Building a product is exciting. Ideas flow, people hustle; they’re all focused on solving a shared problem.
Building a great product doesn’t guarantee your startup’s success. On the contrary, success is composed of many steps, and a startup needs more than just a great product to thrive.
One of the most critical steps that we often see neglected is an organization’s marketing team.
There’s a widespread idea that having a marketing team is either a waste of money or it’s something you can put off until the right stage of product development.
As a matter of fact, marketing follows every step of product development in one way or another.
So, let’s start with the basics.
You’re a CEO or a startup founder, and you’re thinking of building a groundbreaking marketing team. At this point, you probably wondering how big your marketing team needs to be and which positions you need to fill.
And, it’s a perfectly valid question. There’s so much written about marketing tactics, but not so much about figuring out what kind of team you need and whom you should hire.
In this post, I’ll answer that question and guide you through the process of building your startup marketing team.
1.Start With A Strong Go-To-Market Strategy And An Activator
Determining your go-to-market strategy is crucial to building a cost-effective business. In fact, the math behind your SaaS go-to-market strategy can determine the success of your product even before you’ve launched it.
For instance, if you have a low lifetime-value product with a high sales cost, it won’t work out. The same would happen if your price point is low, but you have big goals. If that’s the case, you’d better start building up your community engagement.
In a nutshell, before you even think of launching your product, be sure to develop your approach to marketing and selling.
Here’s a checklist to guide you through:
Define The Target Market
This is crucial to successfully pitch your product. Cultural and geographical regions are unique and require different solutions across pricing, sales, and channels.
Determine The Buyer
Think of who will benefit from your product. Is your perfect buyer a C-Level executive or an IT manager? Or, maybe you’re targeting solopreneurs. Think of the person that will benefit from your product and make sure it truly resonates with them.
Define Your Value Proposition
What does your product do that other products can’t? What are the key benefits your solution brings to the table? Make sure your strategy shows what your product can do while emphasising outcomes, results, and past successes.
Set The Pricing Strategy
A good way to determine your price is to follow the 10x rule. or every dollar you charge, you need to provide at least 10 in value for your client. Even if it’s intangible ROI, your price should bring them 10x the value.
Address Marketing And Promotion
This is when you determine how you will promote your solution. Each type of customer needs a different approach. Think of the amount of contact you will need to attract your customers and how to make your solution visible to them.
Devise The Channel Strategy
A channel strategy is the vendor’s plan for moving a product or a service through the chain of commerce to the customer. Are you going to sell your product via indirect channels with intermediaries or are you planning to sell it directly through your website?
2. Decide On Your Hiring Structure
This is crucial for building a marketing team. You need to decide whether you’ll hire freelancers and contractors or full-time employees. Both choices are great, but you can likely leverage both in different ways.
Let’s take a look:
When you hire a freelancer, you benefit from their knowledge and flexibility. Freelancers often cater to different clients and know their craft quite well, which makes them suitable for specific jobs or positions you might have to train an employee for.
For instance, you can hire copywriters, SEO analysts, paid ad experts, social media managers, and even developers on a contract basis.
Now, this can be trickier, but there are some roles you need a full-time person to fill. You need, for instance, a marketing manager to coordinate the efforts of your marketing team. This person needs to have a working knowledge of content strategy, SEO, PPC, social media, and project management, and that calls for a dedicated, full-time professional.
3. Get a Brand Consultant
You might have a great idea of what your product is, how to build a groundbreaking marketing team, or how to structure a marketing department. But, do you know how to build a brand and make it impactful enough?
Sometimes, it can be better to find a third party to create these details for you, particularly because we are all attached to our creations, which adds subjectivity to an objective process.
A branding consultant has the tools to build your brand and make your already amazing product shine by helping you express your brand’s message and changing your brand’s focus from a product-centered brand to a human-centered one.
4. Build Your Content Team First
“Content is king.” By now, you’ve probably heard this marketing saying a few times, but it’s actually truer now than ever before. Content marketing is like a retirement plan. You make steady investments over time, and that investment grows.
To build a successful content machine you need the following positions:
A strategy is not a calendar. On the contrary, your strategy is the compass that guides your content efforts. Your strategy needs to answer four main questions.
- Who is your audience?
- How are you educating them?
- How is your content helping your audience?
- How can you measure your results?
After you have a roadmap, you need to bring it to life. Your editorial planner needs to answer these three questions:
- What is the best format for this content?
- What is the content creation process?
- What is the style and tone of voice for your branded content?
Mark my words: Don’t hire a writer without having a strategy.
Hiring a great writer is vital, but you can’t hire a writer and expect great results without a strategy. Also, not all writers are equal and they all have different skill sets. And, if possible, try to find content creators with at least a working knowledge of your industry to avoid costly mistakes.
5. Start With Free Tools
Executing your core competency is the best way to build a successful business. Luckily for us, there are plenty of tools that enable us to do exactly that.
Marketing tools can be expensive, especially if you have a big digital marketing team.
Thankfully, many solutions offer freemium subscriptions that let you test the waters before committing to an ongoing fee.
Take a look at:
Canva for design work. The free version will help you build assets just like building powerpoint. It’s super easy to use.
Google Marketing Platform will help you get moving with analytics and other essential insights for your business.
Typeform Basic’s free account will allow you to set up surveys.
Hubspot has a free CRM program to get you started and you can upgrade across their tech stack as you go.
Cat Williams-Treloar founded Humanisation, a Human-Centered Marketing Consultancy. Humanisation was born to help startups make a human impact in a digital world as they Go-To-Market across APAC.Cat is a Hubspot agency partner and a paying customer of Canva, Google, Typeform and Hubspot.