Kochi has a startup ecosystem that is growing fast. While the city has many support mechanisms in place and initiatives by the State Government, the ecosystem in Kochi is still in its nascent stages. The problems faced by the entrepreneurs in Kochi are unique and Startup Saturday Kochi, which has been around for a while attempts to handle these unique issues. This time round, the focus of #SSKochi was startup marketing.
Startups face a series of challenges as listed below when it comes to marketing their brand to the first flush of customers.
- Limited budget
2. Limited manpower
3. Limited experience
The #SSKochi hosted at the Startup Village on the 12th of July discussed these limitations.
The main session was led by Shiv Shankar, CMO of Waybeo Solutions. Shiv is an experienced marketer who has worked with limited resources, similar to that of a startup. After his talk, there was an open house session where participants discussed the challenges the startups face while sharing practical tips and tricks to overcome these challenges.
Here are the 10 things I and all startups took away from this #SSKochi session
- Do not think of the product features at the beginning. First build the smallest version of the product that makes sense and find early adopters for it.
- When it comes to marketing, focus on communication and not promotion.
- Customer discovery is key! Always ask yourself who your customer is, what they do often and what their purchasing patterns are.
- Do a minimum of 100 customer interviews before you launch. You will convert at least 10 of the interviewees as customers once you launch
- Do the initial sales yourself. The first 20 sales SHOULD be made by the founders themselves.
- In today’s marketing, courage is more important than experience, so keep trying new things.
- Do not miss out on emailers, PR and viral media as channels of marketing.
- Be open to pay for good design and content.
- In the case of email marketing, use free giveaways and design smart landing pages to grow your list. MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse are amazing tools you can use to execute your email marketing plans.
- Automate your customer communications as much as possible – Use tools like customer.io to do that.