Sunday, July 1, 2012

Start-up marketing ideas: cheap and effective

Marketing a start-up is amongst the most challenging tasks an entrepreneur has to undertake. Start-ups compete for the consumers’ mind-share along with established brands in their category that spend crores on marketing. They have to lure new customers and get them to repeat and refer while working on shoe-string budgets. 

The task might seem daunting but it surely isnt impossible. Afterall, the current leading brands were at one point of time start-ups too. In this post we will look at a few cheap and effective marketing strategies that will help start-ups build successfull brands on low budgets.

1] Viral Marketing

Consumer is the best media that a start-up can have. Viral is the strategy to use them to spread a message by proper planning. For that we need to crack a message that people would love to share and then seed it amongst a few influential indivudals who spread this message further and further.

Even a big brand like LG understands and uses the power of viral as seen in the next few ads that consumers saw, liked and shared.

There are many things that the people like to spread .. and nearly every brand can weave a story around those to create a lovable and spreadable campaign. The presentation further illustrates the step by step way to creating a successful viral campaign.

Brands like Sprite and Tmobile have beautifully combined online, offline and PR to create their viral campaigns as seen below.

Tmobile's angry bird ad

2] Brand Associates is another effective start-up marketing strategy. Start-ups can associate with brands in the same Idea, Media or Product space and jointly market, thus decreasing their individual budgets. Lets see a few ways to easily identify these Brand-Associates through some examples.

Complimentary Use (Product Space)

TV channels wont have an audience if there are no TVs. Product categories which are used in collaboration with other categories can find opportunities of association with them. These are complimentary brands.

AXN wants to become the preferred Action channel. And a nice association they spotted was to tie-up with TV manufacturers as shown here.

Gulf News, the UAE's leading English daily newspaper, ties up with coffe chain, Tim Hortons, to reach out to new readers and convert them into subscribers. More in another post.

Compliementary Brand Idea (Brand Space)

Brands from different category that occupy similar emotional space in the consumer's mind can come together to engage with its consumer segment.
For eg. Mercedes Benz and Montblanc, brands that symbolise Success, could collaborate in a marketing campaign to lure its consumer segments. This could also be shown as a brand endorsing the other. And they could even share their database. A risk here could be alienation from customers in their segment who are loayalists of competiting brand. It could be easily avoided by restricting this collaboration in on ecampaign and moving on to other complimentary brands in future campaigns.

Product Placement: (Mediaspace)

Michelin tyres is planning a campaign in India. And they have a good looking car in their ads. Can they show their pilot ad to their French couternpart Renault and get them to put in a fraction of the cost of advertising. I dont see a reason why it wont sell with a auto brand if presented well.

Product placement opportunities in Ads is an effective way of identifying Brand Associates.
Another way of identifying Brand associates through the media space is to identify brands targetting the same consumer segment and thus using similar media to communicate with their audience. Such brands could easily collaborate to evolve a campaign that communicates both the brands effectively.

Heres an example of Mercedes associating with Google, the leading technology company to showcase the high end automation in its cars. It currently fits into the Compliementary Brand Idea strategy as Mercedes wants a rub off of the Google brand on itself to prove excellence in an aspect. But it could have easily been Product Placement and saved Mercedes a few media pennies if it had pitched Google differently

The following presentation by gives us a few more tips on low budget media planning.

As seen in the presentation promotions can even become a revenue generating opportunity if so planned. Lets see a few examples

1] This Happy Happy score of the Parle biscuits ad was downloaded by many Indians as their ring tones and hello tunes to earn extra revenue for the marketing team.

2] Sony music cracked a similar success with the Kolaveri-di music from its Tamil film 3. Listen below to its marketing manager decrypt the success.

3] Media properties like Filmfare Awards and CCD planners (featured below) can be created to generate revenue while promoting the brand. Filfare awards which started out as a promotion for the Bollywood film magazine, Filmfare, is a multi-million rupee revenue opportunity in itself for the brand while still being a great promoter for the magazine.

Read further: how brands can be made into media properties.

4] Brand merchandising is an option available for entertainment brands like Chota Bheem and products that have a distinct identity like the Corona beer, which now sells everything from bikinis to chairs, or Marlboro or Royal Enfield Bullet. Read further: Chota Bheem Ladoos - innovative brand merchandising option.

Learn and develop your Start-up marketing plan through my 'Plink your brand' workshop. Contact .


First mover advantage in branding

Can making of an ad be ad?

Nissan's lie that lead to a viral

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