By Marc Apple
As a Bay Area resident, chances are you’ve run into at least one person that’s working for a “next big thing” startup. In fact, you’ve probably met a few of those, and it’s likely that you can’t remember many details about the company or what they do.
For tech startups, making an impression is important. It keeps a brand at the forefront of the conversation, and that can set the pace for investors, press, viral grassroots publicity, and crowdfunding initiatives. So how do you stand out from a field this crowded? Here’s how a few different innovators approached marketing:
- Capriza, a provider of mobility solutions for conversion of web content to app form, started off traditionally by providing their end users with white papers. However, they put a twist on that by creating attractive infographics that reinforced white paper content — a perfect way to quickly convey information for a technical product.
- Lyft, an app that provides drivers on demand, established their brand identity by putting giant pink mustaches on their driver’s vehicles — instant recognition and a unique conversation starter.
- Postmates, a similar app used to get personal deliveries, built their brand on speed. By committing to delivery “in less than an hour” their value proposition and identity came together in a single memorable phrase.
As these examples show, there’s no one surefire technique that delivers results. Instead, there’s one consistent trait to these examples: the companies played to their target audience. Capriza’s services focus on app development, so a more technical approach was used. Lyft’s revenue is based on people on the street, so they created brand recognition from the road. Postmates established an identity based on delivery speed and built their campaign around it.
Most importantly, these example companies were proactive in distinguishing themselves from the competition. While some may still believe in the adage of “if you build it, they will come,” most situations show that marketing and publicity are necessary to get noticed in the first place — then the quality of your product drives conversion and investors.
For startups, building a product is only half the battle. Marketing traction is just as important for sustaining success past initial investments. Finding the right path for your startup may be a challenge, but it’s worth the time, effort, and energy — and it just may be the difference between long-term viability and getting lost in the crowd.
Want to hear more about startup marketing? Join us for inspiration from expert marketers in the startup trenches, sharing their knowledge of what it really takes to get traction with a new product or service. Whether you’re at a startup or working at an established company, you’ll learn new techniques and get real-world examples from our expert panel. Grab your ticket today and join us on August 19th! – See more at: http://sfama.org/sfamaevent/startup-marketing/
Marc Apple is the founder of Forward Push and VP of Strategic Marketing for the American Marketing Association’s San Francisco chapter. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Forward Push Media is an integrated marketing agency that uses traditional and digital advertising, branding, and social media outlets to inspire measurable brand loyalty and drive sales.