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Strategic marketing The need of the hour In a start up perspective
AP Bushairusalam
AP Bushairusalam
CEO, Waybeo Technology Solutions
Bushair is spear heading the strategy at Waybeo and committed to establish value driven organizat... more>>
The business world is driven by the everyday needs of its dynamic characters of customer.
The business world is running everyday to befriend and satisfy the needs and wants of one funny person- "customer". In fact, when a business is able to attract their attention to it, the eco system responds with high aspiration.

Many marketers are confused on what customers want which evolves as a frustration against customers for not having a definite decision and purpose on what they want. This confusion and frustration in the marketing team affects the overall strategy of business even in HR marketing, financial decisions, fund raising, and scale up.

In my interaction with fellow entrepreneurs in India, I could see lot of stunning products with high commercialization scope, but shockingly trying to sell in wrong markets and of course to wrong customers. This is clearly lack of a strategic approach to marketing decision.

Many early stage entrepreneurs are used to ignoring the fundamental theories behind strategic formation and resort to quick fixing tactics by presuming it would pay back in the long term. Sustainability of any start up and early stage organizations are very much based on their marketing strategy.

Before defining strategy of marketing, it is CEOs responsibility to introduce to the team the culture of learning and unlearning. In a startup, when the entrepreneurs go through business plan templates and management books, it makes them difficult to grasp the jargons and other factors briefed. Understanding each factor in strategic marketing and a thorough research on each factor will help to fine tune the quality of offerings in the market which in turn will improve overall functions of the organization.

As a product start up is concerned, the most challenging part is to go to market and earn money from the product we have created. This is what makes a business up and running. Most of the early stage product companies, while selling, get stuck in the catch 22 situation of customer demand for market references and case studies. A technology product company should focus in creating powerful references in the market during its early days of sales. This can be possible by targeting early adopters in the market. The early adopters may not be a high paid customer, but a powerful reference for the lazy and late majority nature customers. During the commercialization of our product BounzD we had made our marketing team to read the book "crossing the chasm" mandatory and this in turn has helped us a lot in creating a culture of early stage culture inside the organization.

The entire marketing strategy during the initial days of sales was formulated by understanding these constraints of early stage product challenges and that has helped us a lot in kick starting the sales of whatever we have developed.

Formulation of marketing strategy in each stage needs a different level of thinking and approach even though the factors considered are similar. For example, the strategic marketing plan process typically has three stages.
1. Segmentation of market, like Geographic, demographic, Psychographic and behavioral segmentation
2. Profiling of market segment  with revenue model, profitability etc
3. And developing marketing plan for the segments formed.

I will just flip through how the different way of approach to this has helped Waybeo.

Apart from the normal approach, we went an extra mile by considering what market to target first. Geographical segmentation is important even in the case of large enterprises. In an early stage company, even though we segment the market geographically, there will be many constraints in reaching the market proposed.

We classified our market withthis approach.

Comfortable

Aspiration Market

Cost benefit

Competition based

India

United States

India

India

 

 

UK

US

 

 

 

 

*we had cost advantage in UK market because of our presence there

We decided to get early adopters in comfortable market. After this segmentation, we developed our strategic marketing plan with situational analysis (Market, Key success factors in each market, technology development factors in India, legal and social indicators in each market).

The strategy we adopted was to find our customers (early innovators faster) in comfortable markets, build reference network and case studies then move to aspiration market by raising funds from external investors. Considering India as a comfortable market, we had divided India into comfortable, Challenging and aspiration markets. We chose south India, (Kerala, Chennai and Bangalore) as our target market and decided to sell the product by direct approach. This approach was remarkable and the subsequent decision helped us to make BounzD a successful product concept. When we decided to sell in India, we had developed a complete scenario and situational analysis for these 3 states with the help of our mentors.

The use of this strategic marketing plan is in successful execution of various tactics in the market. Once the strategic plan was developed, we took the plan into next level that is product development plan, pricing, promotion, distribution etc. The insights realized during the process of strategic marketing plan made this process a simple task which can be finished within days. Also, a strong strategic plan approach helped us to make the changes in tactics, like market approach in different geographies, channel strategy and pricing, in a faster way.

As an example, just have a look at how situational analysis benefited BounzD to perform in Indian markets with product alteration and development plan.

The thorough analysis of Indian business buying and customer behavior helped us to make relevant tweak in the product sold in India. In fact, the feature was more India specific (Comfortable market specific)."Connect" feature in BounzD was a market facing innovation that helped us to attract even large enterprises to avail our service. This strategic analysis has helped us to offer a globally relevant product in India with its own customization depends on the market. It helps in different way. When we focused in strategic marketing, the evolved solution made us apply for patent rights in multiple continents and to make sales faster in India.

The top-down process of developing a strategic marketing plan helps assure that all tactical marketing programs support the companys vision and mission, as well as convey a consistent message to customers

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