Stay ahead of the curve by implementing the right business strategy at every stage

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Your marketing strategies will change depending on where you are in your company’s growth cycle – starting up, scaling up, undergoing a transformation – and only by understanding how marketing evolves with the stages of your business can you stay ahead and thrive.

If you’re a startup, it’s smart to chart a course for rapid growth. Start marketing as soon as you can, and make sure it aligns with your company’s goals and objectives. How valuable your first marketing campaign is depends in part on where your business falls at the entrepreneurial level: do you have an innovative idea that has proven itself, or are you trying to solve a problem that no one knows about yet? Either way, focus on what makes your product different from everyone else on the market.

seed stage

Early-stage startups do a lot of research, but there’s still plenty you can do to make a great first impression and speed up your product development process. Marketing is vital to help your business spread the word about your product and build your brand.

Analyzing competition pays off. Focus on the companies your product is trying to beat. Be sure to consider all aspects of their products, including marketing strategies, price points, and customer demographics. Use these products as case studies to round out your marketing efforts.

At the same time, you need to focus on the fit of the product to the market, not just your product. If it’s different enough and solves a real problem, you’re on the right track. If it simply meets an existing need or doesn’t fill a certain void in the market, it’s best to rework your model.

You want to make sure your business model is in place before you start marketing so you can control costs and risks at this point. Make sure you understand marketing costs and how they fit into broader business goals.

Related: The Importance of an Effective Marketing Strategy in Achieving Your Business Goals

Launch phase, awareness

Preparing a launch marketing campaign is crucial and it is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, investments you will make during your startup. Take your time and do it right; you want to make sure your marketing is as effective as possible when it comes time to launch.

You have a limited amount of time at this stage – just under 90 days and usually just three – so start right away. Align your marketing efforts with each launch phase for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. The most successful companies use their marketing budget at all stages of product release, targeting the core audience from the start and maintaining a long-term engagement until later in the lifecycle with an expanded customer base.

Formulate your core message early and make it easy for people to connect with your company.

Growth and Survival Phase

Once your business has built a loyal customer base and is generally stable, it’s time to explore how to differentiate your product, market position, and business.

Now is an excellent time to assess what other marketing strategies are working for you and how they can be adapted to changing needs. Let’s say you have an audience that is interested in social media marketing, but not in organic search. It may be worth giving organic search a try before committing to ads or promotions.

Marketing should no longer be a new release at this stage – it should be part of the core strategy from the start. Companies must constantly compare their marketing strategies over time to stay competitive and gain a broader understanding of how their products fit in the market.

Expansion and segmentation phase

At this stage, you need to make sure that your product is still relevant to the market – make it as attractive as possible to as many people as possible by expanding your customer base. Focus on expansion by identifying opportunities from both within and outside your current market.

You can look for new markets or try to reposition products in your existing market in terms of marketing. Expanding into new markets provides an opportunity for growth, but may require some adjustments to your product and business model. By repositioning you can appeal to a wider audience while keeping the same product and business model. However, it often means making changes, such as adding more features or launching additional products.

Related: How to Bring Authenticity to Your Startup Marketing Strategy

maturity stage

At this stage, you need to prioritize and plan for growth by entering into strategic partnerships and acquiring or collaborating with other companies. As you grow, you need to determine which markets to focus on and which different growth strategies can be implemented.

Marketing should no longer be a new release at this stage – it should be part of the core strategy from the start of your company’s lifecycle.

When expanding into new markets, focus on finding existing partners in hopes of replicating successful partnerships in other markets. You can also later acquire or partner with competitors if you decide that growth through acquisition is the best option for your business.

An ongoing process

Your business will continue to evolve throughout its lifecycle and your marketing strategy should follow suit. That’s why you need to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in marketing. This includes regularly evaluating your product’s market position and developing new features that can appeal to an even wider audience. New products may be accompanied by new messages. They must be marketed separately, but consistency is essential for growth. Consider how multiple products can be marketed together.

Select some strategies and tools that appeal to different audiences, but generally make sure they work together. Remember that marketing success depends on a combination of both innovation and execution.

Small business marketing plans are essential documents for the success of your small business. The marketing plan outlines the strategies and tactics you will use to increase your brand visibility and brand awareness to create a more profitable business.

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