As you know, one of the biggest problems our entrepreneurs managing projects that have R&D quality and are powerful in terms of technologic aspect is the fact that they do not/cannot know how to approach marketing issue. I observe that entrepreneurs who are successful in our country and globally think of marketing, and of course, selling their products since the first minute of the idea stage. What do entrepreneurs have to pay attention to in terms of marketing, which is obviously so critical? I have tried to summarize below for you how they can pass this process without any damage. I hope that this aspirin-like and pain-relieving information will create initiatives in the form of aspirin…
Being leader; if you have caught the blue ocean, immediately dive and enjoy the pleasure of being first. In some cases, even if you are the first, I hear that you immediately say that the companies that entered the market later are more successful. This situation is related to being memorable in fact, that is, a company may be more memorable if it enters the market later. For example; the Altair 8800 did not survive for a long time, despite being the ancestor of the personal computers (PC) that are very common today. Unlike the Altair 8800, which was put on the market in 1974, Apple computers that were launched on the market in 1976 have been more memorable and carry their success up to this day. Perhaps the most important factor for Apple to stay in mind was the choice of a simple and memorable name, even though it was at a similar level of technology. Compare “Apple” and “MITS Altair 8800” in terms of name.
If you cannot be the first and/or become memorable in a field, try to find another category that you might be first and try to be the leader of that category and stay in the minds. For example; while tooth paste says it is preventing tooth decay and the other one claims that it is whitening, etc.
Perception; Many entrepreneurs believe that marketing is the battle of products and think that in the long term the best product always wins. Focusing on more and various specifications and spending their years on developing R&D and technology, tens of entrepreneurs feel like a fish out of water and do not have an idea how to sell their products. They think that once they manufacture the product and put it on the internet, they will sell it anyway. Bu this is not the fact. In the eyes of the customer/end user, it is likely that the technology you have developed will not have much value. Have you ever seen any end users that boasted about his/her 22 nanometers of space between transistors in the computer chip, as the one of the addressee is 45 nanometers? At least, I did not see it. But there are millions of customers who say, “When I play games on my computer, graphics are great, I love the quality of the picture, I feel like in the game itself.” So what the customer perceives as a result of your production is important. I would suggest you to watch the TED talk on the link for the relationship between perception and reality. Marketing is actually a war of perceptions, not products. Another point about perception is the word-of-mouth marketing. What decides whether your product is good or not is what customers think about your product. That’s why it is so valuable to talk about people who are positive about your product.
Focus; In fact, everybody that has been involved in entrepreneurship anyway knows this. Being Lean (start-up), which we can translate as plainness and simplicity, is also critical for entrepreneurs. We should also not ignore MVP (Minimum Viable Product), which is the simplest product that can meet the needs of the customer and offers a solution. However, in terms of marketing, being Lean is being able to touch the customer’s life. For Mercedes this is German engineering, for Volvo this safety, for Pepsi this youth and for Domino’s this is delivery service. And what is yours?
Leadership; in the light of general acceptance and experience in marketing, two players become chiefs in both local and global markets in the long term. McDonald’s and Burger King, Nike and Adidas, Arçelik and Vestel are examples for you. I cannot stop reminding you of the sentence of GE’s legendary CEO Jack Welch. He says, “Globalization and increasing competition allows only the first and second parties to win. The others are obliged to be sold and closed.” Take your position in the first 2 and if you are the 2nd, take your position according to the leader, but never imitate it.
Future; It is impossible to predict the future. It will probably disappoint you to adhere to the phrases like “This product will sell out quickly 5 years later, this sector will boom 7 years later”. For the soothsayer entrepreneurs who say “I know the future very well, I have a command of the market”, I suggest to find and read the story of Iridium Satellite company in the late 90’s.
Also, please do not be under the illusion that the world turns around you when you catch some tractions and become a speaker at a few start-up events. Many start-ups have been disappeared saying that we already managed marketing, nothing will happen to us.
My last word; the whole team must undertake marketing. Remember that marketing is sensitive enough not to be left to the marketing department alone. My final statement for the entrepreneurs who are ignoring the abovementioned and the technology intensive entrepreneurs is that you will continue to say “mine is better, but the customer does not understand” for another 500 years.
Note: For the above article, I have frequently taken advantage of the book of Al Ries and Jack Trout’s “22 Rules of Marketing”. Endless thanks.