”Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Most people, after completing their basic education, seek jobs to earn a living and provide for the financial security of their families. COVID-19 has reduced the number of job opportunities and more individuals are forced to become startup entrepreneurs.
The purpose of marketing is to bring life to a startup by mobilizing entrepreneurial passion, persistence, patience, and business ideas to generate a steady revenue.
It is wise for such entrepreneurs to seek the guidance of an experienced shepherd from the outset to increase their chances of converting these concepts into commercial realities.
Today’s topic will address five important elements of marketing: (1) branding; (2) scalable products; (3) sales strategies; (4) distribution channels; and (5) pricing policy.
Branding – Uniqueness of brand image
As a startup enters a competitive market space, the entrepreneur must create a unique brand which differentiates it from its competitors.
For example, I launched a startup called “Statistical, Information and Computer Systems (SINCOS)” in 1977. The brand chosen, guided by a shepherd, was “Systems” and the company emerged as a Caribbean business consulting pioneer.
The company morphed into “Systems Caribbean Limited” and under new ownership in 2000 was renamed “Systems Consulting Limited”. The “Systems” brand has represented goodwill and quality in the Caribbean business consulting services market for the last 44 years.
Product Idea – Global market compliance
In practice, all business sectors are governed by the operation of an economic gearing system (EGS) which conceptually has three wheels: (1) the big wheel consists of big businesses which sell to the global market; (2) the middle wheel consists of medium-sized businesses which sell to big businesses and the regional and local markets; and (3) the small wheel consists of micro-businesses which sell to the big and medium-sized businesses and the local market.
A startup business may evolve to sell at any level in this EGS. Why not practise global market compliance from the start? Think big and let your shepherd be your guide.
Sales – Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Social Media
Public relations, advertising, word-of-mouth and top-of-mind recall traditionally facilitate brand development and sales. We are now in the information age where the Internet and digital marketing will expedite this process. We must use the right platforms to deliver information about the brand and leverage digital options to get to your target market. The Shepherd will advise on possibilities for the use of technology and digital marketing, which are endless.
Place – Direct, retail, bulk, online, export
A startup’s delivery channels will be different depending on the product. The shepherd will advise on a mix of several options which include: (1) direct delivery to family, friends and the low hanging retail network; (2) bulk sales to wholesalers/distributors who sell to local, regional and international retailers; and (3) direct export or online sales.
Pricing policy – Cost, market → Good ROI
A basic pricing policy, guided by the shepherd, is to: (1) determine the direct cost (material and labour) of a unit of the product; 2) compute projections of the indirect costs per month (rent, equipment, insurance, utilities etc.); (3) estimate the unit price by marking up the direct cost of a unit, by a factor of 2, say; (4) compute the ROI; (5) compare the estimated price with the competitors’ market price for similar products; and (6) work to decrease cost and increase productivity, until your price is competitive and the projected ROI is acceptable.