Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leveraging Startups with social media -3: building social media marketing into core business infrastructure

Posted in startups, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on November 22, 2010

This is my third posting in a series on integrating social media into Marketing for a startup or early-stage business, with earlier installments appearing in Web 2.0 Marketing as postings 18 and 20. And I start by point out what may (should) be one of the greatest strengths that a startup or early stage business can have – a simple organizational structure free of silo walls and open to widespread idea sharing and collaboration.

In practice, I have seen founders start carving out niches and areas of personal control quite early and to the detriment of their nascent business as a whole. Keep it simple, and Marketing is as good a reason as any to do that out of many possible.

This posting and in fact this entire series focuses on building Marketing and social media Marketing into a startup, and as a means of creating momentum and market share. And communication outward and two way interactive communication with outside communities can never be better or more effective than the most limited and bottle-necked area of your own internal communications. If you start building internal walls, you will never be able to effectively communicate as a unified and organized business, and with a single voice as you will not have that single unified voice or vision to convey.

When I wrote Part 2 of this series: Building from a Startup Marketing Campaign I started outlining a case study that is in fact in its early stages as a startup, and still way short of bringing in its first dollar of revenue let alone going cash flow positive. That startup is RockMelt and its goal is to break into the browser market as a new alternative to Internet Explorer and other current options. The founders of this new business face a very daunting challenge, and if they succeed in breaking into the browser market and capturing enduring market share, that will require an incredibly focused and effective marketing campaign. They will need to find and develop a message that really resonates. And they will have to do this within a brief window of opportunity from initial public launch until their competitors can match them with easy social media connection features in their browser products too.

If they are to succeed, these founders will have to be fully organized and prepared, and to act quickly. They have a pretty significant startup fund to draw on for this at some $10 million but money alone cannot make this work.

I have received my email from RockMelt for trying out their new browser and I am thinking of doing that at work for one of my clients and on their machine I use while there. This is not a startup per se, but they do see themselves as still being early stage. And windows of opportunity should always be treated as if there for a short duration at best and for any business.

I finish this posting by posing some checklist due diligence questions.

• Is RockMelt offering a sufficiently novel unique value proposition for it to stand out in the marketplace as a viable option for people to take the effort to change to?
• Is this a unique value proposition that they can maintain a unique competitive edge with, or is it simply a new variation that their competitors can quickly, easily and inexpensively duplicate and match?
• How big a window of opportunity can they expect before that happens and how are they preparing to meet this type of challenge? I would in fact suggest following the rule of three here, and propose that the RockMelt business plan should include three scenarios as to how long their initial window of opportunity in offering a unique product would last.
• Are they organized enough and unified enough and with a sufficiently clear message to be able to effectively develop their unique value proposition and take advantage of the actual window of opportunity the marketplace gives them?

I will be keeping an eye on RockMelt and am sure to come back to this startup again in future postings.

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