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Startups are the way forward. In today’s start up world, traditional marketing strategies are often detrimental to company founders. As well, since the majority of a young company’s budget it spent on development and engineering, marketing dollars are cut to the absolute minimum. As a result, startup marketers have had to become more aggressive and creative with their efforts, developing strategies that are much different and arguably much more effective than the marketing strategies of large, well- established companies. If you are currently marketing for a startup or if you are working in a large enterprise looking to reinvigorate your current marketing strategy- here are three things big companies can learn from startups. 1) The Product has ‘Built-In’ Marketing  In many of today’s startups don’t have an independent marketing program, either because of lack of personel or funding, forcing them to abandon traditional big-enterprise marketing strategies like newspaper or tv ads. Small companies are cross- functional, meaning that product service, development, IT, sales, and customer service are all interrelated. Each department shares the burden of marketing. This results in capitalizing on customer acquisition channels much earlier in the game rather than blindly advertising, having marketing “built in” to the product, as well as fast iteration of landing pages, content and messaging. 2) Startups Market Creatively Gartner analyst Ben Pring explains the importance of creative marketing as follows:
Any new idea emerges within the context of established ideas. To gain attention amid well-known, well—understood ideas that have their subscribers, a new idea or approach needs a way to both differentiate itself and attract attention.
Hotmail’s startup story exemplifies exactly this: Back in 1996 when Hotmail was launched as the world’s first free webmail service, it couldn’t afford traditional marketing options like putting up billboards or buying ads or radio spots. Founders of Hotmail eventually decided to do their own advertising, which is now considered one of the first startup “growth hacks.” Hotmail simply put the message, “P.S.: I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail,” at the bottom of every message sent from a Hotmail user. This mean that every email sent from a Hotmail account would be free advertising for the service. After using this method, Hotmail gained 1 million users in 6 months. By 1997, Hotmail gained about 10 million users and was sold to Microsoft for 400 million dollars. Marketing creatively can boost your company’s sales exponentially. Startups always think ‘outside the box’ of ways to get free marketing via their own products. 3) Startups Take Advantage of Social Media Marketing (SMM) Using social media for marketing is another cost- saving no brainer for startups. Social media tools like youtube, facebook, twitter and instagram help save money and increase new business opportunities. Having a social media online presence allows journalists and potential customers to have immediate and easy access to information about your products and industry. More importantly, it raises your search engine ranking. Gartner reports on Social Media Marketing’s unique capabilities:
Social media is the perfect format and forum for introducing (and continually reintroducing) yourself, your ideas and your offering to anybody and everybody. Your passion and excitement about your “crusade” can be communicated through incremental, additive, ongoing articles, blogs and tweets that build your presence and reputation.
Also, it levels the playing field. Smaller companies are not competing for advertising space with large enterprises. On social media sites, accounts are standard. Unlike traditional market strategies, which send messages to anyone, anywhere and hope for the best, social media draws interested people who want to hear about your company and draws them in with new and constantly updated content, peer conversations, and information about your products. Overall: Thanks to mobile technology and the Internet, in no other time in history has it been easier to be more in touch with your customers. And, with a little effort and creativity your company will get as much exposure as major enterprises but at little to no cost.



James Mello
James is the Lead Author & Editor Product2Market of Blog. James writes for the Product2Market blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Marketing.