Hark… it’s Marketing!

How's your marketing strategy looking for 2024? If it's still a work in progress, worry not -here are some pointers to help steer you in the right direction.

Hello there Aalto Startups, and a fantastic start to 2024!

Last autumn, I had the pleasure of leading a training session on marketing for a full-house at the Startup Center. To everyone who joined, thanks for your lively participation! For those joining the conversation now, here’s a glimpse at the 6-steps that were covered and I hope to meet you at the next training this spring.

Step #1: Set Clear Business Targets and Align Your Plan to Achieve Them

Start your planning process by charting out your short-term (quarterly) and long-term (annual) business goals and then focus your marketing efforts on helping you to get there.

Step #2: Hitting the Bullseye means Understanding Your Audience

Define the target audience(s) attached to each of your business goals. Get quite specific on ‘Who’ you need to reach, what drives them, and how your solution can help them to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Create specific audience profiles (also called personas and avatars). Important to note:

Step #3: Know Your Competition

You’ll want to look at direct competitors plus others who are trying to solve the same problem that you are. The competitive landscape is usually much bigger than you think. Analyze the field of players to understand their strengths, weaknesses, positioning, and messaging to the market. Also get a feel for their branding and brand personality.

Step #4: Your Secret Sauce – Unveiling Your Unique Value Proposition

Now it’s time to highlight what sets you apart from the crowd. Let your audience feel why your product or service matters, not just what it does or how.

Create your unique value proposition and key messaging. Identify and communicate what makes your technology, product, service unique and valuable to the specific audience segments. How you fulfill their needs and help them overcome challenges. What sets you apart from competitors. Be specific.

To keep in mind: Most startups focus on 2 things: ‘What We do’ & ‘How we do it’ but completely miss the importance of: ‘Who we are for’ & ‘Why they Should care.Get the later part right and you are golden.

Step #5: Plotting Your Audience’s Journey

Define where each audience segment is on their journey with you. And determine the most essential goals of your early-stage marketing – such as awareness building / brand recognition, lead generation, getting a meeting, etc.

Step #6: Tactical Approaches and Channels

Define the specific tactics and channels to reach your audiences and achieve your goals. Consider where your audience spends time? What are the essential materials & tools that you will need to connect with them?

Here’s where the fun begins – picking the right tools and channels. Find out where your audience hangs out and equip yourself with the necessary materials to make meaningful connections.

Remember, it’s about speaking their language and resonating with their needs and aspirations.

So, cheers to a great 2024 and to marketing with intention!

Let’s ride the waves of innovation, steer with strategy, and make 2024 the year where your startup soars to new heights!

  • Written by Ann Sarimo, Founder & CEO of Shop of Good Oy. Ann hosted the workshop Business Development: Making your Startup Marketing Playbook as part of the Business Generator training program during Autumn 2023.
  • Connect with Ann on LinkedIn!