Web Start-ups: How a customer-marketing approach will jump-start business

Customer marketing approach to jumpstart businessThis week I spent an evening discussing product and marketing strategy with a dozen up-and-coming Web-based start-ups, currently hosted by Silicon Sentier’s Le Camping, a Paris-based start-up incubation program.

In general the products and services being developed during this 4th session of the Camping were interesting, well-designed and helped solve a range of practical, everyday issues.

Among them was a product for easily planning and coordinating events among a group of friends, and a pricing recommendation service for e-tailers that are trying to remain competitive without systematically giving away their margins.

In particular, I sat down with 3 chosen start-ups to examine some of their more pressing issues, going beyond product-related aspects.

3 promising start-ups and their roadblocks to growth

Like any start-up, each of the following 3 firms I spoke to face a number of important issues holding back their development:

1) Zéro Gâchis – A Web-based service allowing supermarket retailers to reduce waste and increase sales of any perishable goods nearing their best-before date. They do this by communicating to consumers what products are been sold at reduced prices and where to find them, thanks to the firm’s webpage and soon to come mobile app.

  • Their challenge: ZG was struggling to find an effective way to recruit new supermarkets, while making it easier for them to promote their soon-to-perish goods, thus increasing the appeal to potential consumers and by consequence the value for those retailers.

2) Lingocracy – An online service allowing budding language students to improve their understanding of their chosen tongue (from an initial list of 6 languages), its specific vocabulary and the local culture, all thanks to an interactive translation of the local-language news of your choice.

  • Their challenge: Lingocracy needed a way to easily and effectively communicate the complete value of its service to casual browsers, who do not see the immediate value of becoming registered users.

3) Decovery – An web-based idea marketplace offering consumers the chance to solicit valuable, dedicated decoration advice from expert home and office decorators.

  • Their challenge – Decovery wanted a way to increase the number of registered site-users based on its growing number of accidental users that were being referred to the site through search-driven results.

While the issues faced by each of these companies can be solved in different ways, what is common among them is the need to apply a customer and marketing-driven approach in order to find the best way to create and foster value-driven relationships with their clients.

Great products are not enough – Growth requires customer-marketing fuel

Many start-ups like these bring new and interesting business idea that they work passionately to crystalize into fresh products or service. However, to make the shift from simply developing a great product that satisfy a fistful of users to kick-starting a new business, early phase companies need to act more like businesses.

This means understanding their commercial blocking points and designing adapted, client-focused initiatives that support business growth by creating awareness, interest, consideration and facilitate the purchase decision process from their potential clients.

This has various implications:

  • Understand what potential clients truly value and will pay for – This requires a deep understanding of clients’ broader issues and what can be done to resolve them. It is also the basis for developing any product or service offer with a broad market appeal.
  • Develop compelling client value propositions – Companies must offer clients value through their offerings. This includes not only core products or services, but also requires a customer and marketing-driven approach to streamline the full client experience – from their initial considerations among offers, all the way through ‘disposal’ – in order to deliver the most value.
  • Devise a market-driven strategy to clearly communicate the value offered – Even with the most beneficial offers, if clients don’t get it, they won’t buy it.

Without a strong and unwavering focus on your customers and on the best ways to serve them, even a business with the greatest products to sell may find itself lacking fuel to spark and generate significant business growth.

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2 Responses to “Web Start-ups: How a customer-marketing approach will jump-start business”

  1. starting online business Says:

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    • JC Sanchez Says:

      Hi. I’m glad you found this article interesting, as well as some of the others. Assuming you are in a Web start-up what are the main commercial issues that you are currently facing? How have you managed them?

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