Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur


How to get from where you are to where you want to be

What is Your Marketing Strategy?

“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” Milan Kundera

I remember the time I was asked this question by a mentor some years ago. My answer included our website, brochures, name cards and some events planned out for our prospect market. He didn’t look too pleased with the answer, probed further, asking whether we had outlined our strategy in the form of a plan to help crystalize our concepts and ideas. Unfortunately, our marketing plan was limited to a couple of pages in our brief business plan. He then quoted the above statement, and said it was a serious error to not having devoted more time in thinking through this critical segment of business strategy. Since that day, I  place a lot more emphasis on marketing and have begun to fully comprehend it’s importance.

Rewinding back a bit, prior to this conversation, I realized, I had gravely confused sales with marketing. As such, there had never been a major emphasis on developing a dedicated plan around it. Marketing strategies were discussed on a very sporadic basis. We had thought that by developing a website, brochures and some name cards we were doing pretty well in the marketing department. Being a startup, we thought marketing strategies would be developed when we finally made it “big”. Once I got a reality check into this, I understood how skewed my thinking had been. It finally started to make sense. I realized why demand did not scale up as projected, as also why the perception of the product in the market place was contrary to how it was meant to be perceived. We had completely ignored and bypassed one of the major functions of any business.

The following series will be one of many, where I will begin outlining a basic marketing plan for startup development. It will give you a bird’s eye view of major components which will be discussed in greater detail in the following weeks. I hope that through the information provided, you will be able to answer the above question with more confidence. I would also really like to learn about some of the marketing strategies which you may have used at your startup. This will help create a pool of ideas which can become an invaluable resource to entrepreneurs all around the world.

Filed under: Advice, Marketing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Clara Anthony says:

    I completely agree. Often there is very little perceived difference between sales and marketing. While most use the terms interchangeably the difference is very much wide. The importance of marketing in a plan is all too important and this is where a product tries to connect with the users at an experience level. Perhaps that is why companies need to place the marketing function in the center of their strategic thinking. Unlike outsourcing production and other operational processes to companies like Cleave Global, marketing has to be integral to the overall strategic planning.

  2. Usman Sheikh says:

    Thank you for your insights Clara. I hope through the rest of this series the importance of having a clearly defined marketing plan will become a lot more apparent. Look forward to your comments on future blog posts.

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