I need to share a business pet peeve of mine and it might get a little ugly.
The trouble is it’s not a new thing. In fact, it’s something that almost every business does in the beginning. To call it an epidemic might be a bit dramatic, but it feels that way sometimes. It stems from a combination of myths and legends and, if I may call this spade a spade, good old fashioned fear.
What’s the trouble? Creating your entire business BEFORE you start your marketing.
The trouble with “ducks in a row”.
I get it. We all want to feel like we are in control. We want to have a sense that things are working and working well long before we let the world in to see what we are doing. Process can be ugly. So it makes sense that entrepreneurs and start-ups want to get their products, services and people in place before they think about showing their wares to the world.
But here in lies the trouble: in this global marketplace where people are geared towards a very social kind of consumerism, the process of marketing IS itself actually half the battle and simply shouldn’t be ignored until the end. If you put it off, you end up having to clean up the mess.
Marketing done right IS business development.
There is this little thing called SWOT. It’s something we did in school long ago and it’s one of a few foundational principals – marketing 101. You use it to break down the internal characteristics (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external characteristics (Opportunities and Threats) of your company. It’s simple enough, but it’s a pretty cool way to see where you are, what you have, and what you need to work on. It can give you a sense of who you need to hire to help you in the short and long run and what makes you unique in the world (your USP) which can give infinite insight into your brand identity.
Marketing done right seeks to ask and answer the most fundamental questions of any business: what are you doing and who are you doing it for? That’s it. And my simple premise is: why not ask this at the beginning so that you are more equipped to bring your solid foundation of answers along with you as you develop the company?
I am not suggesting that you should start a big marketing campaign before you have completed the development of your product or brand. But wouldn’t it be an advantage to develop things, ideas and services for people instead of developing something and then trying to figure out how to sell it to them?
The trouble with brilliant idea people.
Often, in my experience, theorist/strategist types have ideas to top on their ideas. They specialize in creating something out of nothing and then they run with it. This is an amazing quality. These people are literally able to pull non-materialized things out of the seeming ether, and bring them into our mortal world. Seriously, I am in true awe of these visionaries.
But here’s the trouble: marketing is the process of making ideas, products and services accessible to those who need them. It’s a translation gig. From the realm of ideas to the realm of actuality. From one way of thinking to another. From one person to another. Marketing builds a bridge so that people can understand, and ultimately partake in (aka buy) what is being dreamed up.
Wouldn’t you want to start this process as early as possible?