Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak to a group of students at the University of Canterbury's Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE).
These students are all looking to launch some kind of enterprise or business, and I was asked to share some marketing advice.
Although there were some great questions in the QnA time, in terms of the core of my talk I focused on the following three, critical elements of successful digital marketing:
- You must understand the problem(s) your target customer faces. As a B2B digital marketing consultant, I work day in and day out with "problem solving" businesses. Your prospective customer has a pain point (or more than one) that needs solving, and you have a solution that can take that pain away. Work diligently to develop the best possible understanding of the problem(s) of your target customer. Remember that in complex businesses where you have to convince multiple parties, different individuals may have different problems and motivations.
- You must develop a robust value proposition that makes it clear to prospective customers that you understand their problem and pain, and have an offer that can solve this problem. You need to be able to articulate this value proposition concisely and clearly. A list of product features is NOT a value proposition.
- You need to develop an understanding of whether there is existing "in-market" demand for your solution, or whether you need to create demand via targeted advertising. Many startups and established businesses in the "problem solving" space run into a brick wall early in their digital marketing journey. We are conditioned to believe that the best way to reach prospective customers via digital is through search (e.g. Google Ads advertising, SEO etc). However, depending on the specific market you are targeting, the number of in-market prospects who you can reach digitally via paid or organic search can be very small indeed - sometimes non-existent. There are other solutions like trade shows and expos, where in-market buyers will sometimes go to find solutions, but these can be challenging from both a budget and logistics perspective in the current climate. If you want to succeed with digital marketing, it's critical that you develop an understanding of whether or not there is sufficient potential in the in-market, actively searching segment of your target audience to warrant investing in search activity as a starting point. The following video will help to explain this concept:
Thanks to Lisa Martin from UCE (pictured below, alongisde yours truly) for inviting me along to participate.
I look forward to being involved in 2021's "Summer Startup" program at UCE, working more closely with eager students and startups with great ideas and a vision to achieve them!