I work with several small tech companies with significant constraints on their marketing operations - not enough money (what else is new), and too few people (ditto).
Naturally, despite our constraints, we want to do everything, and if not everything, then "lots":
- We want to keep our web sites fresh
- We want to drive traffic to said web site
- We want to blog
- We want to get press coverage - online, offline
- We want the analysts to know and love us - or at least put us in their Magic Quadrants, or Waves, or wherever they put the in-crowd
- We want to work with great partners and maximize those relationships
- We want to do the events all our competitors seem to show up at
- We want to build our pipelines
- We want to come up with just the right message
- We want to do ads - online, offline
- We want to do breakfast seminars and webinars
- We want to do e-mail blasts and direct mail blasts
- We want new brochures, data sheets, case studies, white papers (thank goodness for pdf's - no need to worry about big print budgets)
- We want to prove that marketing matters - bring on the metrics!
- We want tschotkes
What's a marketing person with not enough money and too few people to do?
Just where do you start?
First things first
I always start with the most fundamental fundamental of all: get your story straight. The medium is not the message; the message is the message, and yours had better reflect:
- What your product is and does
- What your customers do with it
- What it does for them
- Just who these customers are
- Just why they should want to buy products from you
Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned girl, but to me, if you can't express the above in clear English, you really have no business trying to market anything.
Second things second
Bad news: there's no one right second thing to do.
It all depends on - your product, your market, where you are in the adoption cycle for the product, your budget, your customers, your past success, your future goals....
And we all know you can't get away with just doing this one second thing. Marketing is about multiple touches, multiple approaches. There's rarely if ever going to be one thing that miraculously changes everything for you.
Unless you're a very small business just starting out. In that case, one thing may well prove momentous: the marquee customer you met at the trade show; the analyst you briefed the day before their biggest client asked for advice; the promotional ad that struck just the right cord.
No, the success from the one shot event doesn't last forever, but I'm sure we've all seen it happen that it can put you on the road to success. But that road success hits a hairpin curve at some point, and you won't be able to rely on just one thing to keep working its magic for you.
But whatever it is that you choose to do, make sure you do it well - and wholeheartedly. Better off focusing your efforts in a few areas than trying to do everything at once - and doing it all poorly.
It's still early in the year.
No budget? No staff? No nothing?
Come on, where's your spirit? You can still get something done.
Figure out some things that you're going to accomplish in the first quarter. Keep it to a minimum number. And don't forget to think about results you expect from whatever it is you're going to do.
Then go ahead and do it.
Don't forget to get your message down first.
And if you're going to pick just one thing, here's a bit of free advice: don't let it be tschotkes.