Founder Please Marketinga fractional CMO and marketing agency that helps start-ups and small to medium businesses build their marketing practices and go to market.
Many founders and entrepreneurs throw themselves headfirst into their businesses with no marketing experience whatsoever. While most entrepreneurs are business-minded, marketing activities such as product launches and branding may not have been part of their experience. This is where marketing frameworks can be extremely helpful.
The framework can help organize marketing efforts to better align the marketing team and its stakeholders, including agencies, partners, and collaborators in cross-functional teams. As a fractional CMO that has developed and implemented marketing strategies for startups in various industries in global markets, here are four tried and true frameworks that I have used to help build a consistent marketing foundation:
1. Seven P marketing mix
Seven P’s Marketing Mix is one of the most popular marketing models. It includes many elements of developing a marketing strategy.
So what are these seven marketing principles? The first two P’s are product and price, which describe what your business is selling and how much it costs. The following two P’s mean placement and promotion. They focus on where your company sells the product and how you will communicate with your audience. People, Process, and Physical Evidence are the last three Ps. Respectively, these Ps focus on who in your startup is responsible for product, promotion, and distribution; what the purchasing process looks like for customers; and what evidence you will provide to support your claims.
Accurately listing the seven P’s for your business will give you a clear understanding of the key areas your marketing team needs to focus on.
2. Porter’s Five Forces
Porter’s Five Forces is a classic marketing scheme developed by Harvard professor Michael E. Porter, which helps companies identify competitive forces affecting the environment and industry around them.
Porter’s five forces are:
• Competitive rivalry: How intense is the competition between existing companies in the market?
• Supplier strength: How many suppliers are there on the market? How much control do they have over stocks and prices?
• Purchasing power: How influential is the customer in the market?
• Threat from new entrants: How difficult is it for competitors to enter the market?
• Threat of substitutes: How does your product compare to others on the market? How hard is it for consumers to switch to the competition?
This framework is especially important because it takes into account profitability and competition, both of which are critical to the success of a new business. The early stages of starting a startup may require raising capital. Understanding the external factors that can affect a company’s ability to raise capital is essential to protecting its bottom line. Similarly, in a market full of new products, it is important to be aware of how strong the competition is, who the competitors are and how you can differentiate your business from them.
3. Customer Journey Mapping
You cannot create a marketing plan without first understanding your target customer. Who wants to buy your product? What is their thought process like? What are their pain points and when do they appear? Customer Journey Maps visually represent the customer’s experience with your company and your products while taking into account their needs, concerns and motivations.
A simple way to start a customer journey map is to visualize how the customer moves along the marketing funnel. What actions do they take at the awareness stage? Perhaps they visit social media and land on your Facebook page. During the consideration stage, they may sign up for your email newsletter. How do they complete the purchase phase? Do they prefer to buy via an app, website or in person?
Continue to consider the touchpoints your customer will encounter further down the funnel, and remember how their motivations, habits, and emotions may influence their actions. The better you understand their journey, the more personalized your marketing communications will be.
4. STP model
The Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning (STP) model also focuses on your target audience and helps ensure that your marketing communications are relevant to your customers.
Segmentation is dividing your target audience into small groups based on similar characteristics. This process provides clarity about who is using your product the most and how best to reach them through messaging. Segment your startup’s customers using the following categories:
• Geography: Where are they?
• Demography: What are their demographics such as age, gender and occupation?
• Behavior: How do they behave? What are their preferred communication channels?
• Psychology: What are their values? What are their hobbies, interests and lifestyle?
Based on this information, you should better understand the best way to personalize your messages to them.
The next step is targeting, which is when you decide which segments are worthy of interest. When narrowing down the segments, consider size, variety, and availability. Make sure your target segments are small enough to make your message personal, but large enough to justify your marketing effort and budget. Finally, make sure your target segment is reachable. Are there any technical or legal barriers that might prevent your messages from reaching them?
The third step of the STP model is positioning. Here you take the insights gained in the previous two steps and decide how you will communicate your startup and its product to your target segments. Positioning is slightly different from segmentation and targeting because it focuses on the customer’s point of view of your product. There are many ways to position a product. Is it the cheapest, the most exclusive or the best quality? Ultimately, you want to look inward and determine what makes your startup and its product unique. This will provide the basis for a great positioning statement and marketing plan.
A strong marketing plan can help catapult your startup’s success. While developing one takes time and dedication, these frameworks are a great way to build a solid foundation for your plan based on proven marketing fundamentals.
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