Business objectives change all the time and so do customers. This is exactly why startup entrepreneurs are always advised to 'pivot' their offerings. The idea is that it is never entirely possible to gauge customer demand with just a prototype or a minimum viable product. So if your product doesn't receive the enthusiasm you expect to receive from customers, it is a good idea to tweak it and thereby cater to what customers want.
While pivoting business ideas is common knowledge, very few businesses try to replicate this thought process to other areas of managing a business, including marketing. Similar to the product and operational strategies while running a business, marketing strategies too need to be fluid and should adapt to the way customer needs change.
One of the biggest advantages of adopting a fluid, evolution-based approach to marketing is that it helps organizations save costs. This is how it works
Start With Direct Selling: This is the first step in the sales and marketing process of an organization. In the early days of a business, you do not encounter large inbound customers from channels like word of mouth or brand visibility. According to Daniel Saks, the co-founder and co-CEO of AppDirect, the first step for businesses, especially those in the SaaS space, is to find beta testers and freemium users through direct selling of their SaaS products (think cold calls, cold emails, etc.). This not only helps businesses test the waters, but also help figure out the aspects of their product that works and those that don't.
Invest In High ROI Campaigns: Once your business has made its first earnings, it is time to invest your profits into marketing channels that have the highest ROI. There is no way to know for sure what channel brings the highest ROI, but this is typically those that does not require too much human intervention but can still bring about sales. Some examples for such campaigns include PPC ads and local fairs. In each of these cases, the business can start small with reasonable budgets and can seek immediate returns on investment. Do not invest in strategies that require high marketing spends.
Benchmark Strategies For Future Course: By this time, you have effectively invested in at least two or three different marketing strategies that you expect to have high returns. After you have sufficiently tested each of these strategies, evaluate their performances and identify the top performers. The idea is to sustain and grow your investments in top performing strategies while dumping channels that customers do not show interest in.
Invest In High Resource Channels Only After Sufficient Traction: Marketing channels like reselling and affiliate programs sound attractive to a startup business that is desperate for marketing resources. In reality though, these channels can take up significant resources in just maintaining relationships. As a result, investing in such channels is not a good idea in the early stages of your business. But when your business has made significant traction and you can afford hiring specialist affiliate or resale managers, it is time to invest in building these strategies. But unlike the other strategies mentioned above, there is no way to gauge the performance of these channels unless they are sufficiently tried. So do not pivot on these channels and take them only after you are sure you are okay with investing in these channels for at least a couple of years.
Picking the right channel for your marketing operations can seem like trial and error and in many ways, it truly is. However, it is important to pick strategies that your business can afford at the particular stage of your business operations. While it is important to continue expanding your reach through newer channels of marketing, it is also important to measure the effectiveness of all your ongoing programs to identify what works and what doesn't. This is the only way to build a strategy that can reach and attract customers to your product or service.