Is marketing a skill, an art, or a responsibility? To market successfully, an entrepreneur must emerge out of the self-confined labels of “I’m only a ‘coder’, ‘developer’, ‘artist’, ‘designer’ etc.” They would have to leverage their existing strengths and add more dimensions, like capability to market, network, invent, etc.
The confluence of core competencies and newly-acquired completing skills will help aspiring entrepreneurs complete their rarity and launch their unique legacies in compressed time.
Many people think of marketing as ‘pushy’ and ‘unsavoury’. That may be correct, given some experiences, unless what is ‘marketed’ is something that we truly valued.
Why is marketing a responsibility?
Marketing is important but seldom do we realise that it is also a responsibility. Like, when we help someone in distress, donate money to support causes, or willingly pay extra to support eco-friendly products, we show responsibility towards others and the environment.
Marketing isn’t any different. If the product or service solves an existing problem in a way that hasn’t been done before, its marketing is not only a business need but also your responsibility towards society. No one lights a lamp to hide it under the bush.
Making innovations see the light of the day
Imagine the greatness GE would have denied the world, if only it had not focused on marketing innovations and instead, believed that “innovative products would make its way to the homes of users on their own.”
Over 52 percent of Fortune 500 enterprises have gone extinct since the 2000s, simply because these companies failed to pay proper attention to brand storytelling, while GE optimised its messaging, storytelling, and advertisements.
As a result, GE has outlived most of the empires, successfully survived two world wars, and revolutionised the world with its innovations, right from home appliances, jet engines, to now the Internet of Things.
Apple, with its high-end phone, enabled us to not only carry the internet in our hands but become amateur photographers, content creators, influencers, and storytellers. However, before achieving its numero uno status, Apple leveraged innovative marketing concepts like honouring geniuses who think differently, building unique product design, the art of typography, among others.
This is one of the most significant reasons why every aspiring and disruptive entrepreneur must take up the responsibility of marketing. Often, entrepreneurs think that if you have a good product or service, it will reach and benefit the people. But that is not true because the average consumer is used to doing what they have always done.
They continue to do what they have always been doing. And if you’re creating something that is out-of-the-box, then you need to have your ability to convey things in a simple yet convincing way, to let people understand and experience what you are offering. And this is the stage where a lot of inventors fail and thus, miss on becoming an entrepreneur and impact the world with their innovations
How can aspiring entrepreneurs succeed in marketing?
For someone working in a corporate, to benefit the organisation, they need to focus on their strengths. But to grow fast in their careers, especially entrepreneurs, they have to evolve. This means as they leverage and focus on their strengths, they also overcome their limitations and fill in the capability gaps.
To illustrate, a number of times, we come across musicians who can create the most heartfelt and soulful melodies and yet would struggle to fend for their next meal. Some marketers are great at networking but would struggle to come up with new business ideas to turn lose-lose situations into win-win situations with a product or service to fix the gap. What these individuals need, to reach the next level in their life, is to “complete their rarity”.
We all have certain key strengths and capabilities. But to get the job done, at times, we may require complementary capabilities. In the aforementioned scenario, having the musician to close the deals with high-profile people and the networker to engage in creative pursuits of designing solutions would help complete their rarity.
Soon, while the musician would start landing themselves prestigious and well-paying gigs, the networker would find the right service through which they can add value.
With the concept of growth hacking in the Silicon Valley, where product competition is defined by what sells itself (not only because it is a great product but because marketing is baked into the usage of the product), the border between marketing and product development no longer exists. In fact, the two now merge into one integrated unit.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can no longer look at their work in silos. They cannot put themselves in the bracket of coders or product developers. Because an investor would always be looking at the traction a venture has received before infusing funds.
In a nutshell, for disruptive entrepreneurs, marketing is not an option, it is a responsibility.
As an entrepreneur, you need to consider how you want to evolve and develop the required complementary capabilities because the line between doing something good (or creating something good) and actually allowing millions of people to benefit from your innovation can only be crossed by evolving yourself continuously and strategically.
And from our experience of watching people evolve in a time constraint, I can assure you, it will not just help you impact more people at scale, faster, but evolving itself will become one of the most satisfactory outcomes in your life.
So, if you have considered yourself a pure geek, or an inventor who doesn’t like to market, consider again: would you really give up or reduce the impact your product or service can have on people when you know you can evolve and add layers to who you are?
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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