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Startup Marketing: Where Multiple Hats Collide

What do you do?

That question varies depending on the audience. In a business setting, it’s about the first impression, knowing your audience, their background and establishing credibility from the start. It’s being prepared before any meeting. Finding something in common with a connection and highlighting it to relate to that person while establishing the foundation of a collaborative and trusting relationship.

A Day in the Life…

As someone who is a tad work-obsessed, I am always happy to answer that question with the story of a day in the life of marketer and explain ins & outs and the highs of working with startups. On any given day, marketers are able to wear different hats, look at solutions from multiple angles and solve varying marketing obstacles for clients. I could easily go into a quick tangent on the latest marketing trends or delve into the campaigns that I’m working on or even have a side discussion about the latest article I read trends in tech and marketing. 

But how do you explain what you do to your parents, relatives or neighbors? What’s the best way to summarize your job without losing them in the details? How do I explain the different facets, the multiple levers and the actual “how” that happens in marketing? Which hat do you show them? There’s so much to marketing and it’s not just getting Pitbull for a marketing strategy, SuperBowl ads or catchy headlines on a press release.

No Two Hats Are The Same 

With marketing, you’re required to shift and wear these different hats on a daily basis. That’s what makes the answer so complex when someone asks “what do you do?” No day is the same, no problem has the same answer. My neighbor may not necessarily understand it fully and sometimes, I may have lost them. But a person who will understand this situation is an entrepreneur.   

It reminds me of when you ask startups and entrepreneurs to describe what they do or what the business does. They are so excited and zealous about their company, product, vision and the future that they don’t even know where to start. They haven’t mastered that elevator pitch yet. You can see them trying to find the best story, the strongest value proposition and the most relatable use case to tell you so that it resonates. 

It’s their passion, their entire being at the moment. They are living and breathing this company.  Of course, they want to tell everything in one answer. Entrepreneurs have always worn many hats, just like marketers. For entrepreneurs, marketing is a hat that they need to wear just as much as the other ones. It’s what may help the most in getting that answer concise. 

You Have a Story, Tell It!

Marketing isn’t easy but if you don’t do it, you miss the boat before you’ve had a chance on the water. Companies and brands are built on good products. But they win by good marketing. You can have a great product or idea but if you don’t market it, who will know it?

The goal should be to build a believable brand that companies want to work with and find a position of strength within the market and own it through a steady drumbeat of value-added storytelling. It starts with a series of building the story. Being able to quickly and consistently answer the question of “what do you do” in a concise way, And then continuing to tell it so much that it annoy themselves

Companies must put in the time upfront and obsess over steady iteration to the messaging over time with a ‘market in’ approach to the impact they can derive every day. It needs to be part of the hat that is worn daily. 

If you’re not marketing for your own company, who will?  Who can wear that hat with you? So, what do you do?

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