Thoughts on Entrepreneurship & Life by Sam Huleatt

Startup Marketing Plan: Start from the Inside, Out

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You are about to launch a new product or service and you *think* you’ve decided on a key demographic to target: say the 18-34 crowd. However, instead of focusing on marketing to a theoretical audience based on attributes such as age, sex, income, etc (standard acquisition marketing) first priority should be developing a strategy driven by user life-cycle. Specifically, life-cycle related to product engagement. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry, it’s not.

Acquisition marketing is important, but should initially take a back seat to retention marketing. And to get the most out of a retention marketing strategy, it’s best to create specific strategies for the multiple sub-communities that will develop based on their stage of product involvement.

Communities you should have a basic strategy for:

Acquisition: [Future Users] Allocate ~30% resources here

· People you want to use your product but who do not know it exists

· People you want to use your product but who are using a competitor or similar product

Retention: [Current Users] Allocate ~70% resources here

· People waiting on the beta list, pre-order, etc

· Early adopters helping to provide feedback on your product (quickly identify who these people are and reward them)

· People who are inviting other people (quickly identify these people and really reward them)

· Developers (the people wanting to build on your platform)

Word-of-mouth is still the number one driver that results in activations. Therefore, strategizing on ways in which your internal community can be motivated to help you find and attract other new users a) gets other people to do work for you and b) results in the best kind of marketing with the highest activation rates. In the early stages focusing on retention marketing also allows you to best maximize resources by using a tipping point strategy. More on that to come.

Update: Louis Gray has a new post called Five Stage of Early Adopter Behavior. It’s worth checking out.

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