MODULE 1—RAF MARKETING METHOD INTRODUCTION
The three primary reasons why startups fail:
1. No one PRODUCTIZES the offering. They don’t identify how the idea’s FEATURES actually BENEFIT anyone. They don’t have a clue who their target AUDIENCE is. They design a logo, put up a website, and publish a bunch of advertising on the net, without identifying a need or even desire for their product or service (offering). They don’t bother to look for competitors already producing the same or similar offerings. And they don’t project how the product/service will make money now or in the future.
2. LAUNCH without INFRASTRUCTURE to support BRAND or Fulfillment. Once PRODUCTIZATION is complete, BRANDING must be created and standardized, so it appears the same across different media—from online advertising to print campaigns—to build brand awareness. Most startup launch without creating and distributing BRAND STANDARDS to all stakeholders, so marketing efforts fail to build brand awareness.
Launching with no infrastructure to support fulfillment means the startup fails to fulfill purchased orders of their offering, or their website platform can not scale with an increase in users or site activity. STARTUPS MUST DELIVER on promises (features, benefits/solutions) OUT OF THE GATE, and be able to fulfill ALL ORDERS, and have the infrastructure to scale, FAST!
3. Startup does not invest in research and development. The launch of their first offering goes well. Their sales out of the gate are great! The problems arise when the startup rides on this initial wave of success too long. They have no plans, and no one in the company is working on NEW PRODUCTS, or FEATURES…2.0, 2.1…etc. In this internet age, with any successful offering, potential competitors are going to know about it. Fast. And there will be those who will copy, and surpass that initial success. This fact makes it imperative that Horizontal & Vertical marketing of new products/services be ongoing. And new offerings should be releasing EVERY 6-12 months, MINIMUM! Welcome to the internet age.
Avoid these common startup failures with the RAF gorilla (not guerrilla, as MARKETING should NOT be stealth), MARKETING method of actualizing your ideas into products and services of value, for profit.
Startups Fail by Starting-Up BackAsswards
Most innovators launch a startup backwards. They put up a website and slam the internet with less than effective advertising and marketing campaigns because it doesn’t cost anything to publish online. They don’t get much traction with their roll-out marketing efforts, and keep investing more time and energy into advertising, but still don’t get more than a few customers, who likely don’t last long.
In Silicon Valley, this is known as the “Fire, Ready, Aim,” method of starting up. And invariably leads to startup failure.
Lean Startup Marketing teaches the “Ready, Aim, Fire—” RAF MARKETING method of actualizing a product or startup, to realize the most benefit— the greatest return on your marketing investment, at launch, and beyond. (LSM_Pic1)
The RAF MARKETING method is a process, delivered step-by-step, in three WORKSHOP series, each building on the previous steps, to guide you through the process of turning an IDEA into an offering of value, something someone, besides you, wants. Each WORKSHOP will drill down and detail the steps you must take, to actualize your idea into a product or service to sell directly (on Amazon, Etsy, EBay), or your first offering of many to come by launching a STARTUP.
To effectively actualize an idea for profit, and vastly increase your odds of startup success you must implement the RAF MARKETING method IN ORDER:
WORKSHOP 1. Step 1—Get Ready, and PRODUCTIZE your idea into an offering of value.
WORKSHOP 2. Step 2—Take Aim, and BRAND your offering to target markets.
WORKSHOP 3. Step 3—Fire. LAUNCH marketing campaigns, with consistent branding across media.
All LEAN STARTUP MARKETING WORKSHOPS assume you have the knowledge and means to produce the offering you envision. PRODUCTIZATION and BRANDING do NOT require your idea already be actualized. MARKETING your idea should happen simultaneously with developing it. By WORKSHOP 3— LAUNCH, however, you must have a complete, and quality-tested offering to sell.
Employ the RAF MARKETING Process for Startup Success
We’ve started broad so far, but each of the three LSM WORKSHOPS drills down and closely examines the RAF MARKETING methodology step-by-step. (LSM_Pic2) Execute these steps [IN ORDER] to market your idea into an offering of value, for profit.
WORKSHOP 1. Step 1: Get Ready— PRODUCTIZE your idea into an offering.
PRODUCTIZATION is the most neglected step in starting up, and the most important. Taking an idea and turning it into a product someone actually wants requires defining your idea’s characteristics clearly, concisely, and specifically. This process is a must for startup success, but also to grow any business into a lasting company of value.
PRODUCTIZATION is an essential part of the MARKETING PROCESS. Many startups have never taken the time, or put in the effort, or simply don’t know how to PRODUCTIZE their offering/s. PRODUCTIZATION comes before BRANDING, as it gives us correlated CONTENT to create a BRAND around the Features, Benefits/Solutions, Target Markets and Users, who will find value in our offering.
If your startup has launched without an intimate understanding (in documentation) of what your offering IS, DOES, and WHO will find benefit from using it, it’s likely your marketing efforts won’t receive the CONVERSION—people purchasing your offering, or signing up for your service (not just clicking on your ad)—needed to sustain and grow any business.
Whether you are hoping to develop an IDEA, or a product in development, or more effectively MARKET an offering already produced and being sold, the PRODUCTIZATION process will help you to set up your business for sustained success, by providing your offering an infrastructure (PRODUCTIZATION), to your support BRAND.
We begin the journey of creating a product or service from an idea through the process of PRODUCTIZATION.
To PRODUCTIZE your idea, you must identify what its FEATURES and BENEFITS are, and what SOLUTIONS your projected offering provides for specific TARGET MARKETS and groups of people.
Next, you must find out if anyone else has already done your idea. If they have, don’t give up on your projected product or service! Come up with DIFFERENTATORS— new features and benefits for your offering that are different, better than your competitors.
Potential HORIZONTAL and VERTICAL markets must be identified in the initial PRODUCTIZATION phase to insure you have a continual stream of people to sell to.
Constructing an ELEVATOR PITCH will give you the words to chat up your offering quickly and concisely. Create buzz, even before the offering is produced.
And finally, determining an initial PROFIT MODEL for launch, as well as a year, and five down the line, will keep all stakeholder on the path to creating an offering to sell.
The PRODUCTIZATION process helps us get intimate with our idea. Whether your idea is already actualized into a product or service, or it is still just an idea in your head, PRODUCTIZATION teaches us about what we think we have, and gives us insight into the people who will find a purpose for, or value in our offering, even if it’s simply to have more fun! PRODUCTIZATION also provides us with direction on developing and producing an offering of monetary value, that is able to compete with similar offerings already out there. Additionally, adhering to the process, IN ORDER, assures us we have a continual stream of target markets in which to sell our product or service. And the best bit, PRODUCTIZATION gives us the CONTENT—lists of WORDS—features, benefits and solutions our offering provides, that we’ll need in the BRANDING process to create marketing and advertising campaigns that builds brand awareness and ultimately sells our offering.
Effective Marketing BEGINS with the PRODUCTIZATION process.
WORKSHOP 2. Step 2: Take Aim— Brand offering to target markets.
When you BRAND your offering (or projected offering) to target markets, you are effectively putting a ‘face’ on your idea, so it becomes something, instead of just an idea. The BRANDING process does not require your offering be produced, as you can develop brand identity, advertising and marketing campaigns to generate excitement about your upcoming offering simultaneously with creating it.
Whether a product, service, and/or new company, BRANDING begins with a name. Naming a startup is like naming a newborn.
We give children language to communicate. We give our new venture a ‘voice’ with Taglines— an essential component of the corporate identity, to communicate who we are and what we have to offer.
Understanding graphic design is essential to creating effective marketing.
A corporate I.D., also known as a logo, must be as dynamic on a Twitter feed, as the side of a building. You must create an complete identity for your startup, but also for each offering released.
BRANDING is an ongoing process. Advertising and marketing tools and campaigns must be continually developed for launch content and beyond. Lean Startup Marketing covers online technology basics, from UI and UX, to ‘responsive’ design that looks great on the PC, as well as mobile devices. Then we parlay this knowledge into building stunning websites and online marketing campaigns to launch your new offering, at little to no cost.
You’ll begin a professional image library of pictures and video clips to use in your marketing material. And learn tips and tricks of SEO copywriting to creating attention grabbing headlines, email campaigns, and micro-posts that improve your search engine ranking, and get response.
WORKSHOP 2— BRANDING will give you the step-by-step process to produce product and corporate identities, as well as create professional marketing and advertising campaigns that effectively launch your new venture, and garnering the greatest response to your marketing efforts.
WORKSHOP 3. Step 3: Fire—Launch marketing campaigns with consistent branding across all media.
All the branded marketing material and advertising campaigns that you created in Take Aim, you now FIRE— Launch those campaigns at your target markets.
First, publish your website, which is your virtual storefront, and should include all your new venture offers.
Next, launch your initial Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns, and physical print media, with management tools and proven strategies to increase brand awareness. Include website links, as well as special offers and incentives to entice first adopters at launch.
Make sure to include email marketing in your launch campaigns. Email is the #1 way we SELL today.
Next, you solicit PR, get press, ratings, do interviews, write articles for industry rags, do guest blogs or vlogs, to get other people to chat you up.
We’ll explore the emerging marriage of AI (artificial intelligence) and big data analytics— the next big thing in personalized targeted marketing.
And lastly, we’ll review where, and how to get funding for your new venture.
I’ve brought Tom Edison into the LSM journey because Tom was an entrepreneur who actualized his ideas into products for profit. (LSM_Pic3)“Genius is 1% INSPIRATION and 99% PERSPIRATION,” Tom said after 5,000 attempts at the light bulb before creating one that didn’t explode.
Effective MARKETING is SELLING, and is achieved incrementally through endless iterations.
So, do the work.
The #1 Way to Launch a Successful Business
The RAF MARKETING method is one of the most effective ways to launch a new product and/or startup. However, even if you follow this process step-by-step—you get ready and productize your idea. You brand your offering and launch it with tightly targeted advertising and marketing campaigns…
The BEST way to get traction for you new venture is through the PEOPLE you meet along the way.
I can not stress this enough.
It applies to every level of business, whether you’re looking for a job, or creating a startup, or hiring for your company. NETWORK. (LSM_Pic4)
After all, it’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know that will help pave your path to success.
This is LEAN STARTUP MARKETING
Marketing must sell FEATURES and BENEFITS that continually fulfill NEED to successfully develop, and ultimately grow any business (beyond the freakish, short-lived fad).
While the foundation of marketing remains the same as it’s always been, today’s marketing methods are different than ever before with the advent of the internet. We can now market a product or service before it’s ever built— create buzz, excitement, even before launching the offering. At product launch, we can reach an expansive audience, like never before, through social media marketing (SMM), and more. And we can do all this with the RAF MARKETING process, at little to no cost.
Invest the time to actualize your ideas, and create a job you love. Walk the process you’ll learn in these WORKSHOPS step-by-step, and dramatically increase your odds of startup success.
Again, LSM WORKSHOPS assumes you have the knowledge and means to produce the offering you envision. But taking an idea, and turning it into a product or service that actually makes money, requires an intimate knowledge of MARKETING. Whether you have your MBA, or are new to the marketing game, all the marketing you need to know to launch and grow a successful business is in the next two chapters.
MODULE 1—RAF MARKETING METHOD REVIEW
• The three primary reasons why startups fail:
- No one productizes the offering.
- Launch without infrastructure to support brand or fulfillment.
- Little to no Research and Development (R&D)
• The RAF Marketing method is an acronym for “Ready, Aim, Fire,” to help you remember to perform PRODUCTIZATION, BRANDING, AND LAUNCH, IN ORDER, to effectively actualize an idea into an offering of value, for profit.
• GET READY means PRODUCTIZE your idea—identify its features and the benefit the offering provides for a specific group of people.
• TAKE AIM means BRAND your idea—put a ‘face’ on your potential offering with corporate identity and a body of advertising to sell it with.
• FIRE means LAUNCH your new offering (through advertising and marketing campaigns) to your target audiences.
• NETWORKING is the #1 way to get traction for your new venture. NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK! It’s really NOT what you know, but who you know that will help pave your path to success.
MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS is next…