A great deal of effort goes into designing the product so that it can provide the right solution to the customers’ problem. Let’s say, you have come up with an earth-shattering-radical product or at least there is sufficient market for it in spite of the competition. The next step is to sell the product because it will not sell on its own (unless the lady luck loves you!) no matter how unique or useful you believe it is. This is where marketing comes into the picture.
In order to announce to the world that your dream has become a reality, you must turn towards marketing. The scale of this activity in terms of research, strategy and spending will vary from organization to another. For start-ups, this scale is mostly on the lower side due to resource constraints.
Marketing can start in any form – direct email, Facebook campaigns, live product demo, co-branding with popular e-tailers or digital & print advertising. But, the bottom line is that it is an indispensable activity irrespective of the size of the organization or nature and USP of the product.
If you are still not convinced why your organization should invest in marketing, here are a few reasons that will change your mind.
Create product awareness
Unless you already enjoy an established communication mode in the market or have already opened a channel to reach out the prospective customers, how can you expect them to know that your product exists? While the first few initial organic customers may approach your start-up directly, in order to stay alive, it is crucial to acquire the second layer of the market, and that too quickly. Marketing makes your potential customers aware of your product offering, its features & usefulness and from where to buy it. It takes them on a product discovery, or a journey which culminates, hopefully, in a mutually beneficial transaction.
Build your brand image
Remember when Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. While it may appear out of context here, but I believe that man was a marketing genius. A product is incomplete as long as it is alone in the market space. It needs a strong brand image to stand apart from the others in the market. The brand image is a unique identity that every customer associates your company with. They are constantly forming impressions and judging brands based on what all it they connect it with. Some brands are more popular and have a higher brand recall and are able to work better than others because it’s the way how they have been marketed.
When you think of a smartphone, it’s iPhone.
When you think of shoes, it’s Nike.
When you think of noodles, it’s Maggi.
When you think of a toothpaste, it’s Colgate.
What sets iPhone, Nike, Maggi and Colgate apart from their peers? Their brand image.
Check out the Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2015 report released by WPP and Millward Brown. It gives an interesting insight into how customers’ perception can make or break a brand.
Gain trust of customers
Over a period of time, a positive brand image converts into a trust factor for the customers. The more they trust your brand, the more reputed it becomes. This trust begins to take shape in the form of word of mouth marketing, thereby bringing in more customers. Needless to say, the word spread translates further into more sales and revenues.
Learn your marketplace value
Every entrepreneur thinks that his product will create a storm in the market. That is until they start marketing the product and hit the ground reality. The fate of your product lies in the hands of customers and market dynamics. Depending on how your customers react (through polling, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc.) and what the competition is doing, you may have to tweak your product to find its own unique place in the market.
Create customer profiles
Marketing helps you to define your ideal customer profile and what makes them tick. Through their responses, they let you know what works and what doesn’t work in the favour of your product.
Jason Throckmorton, the co-founder of LaunchSquad, an award-winning public relations, content marketing and video production agency, sums up the need for marketing very aptly, “You can have the best idea in the world. But if you don’t couple that with a strategy to spread your story, your idea isn’t going to go very far.”
Having said that marketing plays a crucial role in selling the product, does it mean that even a bad product will sell? Nah! The quality of the product makes a huge impact on its marketing. A bad product will anyway die in spite of heavy marketing. A good product, backed by a robust marketing strategy, will enjoy a long term standing among the customers.