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Gone are the days of big television advertisements with a star studded cast or giant posters along the busiest shopping streets. Consumers are increasingly being exposed to information outside of traditional sources and the digital evolution is already upon us. There are too many options but too little budget. Spending more money is not necessary getting more exposure and the reverse is also true. No hard and fast rules around this but some basics still applies.
1. Effective targeting
Know your target customers and imagine their behavior. How do they search for things when they need it? What are their buying impulses that triggers? There isn’t a point advertising a gaming phone on morning prime time news when most of the audience are working adults.
2. Focus on product/service
How is your product/service different from the rest or is it just another cheap knockoff from Taobao? Hard product features can be easily copied as they say “Today on kick-starters, tomorrow on Taobao”. There will always be copycats(from China) that will produce exactly what you do and sell it at a fraction of your price. Services are harder to replicate. What Apple did other than designing a classy phone was to build an ecosystem of services and software wrapped around an excellent product which no one else can replicate given its scale and complications.
3. Research, research and research
What you think the customers want and what the customers really want might be different. What poses as a problem for you might not be a problem for others. Issues people face differs across countries, cultures and demographics. Research what people want by interviewing, surveying or conducting focus groups. It can also be done by observing people or businesses in action. Set out the problems face, design a solution and test prototypes . Smart small but think big.
4. Be practical, basic but with abundance
Out of sight, out of mind. You need to be there when the customer needs you. Don’t ignore the practical and basic approaches. Get your website done, activate all your social profiles, get your marketing emails and campaigns up. Observe what your competitors are doing and react accordingly.
5. Keep improving
Never ever get too comfortable and rest on your laurels. Competitors will always catch up with new product offerings aimed at destroying you. Customers are always your best QA. The best customers are those who complain and help you to improve. The lousy ones are those who simply don’t come back again. Build a process that takes customer feedback and competitor analysis as inputs to improve or invent new products/services.
These are just basic and initial points for consideration in building any startup brand. Do your homework and put in the hours. Be digital in the market world but plan to be different to stand out. Good luck.