Tada, look what we’ve created!
I split startup founders into two (very broad) categories:
- The problem solvers: Founders who have designed a product based on a deep understanding of a real problem for a reasonable sized target audience.
- The geniuses (seriously)!: Founders who have created a technological masterpiece… and don’t quite know what to do with it. Tada, look what we’ve created!
The problem solvers: Have endorsed strategic marketing from early on and are working within market forces to make decisions about their company and product (which for a long time is the same entity). They have done their research and know they are solving a problem for a significant sized target audience.
The geniuses: Have created a product of love because they can and because they want to. They’ve experienced a specific pain in some aspect of their work or life, having to work around a solution has bugged them repeatedly and they’ve assumed that this problem is widespread. Their assumption is often correct. More often however, a lot of back pedaling, also known in the industry as ‘a pivot’, will be required in order to successfully launch their product and turn it into something enough people or organisations want to buy.
Both the problem solver and genius startups succeed and fail
As we know, there are many variables to success and marketing is only one of them, but it is guaranteed that the Problem Solvers have a healthier head start and higher chances of success. Prospects understand their product value more easily and so less time will be spent on market education, and exposing the problem itself. When the problem is exposed, prospects understand it quickly and easily: An ‘Aha’ moment, often replaced with, “How did I not know about this sooner?”
The Geniuses should be prepared to spend more money and time to correct any decisions made that were not lead through marketing, and customer requirements research.
The key issue with The Geniuses is that they are blind to the fact they have created a child of love; until they start to market it and knock on doors for funding.
Case study: Coronet, the problem solving startup
Coronet [Disclosure: Coronet is a Marketing Envy client] is a startup that detects and evades eavesdropping, interception and manipulation on Wifi and cellular networks. They are also an excellent example of a company that has embraced strategic marketing from day one.
The problem Coronet is solving? Preventing hackers from commjacking (communication hijacking) cellular and Wifi networks. Apparently most of us are completely oblivious to how easily a commjacker can intercept these networks, on all devices. From there commjackers easily gain access to all of the hacked devices’ accounts and can manipulate them freely.
Without giving away too many secrets, Coronet know they are onto a winner and decided on a two-pronged marketing and therefore business, strategy. On one side, working closely and discreetly with large name brands to protect their corporate data from the hands of commjackers, while at the same time, from from very early on, they embarked on a market education program, to spread the word about the dangers of commjacking.
Commjacking itself is a word that Coronet coined.
Coronet have invested heavily in building a solid R&D team and designing an excellent product. They have not invested in an expensive web site, nor embarked on online campaigns in order to promote the company. Their content, PR and social media strategy have been solely focused on market education. This means that when they do decide to make a public splash about their general availability, much of the awareness and market education work will already be accomplished.
The company is taking the market by storm. It has participated in TechCruch Disrupt, Won the Trailblazer Award and participated in the prestigious CISCO EIR program. Coronet plans to have over 100 million protected devices by the end of 2017. They are also engaged with Fortune 100 Tier 1 brands who immediately understood the problem and the proposed solution.
Stay tuned for much more from them.