Startup Marketing 101: A Framework for Founders

Startup Marketing 101: A Framework for Founders

You're a new Founder venturing into the realm of marketing and feeling like the task of building a brand is both exciting and daunting. 

You want to dive in, but don't know which steps to take and when.

Does that sound like you?

The journey ahead is lined with crucial decisions, and the sequence in which you embark on these decisions can significantly impact your success.

But fear not - we're here to guide you through this labyrinth of brand building. 

And we know it's a common pitfall for Founders to leap straight to Step 12, diving into tactical marketing maneuvers before laying down a solid strategy, brand identity, messaging or content frameworks.

Yet, this impulsive skip often leads to a costly cycle of trial and error, squandering both time and resources in the process.

So don't decorate your marketing house, before building the walls and floors first. 

Below, are the fundamental steps of a marketing strategy to Unleash Your Brand Potential:

STEP 1: MARKET & COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
When starting a marketing strategy, one must first understand the market, the competitive landscape and where one's brand fits in. This includes investing in:
  • PMF (Product Marketing Fit) Analysis 
  • Competitive Whitespace Analysis 
  • Pricing Analysis 
  • Social Listening 
  • Qualitative Research (Surveys, Industry Reports, Platform Reports)
  • Quantitative Research (Surveys, Interviews, Focus Groups)
STEP 2: AUDIENCE PERSONAS
Out of all the steps this is arguably the most important as choices of channels, content and tactics all stem from nailing one's personas. I've seen a ton of brand and social strategies fail, because the startup didn't know who their audience truly was. Audience should always be at the centre of any marketing choices. 
  • Demographics (age, gender, location, income level, education)
  • Firmographics (company size, industry, revenue, and organizational structure)
  • Psychographics (lifestyle, habits, values, hobbies)
  • Audience World (The world in which your audience lives, works, and interacts. Narratives that encompass their daily routines, challenges, goals, and aspirations)
STEP 3: OBJECTIVES
Once a clear overview of the market and audience is formed, then it's important to set Smart (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timebound Goals).
  • Business Objectives
  • Marketing Objectives
  • Brand Objectives
  • Founder Brand Objectives
  • Channel Specific Objectives (i.e. social, email, PR etc.)

    STEP 4: PERSONAL BRAND STRATEGY

    For a startup, their Founder(s) brand is often even more important than their company brand. According to LinkedIn data Founders have 10X more reach on the platform than their companies. But it's not just important for reach. There are many reasons to invest in a personal brand including securing VC funding, grants, sales, talent and PR opportunities. 

    • The Founder Story
    • Founder LinkedIn Strategy
    • Executive Team LinkedIn Strategy 
    • Personal Brand Content Pillars
    • Founder Pitch Deck 

      STEP 5: BRAND STRATEGY

      Brand strategy is the compass that guides your startup's journey through the competitive landscape. It encompasses the core principles and decisions that shape how your brand is perceived by the world. From defining your brand's mission, vision, and values to outlining your unique positioning in the market, every aspect of your strategy plays a pivotal role in establishing a meaningful connection with your audience. Explore the art of crafting a brand strategy that not only differentiates you from competitors but also resonates with the hearts and minds of your target customers. 

      • The Brand Story
      • Brand Mission
      • Brand Vision
      • Brand Archetypes
      • Brand Values
      • Brand Voice
      • Brand Tagline

      STEP 6: BRAND IDENTITY

      Your startup's brand identity is more than just a logo—it's the visual representation of your company's values, personality, and promise to your customers. From the design of your logo and typography choices to the carefully curated color palettes and impactful imagery, every element works together to create a cohesive and memorable brand presence.

      • Logo (Main, Reverse, Iterations)
      • Typography (Headline, Title, Button)
      • Color Palette (Primary)
      • Color Palette (Secondary)
      • Imagery 
      • Iconography 
      • Design Aesthetic 
      STEP 7: CONTENT STRATEGY
      For startups, a well-defined content strategy is not just a luxury—it's a necessity for building brand awareness, driving customer engagement, and ultimately, fueling growth. The below are systems and frameworks to help ease both the process and effectiveness of content creation. 
      • Content Strategy 
      • Content Pillar & Cluster Strategy
      • Article Frameworks
      • Customer Journey Map
      • Content Calendar 
      STEP 8: MESSAGING
      Without the right messaging, you won't cut through the clutter. By investing time and effort into developing a comprehensive messaging strategy that encompasses USPs, brand voice, tagline, core messages per audience, hook strategy, hashtag strategy, and brand lexicon, startups can effectively communicate their brand's value proposition, attract their target audience, and establish a strong brand presence in the market.
      • USPs
      • Core Messages per Audience
      • Hook Strategy 
      • Hashtag Strategy 
      • Brand Lexicon
      STEP 9: BUDGET STRATEGY
      Determine an appropriate marketing budget based on objectives, competition, market and estimated ROI. 
      • Yearly Budget
      • Channel Budget 
      STEP 10: CHANNEL STRATEGY
      Many founders jump into investing in channels before knowing their audiences and their preferences. It's paramount to align channels with target audience preferences. You need to go where they are - instead of trying to bring them to you. 
      • Founder Strategy
      • Website 
      • Social
      • Email
      • PR / Comms
      • Print
      • SEM/SEO
      • Paid Social
      STEP 11: MEASUREMENT STRATEGY

      Data is the fuel for your Startup's fire. But it is not just a collection of numbers—it's the compass that guides informed decisions and propels growth. A robust measurement strategy is the cornerstone of understanding the impact of your efforts, whether it's strengthening your company's brand presence, enhancing personal branding initiatives, driving consideration among potential customers, or generating valuable leads. 

      • Company Brand KPIs
      • Personal Brand KPIs
      • Consideration KPIs
      • Lead Generation KPIs
      STEP 12: CONTENT CREATION
      Finally comes the part where you put your strategy and vision into execution mode! 
      • Videos
      • Articles
      • Social Media posts
      • UGC
      • Blogs
      • Podcasts
      • Emails
      • Events
      STEP 13: PARTNERSHIP / CREATOR STRATEGY 
      Once you have a handle on your own marketing strategy, then it's time to expand outwards to other organizations that will help you expand your reach and brand presence. 
      • Cobranded Content
      • Collaborative Content 
      • Influencer / Creator strategy
      • Affiliate Marketing strategy
      • Referral strategy

      ________________________________________________________________________

      Need help with your Founder's Personal Brand or Startup's Marketing Strategy? 

      Contact us to Unleash your Personal or Company Brand's Potential.

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