The February edition of Startup Saturday was held on the 14th at SP Jain with the focus being on marketing for startups.
It was apt for the event to fall on Valentine’s day as entrepreneurs are madly in love with their startups and marketing is a critical tool to see the customer’s love for the brand grow and blossom.
For now, we decided to focus more on interaction. We had two great speakers lined up who spoke about a spectrum of topics related to marketing, starting from ideation and going all the way to budgeting.
We also had a lightning pitch to give early stage startups a platform to gain necessary feedback on their idea.
Our first speaker for the afternoon was Mr Sreeraman Thiagarajan, Vice President at Publicis Beehive, who spoke on Marketing mediums and ideation.
Sree started by explaining the difference between marketing and advertising, with marketing always being about creating and meeting demands. Marketing is not successful if there isinsufficient data about the product and the customer base.As a startup focusing on marketing, there should always be a need to know. Marketing is nothing but building on needs and a very good example for the same is the transition from Stereo to ipod. Startups should initially focus on internet marketing as it is the cheapest available option and gives one the opportunity to start small, gain customer insight and modify the plan if it is not working out. Once a successful plan is in place, the startup can take it places by advertising it through various visual mediums. Marketing today is in the age of customer as a customer’s mind is pretty fickle and can damage the image of a startup through various means available. Hence it is extremely important to humanise the brand and always speak about benefits over features. He ended the session by asking the startups to fail fast, learn and modify rather than going big and repenting it later, which is a valuable lesson in any domain for a startup and not just marketing.
Our Lightning pitch for the event was EventBaksa, an online portal to ease planning of all kinds of events and with a sole vision to revolutionize the event management industry.
Event Baksa was started in May 2014 by eight young minds with a view to capitalise on technology and resolve the issues while planning an event. The Lightning pitch helped Event Baksa with some valuable insights and pertinent questions which they use in the future course of action. (www.eventbaksa.com)
Our second speaker for the evening was Mr Nitin Mukadam, a mentor and strategy advisor at Local Banya, who spoke about innovative tools for marketing as well as budget allocation.
Nitin spoke about standing out from the crowd by creating a distinctive identity as in the case of Local Banya with their icon, which connected instantly with the masses.
For a startup, their visiting card could be one such example. Like Sree, he spoke about being imaginative as reminder value is of utmost importance when it comes to marketing. It is extremely important to have direct customer interaction as it helps generate revenues as well generate leads for future marketing strategies. A startup should never go with the flow and should always ask pertinent questions like whether a website is required or not on the basis of their business model. An entrepreneur needs to engage their customers with interesting content about their product features to hook them on and thereby generate further leads via referral as well as different means. He ended his session, by giving a valuable insight with respect to budgeting for marketing in startups and it struck a chord with fellow entrepreneurs in the room. The insight being, always make marketing a variable cost and money on marketing should be spent only from the one generated by sales as this will keep a tight leash on the finances and will keep the startup in good stead in the long term.
At the end of the day, our speakers left our fellow entrepreneurs pondering over their marketing strategies and changes necessary to strike a chord with their customer base. The networking session that followed was extremely helpful as a number of startups could connect with fellow individuals regarding their requirements discussed during the Shoutbox held at the end of the event.
By bucking the trend and going for a half yearly Special Startup Saturday instead of one, we have now successfully completed two and will focus on Digital Marketing the next time around, giving startups a whole gamut of information of various means of Marketing.
This will give them necessary information to grow their love aka their Startup, which has always been the motive of the team of Startup Saturday.
Until, next time…keep rocking!
Write up by:
Volunteer at Headstart Mumbai