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If you had a deficiency, what would you do?
You are likely to go to a doctor and there is a good chance he would prescribe to you a list of medication that would serve to reduce that deficiency and make you healthy again.
Similarly, startups are often sick. And more often than not, the illness is fatal.
A staggering 90% of all startups fail on a global scale.
Startups suffer from many kinds of deficiencies, but there are some which are more common than others.
Going by a report by CB Insights, here are the top 20 reasons startups have failed.
A quick look at this graph helps you understand that while there are a variety of reasons due to which startups can fail (and by all means, this list is not exhaustive). But, a lot of them could avoid failure through a strong marketing strategy that solves multiple problems at once.
Quick Note: Startups generally do NOT suffer from singular deficiencies. They are usually a combination of issues. For example: A startup may have No Market Need as a result of the product being Mis-Timed.
You would need a marketing strategy that could do the following:
Tall order? Enter Inbound Marketing.
Inbound Marketing allows for a unique approach which determines whether or not your product has an organically generated need in the market. At the very core of Inbound Marketing is the philosophy to reach out to those in need of your product.
By applying this methodology, not only do you identify how many people are interested in your service, but also exactly who they are, where they are and how you can reach out to them.
Alongside, you can evolve your product based on what your customers truly want.
Let’s play out a situation,
Let’s say your product is a solar powered ceiling fan. It would seem obvious at first that India is a market for such a product.
You learn through some research that a large number of people are looking for alternative energy solutions because of the threat of Global Warming.
Inbound Marketing would help showcase your product as a solution. This approach can be as granular as you would want it to be, right from addressing extremely specific queries like ‘Would it work during the monsoons?’ to broad queries like ‘What can I do to combat global warming?’
In essence, Inbound Marketing is going to help you understand exactly the kind of people you are addressing by creating a spectrum across early adopters to laggards.
Issues affected: No Market Need, Failure to Pivot, Poor Marketing, Ignore Customers
For most startups, investing a large sum of money on marketing tactics like their more established counterparts is usually not an option. This gives inbound marketing practitioners a unique advantage.
While most companies tend to create massive campaigns that are largely a ‘hit or miss’, Inbound Marketing can help you create extremely targeted content that is based on a continuing research of your buyer personas.
Apart from a steadfast focus on ROI, Inbound Marketing can help you reduce costs further through intelligent automation.
For a lot of small businesses, reducing the cost to market for a product can help create that competitive pricing that can tilt the market in their favor.
Issues affected: Ran Out Of Cash, Pricing/Cost Issues.
Inbound Marketing strategies rely greatly on the user’s participation. Apart from creating content that address your buyer personas directly, it also creates an open channel for you to reach out to them. Live AMAs, rectifications and creating UGC pieces is a great way to invite your customers to be a part of your products journey. Creating and maintaining a community works in your best interests.
After all, as an entrepreneur you’re out to solve problems. What better way to do that than to listen to them from the people that really matter!
Issues affected: Poor Product, Failure to Pivot.
Your digital marketing agenda needs to cater to the fact that your marketing budget is very much limited.
This is because of the sky-rocketing costs of advertising across various channels and a severe lack of organic reach across certain popular ones.
The inbound methodology is extremely ROI centric and thus helps you curtail or repurpose unnecessary marketing initiatives.
Data is used at every point within the funnel, and decisions are based on the same.
For example: If a user tends to look for the pricing of your solar powered ceiling fan, it is safe to infer that he is considering purchasing the product. Therefore, it makes sense to drive content that ultimately resolves his pricing queries by showing him advantages, savings and incentivize him to move to the decision with a possible discount.
If your marketing methodology does not take into account consumer context, it is likely to slip up on an opportunity such as this.
Revise your marketing methodology now.
Issues affected: Poor Marketing, Ignore Customers.
Solving or addressing customer concerns not only helps you create a good rapport with them, it helps convert them to evangelists. The Inbound Methodology has an entire section called ‘Delight’ to govern this phase in the customer lifecycle.
Right from product surveys to referral schemes, help the customer realize how important they are to you and your continued survival. It also helps them feel rewarded and increases loyalty.
Issues affected: Get Outcompeted, Ignore Customers.
Thus it is evidently seen that most of the key issues affecting small business can be addressed using a more foundational marketing methodology like Inbound Marketing.
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