Startup Marketing: Depth Vs Reach


Building a good starter product is rarely enough. Marketing is just as important. Getting it right, however, is a difficult request for two main reasons:

First, you rarely have a large, if any, marketing budget. This is especially true early on in your startup, when you need to validate your idea and get some initial traction before you can fundraise. For this reason, investing in both depth and breadth is simply not possible because your time and capital are limited.

Second, in the idea generation and validation phases of your startup, you would not yet know if you are in line with the product market. Because of this, you can’t be sure that people really need what you offer them, and it’s just as problematic for a marketer: you can’t be sure which marketing channel will give the best results.

Therefore, it is necessary that you tailor your startup marketing approach to your exact situation.

1. Step 1: Scope

Since your first problem is that you don’t know where to find your first customers (also known as the minimum viable segment), you need to find a strategy that helps you find them.

Investing deeply in a single marketing channel or a single market probably won’t help you solve this problem. Since you need to test your offering with different types of people, it is best to conduct multiple (inexpensive) marketing experiments in different places.

Cold calling different types of businesses. Publish your idea / product on Internet forums and communities (Facebook groups, subreddits, etc.) related to your industry. Run targeted PPC campaigns differently on Facebook or Google and test different demographics, interest groups, and keywords.

The goal of these experiments is not to develop your business, but rather to find which consumer segments best meet your offer.

2. Step 2: Depth

Once you’ve found the niche market that best meets your offer, it’s time to cut back and at the same time redouble your efforts.

The goal shifts from discovery to efficiency and growth. You no longer try to experiment with different segments, your new goal is to minimize customer acquisition costs while maximizing growth.

Since you are still limited in resources, the best way to do this is to choose the most effective channel for your business and become an expert, ideally – the best in your niche.

For example, if the most important channel for your business is Facebook ad campaigns, it would be a great idea to make sure you have the best ad creatives in your niche, combined with good targeting. It takes a lot of effort to do this, and it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve this while executing an effective SEO + content marketing etc.

3. Step 3: Depth and reach

Once your startup has grown into a big business, resources would be less of a problem. In addition, you could aim to penetrate additional market niches and diversify your offering.

This usually requires reintroducing a broader reach into your marketing strategy, and luckily your new access to resources would help you do so without losing the depth and quality of your marketing efforts that you may have developed in the previous step.

This is best achieved by develop your start-up team and the hiring of channel experts to cope with the increased workload without reducing the quality.

4. Summary

Market your startup successfully can be a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable if you create a marketing strategy that matches your needs. Since the needs of your business change as it grows and goes through different startup stages, it makes sense that your marketing strategy will change over time as well.

  • In the idea and validation phases, use a wide range of marketing channels to find your ideal customers.
  • In the efficiency phase, target the most effective marketing channel for your business and become the best at it.
  • In the growth phase, invest the resources you have to expand your efforts again without sacrificing reach.

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