Product Launch Marketing Lessons From 3 Smart Startups

by Renee Warren on Jun 13, 2011
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Have a great idea?

Now run with it! Launch that startup now.

But more importantly, begin marketing your idea and product (Or lack their of) as soon as you get the chance.  Time is of the essence when first rolling out something new. You need to get into the market before anyone else.

Spark Boutik had the opportunity to chat with some awesome startups to ask them “When should you really start marketing your new startup?”

They discovered a common thread: Startups should begin marketing their product from day one.  Yes, from the VERY beginning.  Here is why:

When Should You Start Marketing?

In this quickly evolving technology space, getting to market faster with as much customer feedback as possible is necessary for creating and launching a successful product.

Customer feedback from the beginning helps you understand whether a market even exists and what solutions your market is looking for. Adarsh Palllin the CEO and Co-founder of Geotoko explains that when they first presented their idea to a large and intimidating TechCrunch Disrupt crowd they hadn’t even written a single line of code.

“We were on Mashable last August, way before we had a proper working prototype mentioning we were giving out 500 beta invites. We got 2500 from that one blog post.”

Of those interested parties, Pallin followed up with only screen shots of the products capabilities, not the product itself. Word of Mouth marketing rules!

Why market so early?

Marketing is not just about finding ways to tell millions of people about your product or service. It is also about a two-way communication and a feedback mechanism.

Similar to the above, by spending some of your time on marketing in the early stages, you’ll be far more likely to build a product people want.

Heather Ritchie, the Marketing Manager at Lymbix explains that product marketing in the earlier stages will save you a ton a cash in the long term as you’ll get input on what customers actually want.

Is this approach effective?

Part of relating to people and your market is in finding ways to humanize your brand, as in putting a face and REAL people to the name. With startups, all the marketing in the world may not get you the traction you anticipate, but in assigning a team of people (or even one person) to the task can help you immensely.

Community Managers (CM) are a great fit to fill this role.  Jordan Kretchmer CEO and founder of LiveFyre hired a CM within weeks of starting his real time commenting application.

“I wanted every customer and user to feel a connection to us as a company as much as they did to the content they were interacting with. This meant hiring community managers right out of the gate, and dedicating myself to interacting directly with customers, something I still spend between 10-20% of my time each week doing.”

So, was this approach effective? Yes!  Livefyre quickly attracted over 6,000 users in less then 6 months and won business from big enterprise, competing against similar apps already established in the market. He humanized his brand and won big business in doing so.

Final Tips

Clearly marketing your idea and startup long before a completed version, or even a completed prototype, will help you get traction early on.

It’s best to use early marketing tactics to kick your concept around for a while. Run some keyword tests, buy up some ads, A/B test some landing pages / key messages, and get a lead generation funnel going.

Give people the opportunity to be the first to know when you launch your product or service (Exclusivity is another marketing hook).

In the end, if you are iterating your prototype based on customer feedback and your judgment of what is reasonable, your pre-launch marketing will pay off immediately.

Now, good luck in becoming the next Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever it is that you are working on!

 

 

 

 

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Geek in stilettos. Founder of Onboardly. Chocolate lover. Traveler. Tall. Canadian in San Francisco. www.onboardly.com...