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Why and How to Build a Marketing Foundation for Your Biz

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Ask just about anyone...

and most will tell you that MARKETING is advertising campaigns to sell or build awareness (branding) of a product, service or business.

Gen Z will tell you MARKETING is online campaigns, as in PPC ads, streaming (podcasts to Twitch), email and social media marketing (SMM).

Millennials think of MARKETING as digital campaigns on Facebook or through Google, or print ads—from magazines to billboards to direct mail, and TV commercials.

Gen X, and before them, think print and TV, even radio advertising is MARKETING.

As a Bay Area marketing consultant for the last 30 years, starting with Stac Electronics in 1992, I've worked for tons of startups in Silicon Valley. You likely know the names of some, like Intuit, HP, and Computer Associates (now CA Technologies). Others were acquired into companies you know the names of, like The Learning Company bought by Mattel, or MD2 acquired by Sybase, now part of SAP. Most, in fact >90% you do not know the names of because they no longer exist. They were not acquired, as Stac was not. They simply dissolved, as if they never existed at all.

Some of these failed ventures were flush with VC cash, “gold-plated startups,” my DH, a Valley software engineer, calls them. Others were 'bootstrapping,' foolishly on their own dime. And the one thing I found in common with all these business failures was the CEO, or a C level exec did not understand that MARKETING their new venture should have begun at ideation of each new offering.

The success of any business is directly proportional with the effectiveness of their MARKETING. The MARKETING process of any product or service, (yes, even B2B SaaS), should begin way before the first advertising campaign is ever conceived. A MARKETING foundation must be built under any new offering to the marketplace. Selling tech or a better widget in a licensing agreement, or starting a bakery or nonprofit will require MARKETING to be fully integrated into almost every facet of your new venture. Continually and effectively MARKETING your business, and each new offering you produce is required for your business to realize sustained success.


three weeks ago I'm on the phone with the CEO of an electric motor startup in the Valley. Verging on launch, with over $150M in VC from hot firms, I casually asked him if he had a MARKETING team, or a CMO. The question triggers him into a rant on how he doesn't need MARKETING yet, since he's still weeks from launch, and he doesn't have a CMO “on purpose. It was not an oversight,” he insisted emphatically. He goes on to tell me that CMOs are a “waste of money,” that they “contributed nothing of value,” and he wasn't planning on hiring one any time soon.

The CEO of this startup has been working on this tech for over a decade. He formed his company 7 years ago. He's burned through many millions already, building and rebuilding his tech. He's spent very little on MARKETING, except for job ads on LinkedIn, all for offshore (Philippines; India; Ukraine) SMM positions. When I inquired about his pre-sales, he told me they were “not as good as some competitors,” and he could fill all his pre-orders in just a few months.

As great as this guy's product is, and it is a fantastic engine, this CEO does not know that his business hinges on the effectiveness of his MARKETING. And MARKETING begins at idea conception.

The MARKETING Process supplies a template for Product Development, as well as [SEO]content for your campaigns down the line. Had this CEO hired a good CMO to help him flush out his electric engine IDEA, it's likely he'd have spent far fewer years in product development. It is also likely he'd have a lot more pre-sales so close to launch. And without a doubt, whoever is doing his MARKETING would have a lot more CONTENT to create marketing campaigns that effectively brand and sell his offerings.

How do you efficiently flush out an IDEA into a PRODUCT for PROFIT?

Begin by building a MARKETING foundation for your new offering (and startup):

  1. Define the features and benefits of the offering [idea]. (SEO content).

  2. Identify a wide range of potential target markets and [profile] individual users.

  3. Find competitors for your offering, your biz, and your industry. (Accelerate your product development!)

  4. Create or define your new offering's best bits—its unique value propositions (UVP).

  5. Project horizontal and vertical offerings from your original idea. (Stay ahead of competitors with a line-up of new releases.)

  6. Establish a profit model for your new offering @ launch, as well as 1 yr, and 5 yrs down the line.

  7. Script an elevator pitch to chat up your new offering and venture. ('Stealth' startups either have nothing of real value or what they have is too easy to copy. Don't give away your algorithms, or cake recipe, but talk about your new biz to whoever will listen. Your offering will improve with other's input!)

The 7 steps above are known by industry pros as the MARKETING process of PRODUCTIZATION. Populate these 7 templates in-order with every offering you conceive (preferably before the time and expense of developing something that won't sell or has a short shelf life) to establish a solid MARKETING foundation for your new venture.

Performing PRODUCTIZATION on each idea you envision will streamline your product development, provide relevant [SEO] content and targeted users for your branding and sales campaigns (online; print; viral). And the best bit—startups that build a MARKETING foundation through the process of PRODUCTIZATION are generally among the <10% that create thriving, sustainable businesses.

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