As someone who has worked in various marketing positions in startups and high-tech companies for over 25 years, and currently serving as a fractional CMO, I have experienced firsthand the challenges that marketing experts face in these dynamic environments. Today, as a fractional CMO for startups, I would like to shed some light on the misconception that often plagues startups - the belief that development takes precedence over marketing. Throughout my career, I have witnessed the consequences of delayed marketing involvement, the catch-up game, and the missed opportunities for marketing to empower startups for their marketing breakthrough.
Delayed Involvement and Catch-up Game:
When marketing experts are brought in late in the startup journey, they often find themselves playing catch-up with development. They are left with limited time to create a robust marketing infrastructure, develop branding strategies, and execute effective marketing campaigns. This rush leaves marketing experts scrambling to align the product with the target audience, develop messaging, and establish an online presence, often leading to missing the full potential of the company's marketing breakthrough.
Missed Opportunities for Market Insights:
By overlooking the impact of marketing experts during the early stages of startup development, valuable opportunities for gathering market insights are missed. Marketing experts excel at conducting market research, identifying target audiences, and understanding customer needs. When their involvement is delayed, startups lose out on valuable insights that could shape the product's features, positioning, and overall marketing strategy.
Alignment with Branding and Messaging:
We play a pivotal role in establishing a strong brand identity and crafting compelling messaging. However, when we join the startup late in the game, the challenge of aligning the branding and messaging with the product that has already been developed and is almost ready for launch is often overlooked. This misalignment is often the root of an inconsistent customer experience, leaving account managers with the burden of bridging this inconsistency.
Building a Scalable Marketing Infrastructure:
Startups need a scalable marketing infrastructure to support their growth and customer acquisition efforts. However, when marketing experts are brought in late, they face the daunting task of rapidly building this infrastructure from scratch in no time. This includes setting up digital marketing channels, developing content strategies, establishing social media presence, and implementing analytics and tracking systems. As we all know, all these tasks require time. Analytics requires data, data requires time, so does establish a presence in the market, etc., The time constraints imposed by delayed involvement often result in a rushed and less comprehensive marketing infrastructure. Yes, we do it! We have gotten used to it, but think about what we can accomplish when integrated earlier in the development stage.
Marketing Breakthrough Thoughts
To avoid the catch-up game, startups must strive for greater integration between development and marketing efforts. When marketing experts are involved early on, they can collaborate with development teams to align the product roadmap with marketing strategies. This integration allows for the seamless creation of marketing assets, such as product messaging, website design, and promotional materials, ensuring consistency and efficiency in marketing efforts resulting in agile iteration. All this is priceless.