online marketing psychology

February 15, 2011

The absolute marketing ground work

Imagine a really well-run startup that has all aspects of operations completely buttoned down: HR policies in place, great sales model, thoroughly thought-through marketing plan, great interview processes, outstanding catered food, 30" monitors for all the programmers, top tier VCs on the board.
But it is heading straight off a cliff.
That doesn't seem right I hear you think.

The story above is part of a guide for startups which analyses what is more important for the success of a startup: team, product or market.

In this area everybody has an opinion and many will tell you you  need a good combination of the three parts to strike gold.

But in the post above, Marc Andreessen picks market as the most important factor. He feels the main reason why many companies, wíth great teams or products, fail, is because they lack product/market fit. Coming from the guy behind the Mosaic browser, Netscape and Ning, it is worth examining a bit closer:
In a great market - a market with lots of real potential customers - the market pulls product out of the startup.
It is the absolute marketing ground work: making sure people need and want it.

When the product is done you can market it as one thing. But if you don't deliver on the promises, customers will feel tricked. And that isn't really a long term strategy.

A solution can only be found by redoing the product, tailoring it in a way that ensures a better fit with the market. So as long as there is money to burn, there is time to fix it.

This makes me think of Twitter (in which Andreessen is an investor in). It is popular, has a great team but what is its market? It is a complicated question that may even be hard for Twitter itself. Who are their real potential and paying customers?

Full article can be found on his blog.

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