significant other. Do It Yourself (DIY) is a common mantra for new businesses, but marketing is not a DIY-friendly discipline. For every clever company name or advertising idea that has truly organic roots, there are thousands of half-baked, semi-effective executions that litter new business graveyards. Worse yet, the effects of bad marketing are hard to reverse – changing the minds of your target consumers once they are made up is damn near impossible at any price.

3. Try to find a way to measure it

If you are going to do it, measure the results. Almost every new business can tell you what they spent on any given marketing program, but few can tell you what they got out of it. Literally anything a new business can do to quantify the effectiveness of their marketing spend is better than nothing – and it can be as simple as tracking normal activities in the context of marketing efforts. If store traffic spikes after a local advertising effort or if web traffic goes up after a social media post or a trade show visit, there’s a likely connection. It just takes a deliberate approach to benchmarking user activities and mapping changes to marketing efforts.

4. Find the right partner

If you are going to seek partners, find the right ones for you. We’ve already said marketing isn’t a great area to rely on DIY efforts, so that usually means finding a partner to help out. But with the dizzying array of marketing agencies eager to add to their client rosters, finding the right partner can be tough. So how do you find the right match? First off, focus on personality. Make sure the working personality of your organization and your partner agency mixes well. Choose an agency that has clients of a similar size to yours, because there’s nothing as frustrating as being the small fish on an agency roster. Last but not least, be realistic with the agency you choose from a billing and budget standpoint. It’s easy to fall in love with the latest creative wunderkinds, but it pays to find a partner that can deliver within your established budget.

Amsterdam Soil is a full-service marketing and communication agency based in Amsterdam. We offer our services to any entrepreneur who is serious about their business and their marketing. Interested? Contact us.

Karen Zeilstra

About the author:

Karen Zeilstra SMP is managing partner of Amsterdam Soil, a full service international marketing and communication agency based in Amsterdam. www.amsterdamsoil.com