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Small company with no CMO, how to market the product?

Hello there,

Ours is a small startup with mostly bootstrapped funding, but no revenue yet. We recently launched a subscription based product promotion platform, a B2C promotion channel.

With no CMO in the team, it is turning out to be difficult to approach big companies asking them to give it a try on the promotion platform for their brand/product promotions.

Would it better hire a CMO? Since it is a small company with no revenue, hire a CMO for sweat money/equity (as we currently are not in a position to hire a CMO on salary though)?

Otherwise, without a CMO, but as a small corp, how would you approach a big corp to give it a try on the infancy platform (as their marketing teams target bigger audience on wider platforms with their bigger marketing plans/budgets) ?

What else could be done for a small corp to market the website or build a B2B customer base (we dont havebig marketing budgets though) ?

Could you please share your experience and advise.

Thanks a lot.

29 Replies

Ema Chuku
9
0
Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
Are you confusing a "title" with "creativity"? If the companies are not responding, I doubt a CMO is the root cause.. While it pays to have an experienced marketing personnel, there's a lot of startups that explore creativity in getting it done. If you are lucky to acquire a CMO on equity basis, then great, otherwise I will recommend keep tweaking your marketing approach until you hit the right note. It's never guaranteed you will get it right the first time. Blaming it on not having a CMO is probably the wrong mindset.

Marko Tiosavljevic
0
0
Marko Tiosavljevic Entrepreneur
CEO at Cloud Industry
Ema is right! Or Maybe tweaking other point in your business. Maybe your platform is not good enough.

Or you can approach to some investor, that whoud be very good move.

Liz Philips
4
0
Liz Philips Entrepreneur
Tech Marketing ♦ Strategy ♦ Product Marketing ♦ Social Media ♦ Connecting
I agree with Ema, too. No need to rush to hire a CMO; in fact, it would be interesting to know if you have a strong business development/sales team in place - closing business will ensure there is a "there" there (i.e. good product) that is worth more of an marketing effort to get more business.

As an interim step, hire some freelancers to put some fundamental marketing pillars in place aimed at aiding the sales process (i.e. white papers, case studies, testimonials) and worry about hiring the marketing lead when you have a clear indication there is a market there. Good luck!
Neil Licht - HereWeAre
7
0
Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567

Small company with no CMO, having difficulty getting customers, asking how to market the product?


I'm going to caution you a bit re jumping in and trying to go full speed ahead and try to add a marketing type into your company.

Please honestly ask and answer theses questions before going further:

  • since you dont have marketing folks, how did you research your market and validate it as something folks would buy? You and friends thinking its a good idea is not a validation of it as a marketable and desired product/solution so be careful if thats why you jumped in with this product idea
  • You really need to know all of that upfront before you add any expense or try to go and hire marketing/sales folks.
  • It may not really be the hot product that "everyone needs" that you think it is so backup a bit and validate the idea, the target audience, who they are, why they would want what you sell and where/how do you reach them.
  • Be brutally honest as you take that closer look re the viability of your product and its saleability and how much of it can be sold.
  • You also need to be sure that your product is something folks and enough of them will spend money for your product v what they spend money on now or v competition
  • Knowing that, you can see for sure if its a great product in the minds of your ideal target audiences and something enough of it will spend money on to buy and use.

Please enlighten us a bit so we can offer some concrete suggestions re marketing/sales/positioning/ideal target audiences. Armed with that, we can help you with focused advice on what to do
  • What are the supposed benefits of what you offer v competition that makes your product desirable and saleable-elaborate on that please.
  • We cant help you with a marketing approach until we know that.
With your new product, instead oftargeting big companies because you think they are thticket to the big bucks, targetsmaller companies
  • Like you, Smaller companies dont often have in house staff to market so they always look for a method or partner who can help them do that and acquire lots of customers and or be a lot better/profitable in key operating areas
  • Smaller companies make faster decisions
  • You can get directly to the real decision maker which is not so easy in the big companies

Suggested Next step re the marketing/sales side that you seem to want at this point:
  • You can use outside marketing consultants/sales folks but the deal must be profitable for them. Its not sweat equity, its actual cash that can be earned via sales and or market development and you pay them as they succeed. Manufacturer's reps fit that model quite well. Maybe its a compeitive edge for them as part of a line they offer. THey also already have the ear of prospects, are well known and respecte amongst your target audiences and they can bring their established "go to" reputation to open lots of doors for real sales fairly quickly.
  • You can with the right person sweeten the deal with equity offerings but remember, you cant spend or cash equity until the company is sold or goes public so sweat equity is not really a motivator on its own
Get help form a good marketing/sales consultant and then you can use what they taught you to do markting-sales on your own
  • Buy 2 hours of time from a good marketing consultant who can in that 2 hours
    • show you how to understand your market, what they care about, how to tie what you offer to what they care about so the sales approach actually works and gets business
    • uncover, find, reach and close hot ideal "I need what you have now" prospects online before they google search
    • concurrently create a go to guru status for you amongst that ideal target audiences so they now know you, respect you and will actually call you or take your calls.
  • The 2 hour consultant cost is more than coverd when you get your 1st sale usoing what they taught you.
  • It can empower you to actually do your own marketing/sales without having to hire anyone nor spend a ton of time and do it with results but not a ton of time consumed.
  • You dont have to be a marketing type to do this if your consultant can give you the right roadmap and path for doing this yourself.
  • What they show you, if done right as a consulting contract for 2 hours, can give you a path to market, direct you to be in front of a lot of hot "i need your product" now people and you then can get lots of sales.
  • Best yet, you dont need to spend money doing marketing and sales, just your time and you will able to acquire these folks as paying customers without facing competition.
I hope these suggestions helps you understand what to do next to go and get customers and perhaps some good ways to do so without breaking the bank.

Its OK to reach out to me and talk a bit about how to do this. Neil Licht, [removed to protect privacy], USA, East Coast time. [removed to protect privacy]


Shams Juma
2
0
Shams Juma Entrepreneur
Founder
Hello Sudhakar,

Based on what you described, I don't think you need a CMO. And even if you did, I don't think building a channel partnership would be an appropriate use of a CMO's skillsets. Instead, ask yourself, why should a bigger firm accept you as a channel partner? What value can you provide to them? If you can't land the whale, can you land a shark? Smaller firms may be give a ways into make the partnership initially, until you have enough inertia to approach the bigger companies.
David Albert
3
0
David Albert Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder & Principal at GreyGoo
I agree with Neil and Shams. It's all about product validation and inertia in the early going. Get user feedback and make sure the product is valid. Offer to do pilot programs with brands for free--that's how you approach them--you don't need a CMO for that. Show them a compelling value proposition with very low risk. If they have a positive outcome/experience, leverage that into testimonials and case studies you can share with other brands. If you have a good product and early adoption, your growth can be exponential. Consider a CMO after you have momentum and some clients.
Joseph Wang
0
0
Joseph Wang Entrepreneur
Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories
One question is you have to ask yourself is does your business require you to get big corporations as customers. If you can have customers who are small businesses or consumers, you save yourself from that headache. There are different headaches.

What title you give someone is not the important part. The important thing is that trying to sell to big companies is going to require someone to spend a lot of time and effort. If that's critical to your business model, then one thing you can consider is working with a marketing firm that already has relationships with large companies, or pooling resources with other small companies that need to pitch products and services to the same set of companies.
Neil Licht - HereWeAre
0
0
Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567
So Joseph, I'm wondering, did you read mypost? What you raised, asked and suggested is already raised in my post. Detailed very specific steps to take for each point was also included plusthe why behind each as a way to go .

That was done soSudhakarcould evaluate the suggestions, what each takes/yields/the value-impact/ and effect on speed to market with success and then be able to implement one or combinations of the suggestions on his own.
We surely agree on the "how to's" but knowing what each means/work involved/value/type of returns each offers re acquiringpaying customers ASAP and long term and then making an informed decision on what he thinks fits best is also quite important - thus my details ....Neil
Michael Clifton
1
0
Michael Clifton Entrepreneur
CEO at Marketing Pros International
I agree withShams. Unless you are shooting for an (acquisition strategy) I'd stay away from the "Big Whales" at this juncture. You are not going to have the necessary financials they will require for them to do business with you. The only way you come out on top is a take-over. Your platform had better be disruptive in some way. All it will take from there is a powerful sales strategy to get you past the gatekeeper(s). It won't take a CMO to pull that off, just one really good and tenacious sales person. Your financials are critical. Get some solid backing and a bit more success before you go harpooning for whales.
Chaitanya Reddy Polsoni
0
0
Pre-Sales & Post-Sales Solution Architect
I think you should be looking hiring CMO on a sweat equity basis. Of course the component of the sweat has to be substantial for the individual to come board. Also, they will/might ask for atleast the expenses to be borne by your company, without that it might be pretty hard. Other option is you might enter into revenue sharing agreements with marketing companies, but they will ask for a really big chunck. All the above is possible, based on how good your product is and what its marketing potential is. Polsoni Chaitanya Reddy +91-[removed to protect privacy] [removed to protect privacy]
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