5. Awareness


If you build it, they will come only if they know it exists.

As a startup, the first step of your marketing plan is to tell the world that your company and your solution exist. Given that the world is big and all efforts of raising awareness require time and resources, you will want to focus these efforts toward your target customers.

If you succeed at this goal, then your potential customers will have heard of your company and know something about your solution before your sales team makes initial contact and tries to make them a customer.

In the ideal case, these potential customers are calling your company on the phone or emailing or filling out order forms, asking to buy your product. For a startup, that is a rare occurrence. It would be a sign of a painful problem desperately in need of a solution.

The next best case would be a list of “sales leads.” Sales leads are potential customers who have shown interest somehow, e.g., by filling out an information form, visiting a booth at a trade show, attending a company event, or attending a conference. For some industries, you can buy lists of sales leads, i.e., lists of names, email addresses, and phone numbers of people who likely have the problem you are solving.

If your marketing is working, when you email or call a potential customer, that person has read an article or blog post about your company and at least knows of your company, though perhaps not anything about the specifics of your solution.

If your customers have never heard of your product, then your sales efforts will be far more difficult, will take far more time, and will be far less successful. Building market momentum can be very expensive if you rely on your sales team to build awareness and create demand.


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