"How and when should I start marketing?" Many companies and new entrepreneurs can easily get hung up on that question.
Whether it refers to determining the tricky questions of how and when to start marketing your product or service to customers, or figuring out the correct market in which to launch, the following four simple steps I have outlined will help guide the process.
1. Product Knowledge
The main element here is a deep, unwavering understanding the product. You need to frame the product/technology as it relates to your proposed product timeline and evaluate what stage it currently resides. Doing so defines the timing of when you should go to market and who would be the ideal target within each of the product's stages.
If you aren't sure where your product stands, consider the following points:
- Are your core features still being developed?
- Are there enough core features to let someone test and give meaningful feedback that you can act on?
- Are you ready to show off your product and find a first beta tester or even customer?
How you answer these questions will help you determine what stage you are at, and you can then plan accordingly.
Consider where your product or service resides in the product life cycle: (1) development, (2) introduction, (3) growth, (4) maturity, or (5) decline. Each of those stages varies in length and directly affects how you market and what your timing is.
Once those are fine-tuned and agreed upon in the overall plan, then a company can begin to look into the competitive market scene to unlock more clues on timing.
All in all, remember that product knowledge helps your messaging, the "how," and industry knowledge that relates to it can help determine your "when."