BY ROBIN GHOSH
( FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST, BENGAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY)
KOLKATA, 28 JUNE 2022
Once the product market fit gets nailed, you have to get ready to launch your product or service. For a startup, this is the most exciting point. This is what could be called as the aha moment!!
Now you are in the ground, and you would face hard realities.The challenge is multidimensional. You have to play many roles, adopt many techniques, many multilayered strategies to make your project a success.
The first challenge is to prepare yourself to play many roles. Since you are a startup, you do not have a big suitcase of resources to employ a team. You have to be flexible to execute any work from data operator to general manager sales. The second challenge is to acquire customers and retain them. How do you do that? You will have to develop a marketing and sales model.
Curating an effective sales funnel and marketing channel requires mastermind. No doubt. Master marketeers. But the startup team, at the same time, has to understand and realise the pull push mechanism of a given market . Lessons are available to internalize intricacies of market dynamics. Take for example, the AIDA model.The startup team should introspect the model and identify the steps.
The AIDA model is a unified set of theorems which helps to identify the critical levers of marketing and sales. A stands for awareness.
Ensure customers are aware about your product. I refer to interest. Once he is aware of your product, he needs to be interested in your product .
D – denotes desire. Convinced with the benefits of the product, he now needs to be psycho looped to buy the product. The second A refers to action. Create a psycho support system so that the customer is motivated to put his finger on the buying button. Focused marketing and sales initiatives are non-negotiable. Another important para issue is how do you handle customer acquisitions and retention of customers? To meet this challenge, the startup team has to learn, gather, improvise skills so that a healthy balance is achieved. You have to learn the tactics of a marathon runner . Fast, slow, fast . Slow ,fast, slow. While launching your product, the next critical issue is branding.
Most of the startups which achieved sustainable growth have been due to effective brand development strategy and execution. Brand building is the key wireframe of your business. It is the identity of your business. Only when you are a brand, you are a product, and you are in business. You may ask what brand it is?
Simple answer to this question is that a brand is the persona of your product or service. Brand is trust. Brand is guaranteed assurance of quality, product attributes, packaging and delivery. In short, it is a promise you have sold to your customers. Building a brand, indeed, is a noble task. A key task. The responsibility of the founding team is to ensure preservation, continuity and refurbishing of the brand.
Once the brand is created and business starts flowing, there is now pious work of performance check. Watching critical metrics to monitor whether you are upto the mark. Identifying the required metrics is an intelligence work. The startup team must understand this and consult experts .
Metrics have to be curated depending on the basis of the company’s plan, milestones, benchmarks and sales and marketing targets. Metrics apart, post launch, there are areas where you have to look into. For example, while launching your product, you had a product design in mind, but when your product is placed in the market, customer response demands improvisation in design and features. This issue is to be taken up by the startup team.
Another area which demands active attention is customer feedback. This is the most important guiding light to improve process design and product features.
Finally, the atom that will ensure success is the speed at which you act. How you navigate to create the ideal product market fit. Never allow your competitors overtake you.