Thus far we have looked at Customer Discovery and Customer Validation. Both stages place an investment in spending time and finances on the customers need and solving problems. Up until now, startups have been lean with the founder literally finding the business in the marketplace. There has not been a major investment in VP executives, nor sales and marketing teams. The Customer Creation Phase is no different and it turns toward building a brand in your market instead of forcing a brand into the marketplace. Being mindful of correctly identifying your market (existing, re-segmented or new) is important in this phase? The main goal is to “provide an experience that drives market demand into the sales channel of the company.” (Martin, 2016)
Customer Creation “represents the essential marketing activities necessary to help customers learn about a product and create a desire to buy it.” (Blank, 2013, pg. 161) Blank does not label it as marketing communication for four important reasons:
1. In a startup these events are occurring for the first time;
2. They are not about the marketing department, they are about customers;
3. They are creation events, not follow-on execution activities; and
4. The types of appropriate marketing programs differ widely, depending on Market Type.
Traditional marketing strategies are less effective and more expensive. “Launching a new product and company should not be confused with executing a laundry list of marketing tactics.” (Pg. 162) You are not pouring dollars into a marketing campaign, but instead you are extending your foot print within your current customers. In essence customer creation is a “meaningful reach; …to make sure that this happens, the kinds of marketing opportunities that you chose should be directly in line with the market that the business is entering.” (Martin, 2016)
Blank and CLEVERISM offer extensive information about market type and positioning. Therefore I suggest that you take some time to review this area from the resources listed to make sure you are spot-on in capturing your segment for a successful product launch.
The Customer Creation phase has allowed me to look deeper into the marketing strategy for a startup. One size marketing does not fit all. As I said in an earlier blog, your startup is not a cookie cutter process. Such care has been given towards the early consumers to ensure success. Creating the buzz, following up with the buzzers and then extending your reach beyond the initial buzz into your real customer base is a strategic process that is often overlooked because of focus on the product. Customer creation shifts your focus away from Earlyvangelists and towards the real customers in the broader marketplace. These customers unlike the earlyvangelists, who buy into your dream without a prototype in hand, need to see the product for absolute buy-in. Are you ready to present the real thing?
Blank, S. G. (2013). The four steps to the epiphany: successful strategies for products that win. California: Steve Blank.
Martin. (2016, January 29). CDM: Understanding Customer Creation. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from http://www.cleverism.com/
ENT 601 Reflections Week 7