"What's the best way to get people interested in and buying our product?"
This is a question I often get asked by early-stage B2B startup founders I work with.
Here's the framework I use to help them make a decision:
- At the highest level, all marketing is split into online vs offline and paid vs free
- There are four possible combinations of the above (with examples):
- Online & Free - posting on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc
- Online & Paid - buying paid ads on Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc
- Offline & Free - word-of-mouth, loyalty programs, partnerships
- Offline & Paid - snail mail (yes, this still works), industry events, billboards, transit ads
3. Pick one or two of the four methods from the quadrant to start. You want to focus on the mediums where your target market's decision makers spend their time.
For example if you sell:
- Human resources management systems (HRMS) to early-stage B2C startups, then focus on free content marketing on LinkedIn paired with paid ads on LinkedIn or Instagram.
- Legal research software to the more conservative, insular and slower moving legal industry (say, mid-sized regional law firms), then focus on attending industry conferences and buying ads in the relevant industry trade publications.
4. Add additional marketing methods to the quadrant as you master your current methods
5. The ideal "end" situation is to have at least one method in each of the four quadrants. There are two reasons for this:
- Diversification: you spread risk across several marketing mediums. One of my mentors recalled the story of his client's $30 million health supplement business being destroyed when Amazon shut their account down. It was their only source of distribution. Bad idea.
- Omnipresence: be in all of the same places where your target market's decision makers spend their time and attention.