Welcome to the Marketing Monday Q&A - where Illumine8 goes live and answers your questions about marketing and business live on the air.
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Question 1: How do I market my new company without any real customer data?
CMay: Every great campaign starts here. Every great business does, too, for that matter.
When you have a new product or service and nothing to really go on, the best place to start is persona development. In the beginning, a lot of persona development can feel anecdotal - but that doesn’t stop you from honing in on real data to back up your hunches. A persona is a fictional short story that describes your ideal customer. Don’t know where to start - the answer lies with tools you already have.
Primary Data Tools:
- Focus on the buyer’s journey - what pain points are you trying to overcome at each stage of the decision making process?
- Use questions to uncover persona patterns. Ask friends, family, strangers, anyone what they think about a particular product or service offering. What do they value about a product or service? What causes them pain? What problem are they trying to solve? Questions and answers are gold - don’t underestimate the power of the simple act of listening.
- Observe - use your eyes. Have a competitor? Sit outside their establishment and notice the patterns. Cyber only? Document and record every social media post, every blog, every google adword and every online offer. A pattern will emerge that will help you learn how they are serving - and not serving - their customers.
- Don’t like asking questions in person? Ask them online. Leverage social media, forums, Quora and surveys. You'll find that when you ask questions - honestly and authentically - people respond in kind.
Secondary Data Tools:
- Google is your best friend. Research industry publications, comments, industry thought leaders and Quora inquires.
- Remember your college days - there is an amazing amount of data available through your local libraries. Lexis Nexis and other online knowledge bases can help you gather the facts you need to go from a guess to an educated execution.
- ERSI Tapestries are a great resource for creating a framework for personas that are based on designated geographic areas. Simply search by zipcode to figure out the basic demographics and buying patterns specific to a location.
Question 2: When shoud I start marketing my new business idea?
CMay: If you have an idea, the last thing you should be thinking about is marketing. You should be focused on product or service development. We have saying at Illumine8 - “Marketing can’t fix a bad product or service - marketing can drive business to the door, but only the product and customer service can keep it.”
Stop thinking about funding. Don’t sweat finding customers. Easier said than done, we know. What you need to do is make sure that your product or service is the best - it’s the spaghetti that sticks to the wall. When it sticks - then worry about funding, marketing and that fancy espresso machine.
Question 3: Is it better to use a company name or my own when developing a personal brand?
CMay: Everyone has an opinion on this one - I’m going to dive in with my own 2 cents. Go with your name.
A company name is not a personal brand and once it's established it's harder to change. On average most of us an expect to work 40 or more years in our lives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years in January 2016 - which means there is a good chance your career my evolve, specialize or completely change several times. Your tribe of followers is going to follow you no matter where you go in your career, provided you provide good authentic content.
Want to turn a company brand on its head? Look what happened to Kodak.
There is a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin entitled, “The Rule of Names,” which spins the tale of a dragon in disguise. The moral of the story tells us that revealing the true name of something will reveal its true form. What’s in a name you ask? Everything.
If you have decided to pursue a personal brand, what better brand is there than your own name?
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