I don’t care where you are located, start-ups and the people who do start-ups – the entrepreneurs – are all the rage. Everyone wants to be a part of the next great start-up. And, why not? It can be pretty damned cool working for or with a start-up. But start-up entrepreneurs can be hard to reach. How do marketers reach them? Here are 6 tips to market to the start-up entrepreneur.
Like all marketers I had assumptions and beliefs about what works and what doesn’t. So, I wanted to test my theory. I asked 20 start-up entrepreneurs to take a short survey. I wanted to know where do they look for information, who influences them and what influences them.
6. What type of advertising do you notice
This is an interesting question in and of itself. I didn’t ask what influences them, but rather what do they notice.
Interestingly enough in this group it was ads on buses. In fact, 71% noticed these ads. Online pop-up ads were second getting the attention of 43% of my sample group. Tied for last place were ads in local newspapers and/or in newsletters. In fact, only 14% noticed these ads.
5. Do Ads Influence Entrepreneurs?
Now, this is the question that is really important to all marketers! Are my ads influencing you? Will I woo you to my brand versus my competitor with my clever and witty ads? Sadly the answer is a resounding no from my sample. Nearly 72% indicated that ads do not influence them.
4. How about trust? Do Entrepreneurs trust our ads?
Again, I was pretty certain about what I would get for answers to this question. In the words of Erik Qualman, only 14% of consumers trust tv ads. My survey was more focused and 58% acknowledged that they don’t trust advertisements in general.
3. How do you feel about promotional materials (hats, t-shirts, pens, etc.)
I have my own personal feeling about promotional items and it is quite strong. For me, unless it is something amazing, I likely don’t take it. If I have to take it and I am travelling I leave it for housekeeping. As a marketer, I always hope that people are not like me in this regard, but they are. In fact, 57% felt that promotional items were a waste of money. And, most importantly marketers, not one person indicated that promotional items had any influence on them when it came to wanting to work with one brand versus another.
2. So, where do Entrepreneurs go looking for information?
Well, according to my survey nearly 72% visit blogs. Surprisingly for me though, is that 57% also go to government sources. Perhaps this should not be too surprising as many start-ups are seeking funding grants and programs for such things as payroll, and yup, you guessed it: marketing funds!
1. So, what is the best way to reach Start-up Entrepreneurs and better yet, influence them?
Are you ready for it? As a marketer if you are surprised by this, we really, really need to chat. The #1 thing that influences the start-up entrepreneur are referrals by peers. In this instance, entrepreneurs are not that different from the rest of us. Check out this great survey result from marketingcharts.com. Their results indicate that 84% of respondents trust peer results. My survey netted 100% results.
Second to referrals were…and a drum roll and again if you are surprised, we need to talk……blogs. Nearly 72% said that they are influenced by blogs from peers and/or experts.
Social media discussion groups were third at 43%.
So, if you want to reach and influence start-up entrepreneurs, dump the traditional marketing approach of push, push, push the message and adopt a solid content marketing strategy. Be sure to make Influencer Relations a part of that overall strategy!