One of the major obstacles facing a startup is figuring out how to market its product. Be it a hard-line good or a service, if you can not market it well, you will fail. There is seldom a middle ground. But where do you look? Is there a lead to follow? When should you try to innovate? These are all very valid questions, and the life of your company may well depend on the answers.
As a startup you may find yourself wanting to go your own way, forge a new frontier. Why? Unless your product is a brand new invention, someone has marketed it in the past with success. Copycatting a marketing campaign is all right. Look to the major suppliers of goods in the world. You really only have to look at one to see what I am saying ... Wal-Mart. Personally, I hate going into one of their stores. I'd rather have my liver removed with a rusty spoon, but it is a near necessity, nowadays. Why? What did they do to make it so? One helluva marketing strategy. From the inception of the company, the management knew that the masses needed certain daily items and wanted them at the lowest price. When that switched to a preference for items made in America, Wal-Mart accommodated and offered American-made items whenever possible, while keeping the lowest prices they could.
Now, that is how they meet their customer needs. Next comes how to let the customers know you have the goods they want. Look to the same behemoth cash cow. There is always a multi-pronged marketing campaign going on. Print material is always supplemented by television ads. Both of those are extrapolated by online ads. You can not go an hour without seeing an ad that touts the benefits of shopping at Wal-Mart.
I am not saying that you must assault your customers with constant ads, but you must have a multi-pronged attack. Everything starts with an effective print campaign; brochures, ads, letters, whatever you can think of. Follow that up with e-mails and phone calls. No matter what your business is, there is a big dog on the block. Let them show you the way. Innovation is needed to keep fresh air in your lungs, but do not let innovation replace sales conversion rates. Innovate as a mixer, and stir it in with your other advertising. What ways have you developed to stay on top of your marketing campaigns?