product market fit

I know I know some people and company know already why do they need a good business and marketing strategy and some have no idea “Why do companies need a good business and marketing strategy?” It is not just about marketing, It is branding, social media, positioning, pricing, research etc. too, everything digital in the world of technology and non-digital too.

A good marketing strategy can

  • make you or your company or
  • break you.

Obviously a

  • good product,
  • good pricing strategy
  • good management etc.

too, but a good marketing strategy can do this in a bigger % than the others.

If you do not have or your marketing strategy is bad, then you will have a lot of problems with the revenue making and scaling. It is not like that you will start do something and people always come fast and even if you find the appropriate channels where to marketing yourself, you need to find the fitting strategies as well.

Why do we need strategies?

When you have ideas and time

Let’s imagine you are all alone, do not have a budget but you have a lot of ideas what you have is time, but no money.

  • You need to find out how to make money.
  • You need to find out strategies
  • You need to going through on them.
  • You need to implementing, testing them and choosing the best for the outcome.

When you have time and budget to spend

Let’s imagine you have time and money but no strategy to build/scale up…
you do this and that and still nowhere to get revenue so you are just wasting your time and money…

When you have budget and not time

Let’s imagine you have a strategy and money but no time what will you do?

Outsourcing, you will hire someone who is doing better than you. This is a #strategy too.

Not because you would not be able to do it, but because this is a profession and you need professionals who have the experiences, the network, the connections and the strategy in that new field.

You will not have a time to research all strategy, which will be the best for you or your company.

No.

No, you will not learn it for tomorrow or next week.

Not even for next month.

Marketing is an ever evolving and changing field and it is changing fast.

Takes years to learn first horizontally, then vertically and need to adapt fast if something is changing fast.

Time

You will have no time to do everything well if you have a product/solution as you will need some kind of a strategy to be able to develop that product/solution to have a good product market fit, then you should start the marketing. It is just not work like this.

You need to

  • find more customers,
  • manage the company,
  • have time for yourself.

So better if some part of it you trust on professionals who are doing this since years…especially the branding and #marketing part which generate leads and revenue

Obviously the other parts similarly important but the ones which create more revenue are more important. At least if you build a company to make a living.

If you think that is expensive, then think about like that:

You are not paying for that one strategy all alone, but paying for the years of experiences

  • until that one person or company you hire find out what is working and what is not in a strategy and in your industry…
  • until that company realized how can you or your company position and branding to the best possible way…

so think it as an #investment…and a good one.

Do you want to work on it for years to find out all alone or do you want a marketing strategy from a professional?

Start-ups and market approval

Start-up != market approval
even if you do everything well.

Here is a video how it works in reality.

start-ups not equal to market approval

After i was building 125 000 followers on a Space on Quora and a Blog top of it I realized and learned some strategies works while others not, when you are building a community and a blog, even me had to change the blog‘s url after that blog operated for 9 months already (I built the blog on top of that community itself and there were problems with too long url, not too user friendly etc.) and it was harsh but it needed to be done.

It is sad that I lost steady readers but needed to be done for further growth strategies…and now the growth is much better and when you are a starter you do not know what you need to think about as you are a starter. And even if you know sometimes (because we are humans we are not doing the most logical things, instead we are doing what feels good not what is right).

That is why

  • creating a strategy,
  • and following a strategy is the hard part.

You need a lot of thinking, creating, implementing and testing, and iterating. It sometimes needs years and years of work, focus and concentrating and a lot of work.

Why is strategy difficult?

According to a report Why is strategy so difficult?, which is written by an agency from Washington Headquarters Services.

Challenges

Strategy is difficult, because analytical and conceptual challanges include:

  • forecasts and estimated about the future,
  • forecasting how the firm itself will act in certain situations,
  • analyzing comptetions,
  • building distinctive competencies,
  • linking analysis to actions aka you need to take as a CEO or start-up founder broad steps to take like investments as part of a strategy and you need to do more specific actions (changes in organizational structures and operational practices),
  • understanding and applying a wealth of concepts,
  • shaping strategy to the uniqueness of the company.

Achieving “fit”

Achieving market with and competitive advantage with marketing strategy is important

Strategy is about achieving competitive advantage by integrating

  • what the firm is,
  • what it offers and
  • what is happening around it.

To achieve that within the always limited resources of a company requires an ability to think about innumerable variations of the above factors.

Successes and failures can depend on seemingly minor activities.

Since implementation technique’s of a strategy is part of those activities that is why some little actions able to distinguish your company and make the difference.

Can

  • make or
  • break your company/start-up.

Influences

Other influences, which add and complicate the intellectual demand of a strategy:

  • no standard set of procedures how to develop a company,
  • strategy needs to have a framework, but not a too edgy one aka there is a challenge “to pursue a process which is rigorous enough to capture key ideas and actions, but not so rigorous that it undermines strategic thinking.”
  • organizational and people behaviour influence and reflect how a strategy can be shaped or yould work,
  • transitory stategies related to cutting-edge technologies, where traditional strategies not working and changing fast and shaping new ones.

Tradtional marketing strategies

Strategies not generated usually on the playing field e.g.: football, chess, traditional companies for example:

Company I.

A renowned denim jeans manufacturer and retailer relies on traditional marketing strategies:

  • use TV commercials,
  • print advertisements in fashion magazines, and
  • billboards to showcase their latest denim collections,
  • also collaborate with popular celebrities and influencers to endorse their brand and reach a wider audience.

Company II.

The global clothing and accessories retailer employs traditional marketing techniques:

  • run TV commercials,
  • print ads, and
  • utilize direct mail campaigns to promote their products,
  • also relies on in-store promotions,
  • seasonal sales, and
  • loyalty programs to engage with customers and drive sales.

Company III.

The luxury fashion brand utilizes traditional marketing strategies to promote its clothing lines:

  • invest in high-profile print advertisements in fashion magazines,
  • participate in fashion shows, and
  • create visually appealing window displays in their stores, also
  • engages in partnerships and sponsorships with prestigious events and sports teams to enhance brand image.

Company IV.

The multinational clothing retailer that employs various traditional marketing techniques:

  • use TV commercials,
  • print ads, and
  • outdoor billboards to showcase their affordable fashion offerings,
  • engaging in collaborations with renowned designers and celebrities,
  • creating buzz and attracting attention to their brand.

External circumstances

  • either support or
  • undermine (traditional marketing) strategies,

this means fast adaption to new “strategies” at technological companies is crucial and usually happens on the playing field.

Hybrid strategy and models

Having the know-how and extensive knowledge about different strategies can help you to create

  • hybrid (marketing) strategy or
  • strategical models,
Hybrid business and marketing strategy  can be created on the playing field

which might would not work anywhere else, but can work at your start-up or company and make it successful.

Start-ups went viral

Start-ups need time too before they can say their solution “went viral”.

So there is

  • the steady part and then
  • the growth part

as I told have experiences building larger communities (between some 1000s to 125 000+ followers).

To be able to grow you need to be ready for that growth…so need to find out the steps ahead and strategies ahead in that steady part to be able to grow aka scale up fast…when the time will come.

Not one or two start-up failed because their marketing strategy or business strategy did not work out well at scaling and not one or two needed to rebrand itself with a new marketing strategy to be able to scale and grow fast.

TikTok

For example TikTok, originally launched as Douyin in September 2016 in China, gained global attention when it merged with Musical.ly and rebranded as TikTok in August 2018.

It started gaining significant viral traction around late 2018 and early 2019, with its user base expanding rapidly and becoming a cultural phenomenon.

Case studies: failed start-ups at growth stage and lessons

Here are some case studies about failed start-ups who were not able to follow the growth stage.

1. Webvan

It was an online grocery delivery service founded in the late 1990s.

The company expanded aggressively and built

  • expensive infrastructure, including warehouses and
  • a fleet of delivery trucks, without first establishing a solid customer base.

This led to high operating costs and the inability to generate sufficient revenue, eventually resulting in bankruptcy in 2001.

Failed grocery delivery service
Grocery delivery service

What can we learn about this?

Having an audience, clients and customers are kind of important related to our products and services. Maybe some research and study and prototyping and testing the service would help them to be able to find out whether people are interested in this or not at all.

Key lessons

Customer validation before scaling

Webvan’s downfall was primarily due to scaling its infrastructure and operations without ensuring a solid customer base. Startups should focus on validating their product or service and acquiring a stable customer demand before investing heavily in expansion.

Sustainable cost management

Webvan’s costly infrastructure, including warehouses and delivery trucks, became a burden on the company’s finances.

Startups should

  • carefully manage costs, and
  • optimize resources to ensure long-term sustainability while scaling their operations.

Balancing growth with revenue generation

Webvan’s rapid expansion outpaced its revenue generation, leading to a severe cash flow problem.

It is crucial for startups to maintain a healthy balance between growth and revenue generation to avoid running into financial difficulties as they scale.

2. Fab.com

It was an e-commerce platform for design products.

The company experienced rapid growth and attracted significant investments, but its expansion plans and inventory management proved to be too ambitious. Faced challenges with scaling its operations, controlling costs, and acquiring customers.

The company shut down in 2015.

Key lessons

Realistic scaling plans

Ambitious expansion plans and inventory management proved to be too challenging.

Startups should

  • set realistic scaling goals,
  • considering market demand,
  • operational capabilities, and
  • financial resources, to avoid overextending themselves.

Effective customer acquisition strategies

Fab.com faced difficulties in acquiring and retaining customers at a rate that matched its growth.

Startups should develop

  • effective customer acquisition and
  • customer retention strategies

that align with their growth plans, ensuring a consistent and sustainable customer base.

Streamlined operations and cost control

The company struggled with managing costs as it scaled its operations.

Startups should focus on

  • streamlining their processes,
  • optimizing supply chain management, and
  • implementing effective cost control measures to improve operational efficiency and
  • maintain financial stability.

3. Quirky

It was a platform that aimed to crowdsource and develop innovative consumer products.

The company faced difficulties in

  • effectively managing the product development process and
  • scaling its operations.
Start-ups when their marketing and business strategy failing

The high costs associated with manufacturing and distribution, combined with internal issues, led to its downfall. Quirky filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

Key lessons

Efficient product development processes

Quirky’s failure to effectively manage the product development process hindered its ability to scale.

Companies should

  • establish efficient product development workflows,
  • emphasizing effective collaboration,
  • rapid prototyping, and
  • user feedback to ensure timely and successful product launches.

Scalable manufacturing and distribution

The company faced challenges with manufacturing and distribution, which contributed to its downfall.

Startups should carefully plan and establish

  • scalable manufacturing and
  • distribution channels to support their growth and meet customer demand effectively.

Strong internal management and leadership

The company’s internal issues, including

  • decision-making problems and
  • misalignment among team members, impacted its operations.

New companies and start-ups should prioritize

  • building a strong internal management structure,
  • fostering effective communication, and
  • ensuring leadership alignment to navigate challenges and sustain growth.

4. Homejoy

It was a home cleaning services platform that provided on-demand access to professional cleaners.

The company experienced rapid growth but struggled with operational challenges. Issues such as

  • worker classification,
  • quality control, and s
  • caling its workforce hindered its ability to expand sustainably.

Homejoy ceased operations in 2015.

Key lessons

Address worker classification and operational challenges

Homejoy faced legal challenges related to the classification of its workers as independent contractors.

Startups should proactively address

  • any legal and
  • operational challenges associated with their business models, such as worker classification,

to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal repercussions.

Quality control and customer satisfaction

The company struggled with

  • maintaining consistent quality control and
  • ensuring customer satisfaction.

New companies should prioritize delivering a high-quality service or product and establish mechanisms to monitor and improve customer satisfaction. Maintaining a positive reputation and customer loyalty is crucial for long-term success.

Sustainable scaling of the workforce

Homejoy experienced difficulties in scaling its workforce efficiently.

Startups should

  • carefully plan and
  • implement strategies to scale their workforce in line with customer demand.

Ensuring proper training, reliable hiring processes, and efficient scheduling can help maintain service quality while expanding operations.

5. Zirtual

The company offered virtual assistant services to individuals and businesses.

It initially grew rapidly, but its business model and pricing structure became unsustainable. Zirtual abruptly shut down in 2015, leaving both customers and employees in a difficult position.

Key lessons

Pricing and business model viability

Zirtual faced challenges related to its pricing structure and business model.

New companies and start-ups should thoroughly evaluate their pricing strategies and ensure that their business models are economically viable, considering factors such as

  • costs,
  • customer willingness to pay,
  • and market dynamics.

Financial management and cash flow

Zirtual’s abrupt shutdown highlighted the importance of effective financial management and maintaining healthy cash flow.

financial management and cash flow is important

Closely monitoring financial health, establishing sustainable revenue streams, and managing expenses prudently to avoid sudden financial crises that could lead to business closure is important steps start-ups should take and consider as part of and before their growth and scaling up.

Communication and transparency with stakeholders

The company’s sudden shutdown left both customers and employees in a difficult position.

Companies should prioritize effective communication and transparency with all stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and partners.

Open and honest communication during challenging times can help

  • build trust and
  • mitigate potential negative impacts.

Failed marketing strategies

Homejoy’s marketing message & customer acquisition failed.

The start-up’s struggled with acquiring and retaining customers at a rate that matched its aggressive growth. The company’s marketing strategy failed to effectively convey its value proposition and differentiate itself from competitors. This hindered its ability to generate sufficient customer demand and achieve sustainable growth.

Zirtual’s pricing strategy & market positioning failed too.

The company faced challenges related to its pricing structure and market positioning.

It offered virtual assistant services, but its pricing plans and target market segments not have been aligned effectively. This resulted in difficulties in attracting the right customers and achieving optimal revenue generation.

Strategy

As you can see in the above mentioned examples having a good #Strategy ahead is crucial and important part of the scaling process on all areas of the business.

Maybe you think you need just some idea and adaption, but if you do not have the right strategy in your company or strategy what will happen if some of your good idea fails then it is better if you prepare yourself for a failure too.

Not one or two companies failed in the hospitality industry when they have started to operate in 2019 and COVID come out from nowhere and crashed them, so a good marketing strategy not always enough if your business strategy or your business simply fails.

How to make a good (marketing) strategy?

By trying out – adapting – iterating – repeating

That easy…or is it hard? 😉😎

Let me know if you think it is hard I help you to find solutions for the hard part.


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