Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – three in a series)

Busy World

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the third in the series (table of contents here). Stay tuned for more.

How to Botch Marketing #2: 

Assume People Are Eager To Hear From You

This is the most common marketing mistake of early-stage companies. And it’s completely understandable. You just spent months or years coming up with your product. You put an absurd amount of effort and money and focused attention into it.

So, of course, in bringing it to market, what you want to do is tell people about it, right?

The problem is, almost no one cares about your thing. Everyone you want to sell to is already doing something else to solve their problem. They don’t want to hear from you. They’re busy.

It’s Not You, It’s Them

Once your product is developed (and you’ve made sure it performs for non-techies), you need to take a deep breath and make a concerted effort to step outside your own perspective on it. You need to think of what you’re doing as the solution to someone else’s problem.

Who are these people? How does the problem look from their point of view? What are they doing about it now? How do they see their options? What would they like to do if they could?

Where Effective Messages Come From

If you understand your offering as the solution to someone else’s problem, you can develop a message that they might pay attention to. And that’s what marketing is really about: Getting your message heard. If your prospects had the time and inclination to read lists of features and functions, you wouldn’t need marketing. But they don’t, so you do.

In rare cases, a list of features is enough. But most of the time, people need to be persuaded to pay attention. That’s why marketing is interesting. It has to be.

Jeff Berman is the founder and principal of Berman Creative, a creative agency focusing on brand strategy and marketing solutions for early-stage and redirected companies. You can reach Jeff at We’re grateful for his contribution. 

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