Every year, more than half a million businesses are launched per month in the U.S. alone. Or to put it it another way, 320 startups appear for every 100,000 adult Americans. The less invigorating shadow-metric that accompanies these potentially encouraging numbers: 3 out of 4 of those concerns will go belly up before a brand’s newly cut ribbons have the leisure to fray.
In this ocean of startups all vying for a piece of the same pie, entrepreneurs need to be more innovative than ever. Here are a few ways how:
Innovation Marketing Strategies
When marketers operate with a modest budget and — crucially — limited experience with traditional marketing techniques, the hook-or-by-crook, by-any-means-necessary gambit of growth hacking might not just be recommended, but essential. Some marketers may view growth hacking as good old fashioned conversion rate optimization, but it’s all CRO entails and more.
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An umbrella for low-cost outreach platforms such as SEO and content marketing, growth hacking is a wider funnel for concentrating various streams of a business’s momentum toward scalable growth in a way that does not cordon product design and marketing into two discrete domains. In other words, rather than designing a product and only then fobbing it off onto a marketing department, a growth hacker would devise a product that anticipates eager clients. “Are these things going to sell themselves?” Growth hackers worth their salt should answer with a resounding “yes.”
While growth hacking is typically seen as a springboard for startups looking to expand, increasingly already established corporations are getting into the act. Perhaps the poster child for effective growth hacking has been Airbnb, who used a savvy interface with the public message board Craigslist to create a truly innovative new service and balloon the market for that service in one elegant motion.
Customer Experience Management (CXM)
Wasn’t a customer relations management strategy enough for a business? Back in the 1980s, CRM burst onto the scene to revolutionize how businesses interfaced with clients, lowering costs and boosting satisfaction. Nowadays, however, with the onslaught of concerns competing for their share in the virtual marketplace, the game has changed. Today, small businesses must compete not only with geographically local competitors, but with all comers in the Global Village. With CXM, marketers don’t just meet the existing wants of clients as they unfold; they anticipate customer desires before they arise.
The proactive (or even pre-emptive) spirit of CXM, then, has its eyes on the prize of long-haul brand loyalty, therefore relying on marketing technology and analytics to make each and every interaction with clients a positive one. Of course while all companies should be concerned with good CXM, those that can’t afford to slack here are those in which competition is stiff and switching providers comes at a low cost.
As more and more business-oriented technology floods the marketplace, many newbie entrepreneurs make the deadly mistake of investing in a lot of digital bells-and-whistles to drum up clientele. Yet while there is indeed a widening gulf between tech’s innovation for its own sake and usefulness in the field, there are some new steps that far exceed the status of “gadgetry,” in the most limited sense. Increasing POS opportunities is indeed one of these quantum leaps in sales expansion.
By using tablet-powered checkout devices and software from providers like Shopify, businesses increase sales by increasing the ease of purchasing. On the other side of the curtain, when online vending uses such technology to sync with brick-and-mortar outlets, inventory glitches can be easily avoided, cutting overhead and bolstering CRM.
POS streamlining is especially necessary for fledgling businesses hawking artisanal, made-to-order wares wherein inventory efficiency is a must. Some of Shopify’s runaway success stories come from this stable, including online jewelry boutique FlockStock that cunningly used the inventory tracking for non-existing products to test out the waters for new items.
It goes without saying that any of these strategies demand to be interlaced with forward-thinking social media campaigns. To use the wisdom of Thomas Edison, “you can’t fail; you can only find more ways that won’t work.”