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1 Bootstrap MarketingBootstrap MarketingWhy You Need To Read This GuideYouve got a great idea, and weve got some great experiencelets see what can happen if we combine them! Our team has worked or consulted for over fifty start-up companies and has over 200+ years of start-up experience. We understand the unique marketing challenges start-ups face, so we packed this guide with the knowledge that we have gained in the form of our Bootstrap LaunchPad Processa proven process to get you to market quickly and effectively. Who Is This eBook For?Simpleyou. This eBook is for anyone with an open mind and a desire to learn from people whove been in their shoes. It doesnt matter whether youre an engineer, a marketer, a CEO, or an investorthere are ideas in this guide that can save you time, money, and pain and most importantly, increase the chances that your start-up will be successful.If You Like It (Or Dont Like It)Tell Us!We hope you read this guide and get something from it. If you do, please follow us on Twitter and tell us what you liked or found most useful. If not, please tell us how we could have made this more valuable, or if you have any questions, tweet us using #ASKBOOTSTRAP.Let the countdown begin!Martyn Crew,CEO, Bootstrap Marketing@bootstrapmktgmartyn@bootstrap-mktg.comCOPYRIGHT 2015 Bootstrap Marketing89 Launch Process SIX! Know Who Your Customers AreFIVE! Positioning and MessagingFOUR! Build Your PresenceTHREE! Establish Metrics, Experiment, Measure, InvestTWO! Marketing Build or BuyONE! Ready to Launch?Bootstrap MarketingKnow Who Your Customers AreMany start-ups view market research as too expensive and time-consuming, but its an essential part of any go-to-market strategy and plan. Understanding your customers wants and needs, market trends, and validating product direction can be the difference between success and failure. Even start-ups that ultimately succeed without doing market research end up pivoting repeatedly, wasting precious time and resources when ideas dont connect with the market.SIX!1213 Market Research Isnt Just for the Big PlayersInvesting some time (and often a little bit of money) in market research throughout your companys growth helps keep your product, positioning, and messaging focused. So how can a start-up with limited resources do effective market research?Start by asking why you want to do market researchwhat are you hoping to accomplish? There are a number of possible reasons, including:Test a hypothesis about the market.Validate product features, value proposition, or road map plans.Test positioning and messaging concepts.Better understand customer wants and needs.Explore market trends, issues, gaps, and challenges.Test product or service pricing and packaging.Who Should You Interview or Survey?The why informs whom you need to talk to and what you need to ask. Most market research will focus on customers, prospects, or industry experts (people in a relevant job role) and thought leaders (if you can get their time). For qualitative information and more in-depth feedback, youll want to do phone or in-person interviews.For quantitative research, online surveys are the best option, but youll want to have at least 200 qualified responses to get meaningful data. Qualified responses? Yesmake sure you survey the right people. Identify the job title, job responsibilities, expertise, industry, company size, and any other relevant factors. You can apply screening criteria in an online survey to make sure you get a reasonable sample. To get 200 qualified responses, you may need anywhere from 300 to 600 respondents (people who actually attempt to take your survey).Where do You Find All Those People to Interview or Survey?CustomersYour own customers will almost always be willing to provide feedback, so if theyre a relevant audience, ask them.Your own networkBe careful not to focus exclusively on people you know since you can easily bias the results.Ask for introductionsYour customers, partners, investors and others can easily introduce you to 4 or 5 of their own contacts.Social mediaYou can use LinkedIn to prospect for participants, or promote a survey on Twitter or other platforms, but beware of introducing bias and of professional survey-takers especially if youre offering any incentive.A third-party provider.People will respond, especially if they know you or feel like theyre part of something new and innovative. In general, people love giving feedback, so you can appeal to their nature, but you must also be prepared to give something back, such as sharing the survey results.The Most Valuable Commodity: TimeIts easy to do a basic survey and call it market researchtheres no shortage of infographics on the web that pretend to provide meaningful data. If youre investing millions of dollars in building a company, its worth putting the time, effort, and perhaps a little bit of money into good market research to test your assumptions. It may take a month or two to conduct research and analyze the data, but it is valuable time spent.You will also want to ensure your survey is time well spent for the survey taker too. Time is the most valuable commodity a participant is providing, and asking the rightor wrongquestions can make or break your market research. Focus on questions that the survey taker or interviewee will feel like they have the expertise to answer, and dont ask more than theyre willing to give in either information or time. 1415 And of course, be mindful of how you phrase questions so you dont inadvertently ask something that turns off the survey taker. Have a trusted advisor read through the survey or questionnaire to provide feedback before you send it out. With interviews, note what works and what doesnt, and make edits to your questionnaire after the first or second interview.A Small Investment Goes a Long WayIts tempting to just throw the survey out there on social media and hope for the best, but you should also be prepared to spend a little bit, especially on quantitative surveys. Phone or in-person interviews are usually free other than your time and maybe the cost of lunch or a coffee. Heres where you should consider investing:A paid account with an online survey toolSurvey Monkey, a perennial favorite, charges $228 per year for their Select planwell worth it for the additional capability.A qualified list of survey candidatesYou can purchase, rent, or build a targeted audience list. Beware that purchased lists quality is low. Rented and self-built lists are stronger. Another option is to utilize a survey company network of survey takers. Prices vary by responses, targeting criteria, and survey length. Lastly, professional survey organizations can run your survey for you and provide basic analysis results, often for under $10,000; however, cost can vary widely depending on the audience (CIOs and CEOs will cost more).Survey incentivesOffer a prize drawing for an Apple Watch or other hot new consumer technology, or an Amazon gift certificate. If the data might be of interest to your respondents, offer them a summary report (business managers often want to know what their peers and competitors are doing!) Lastly, consider reusing your research to create marketing content. If the information is informative to your prospects, create an infographic and a report. Also, offer it up on your website, post it on SlideShare, and maybe even issue a press release if theres a newsworthy angle to it. However, content should never be the primary goal of real market research.Know Your Competitive LandscapeOne of the most important things you can do as a marketing leader is to develop and maintain a current and detailed understanding of the competitive landscape. Your knowledge of the marketplace and your companys relative position in it is critical to the success of your positioning and go-to-market strategy, as it empowers you with information and insights critical to making smart business decisions that will keep you competitive.But the competitive landscape is in a constant state of flux, especially in fast-moving technology sectors like big data and analytics. New start-ups pop up every day. Established players add, remove, sell, acquire, update, and enhance their products and solutions continually. Keeping up is no easy task!There are a number of ways to keep in touch with whats happening in your marketplace. This includes online or printed resources; for example, analyst reports, blogs, thought-leading business journals, industry specific publications and social media groups. However, it would be unwise to rely entirely on these online resources at the expense of information collected in webinars, at conferences, or through discussion with your customers, field staff, industry peers, and colleagues.All of these tactics will keep you current on the gist of the industry, but its important that you also perform periodic deep dive competitive analyses. A fresh and focused analysis will:Validate your understandingDispel apocryphal claimsCrystallize your value propositionSpot opportunitiesUncover best practicesReality check your pricing policyRe-assess your partnershipsShape product and corporate strategy1617 Market Research Checklist and WorksheetThese are some questions you should ask yourself before you begin your research:What are your market research objectives?What market research information should I collect?How do I feel the research data will help my business?How will I reach the desired target audience and collect the data?Who will view, analyze and draw conclusions from the data?What is our timeline to complete this research?Competitor Analysis WorksheetSelf-analysis:What is our core message?What are our key benefits?What is our value proposition?Competitor 1:What is their core message?What are their key benefits?Similarities:Differences:Competitor 2:What is their core message?What are their key benefits?Similarities:Differences:Competitor 3:What is their core message?Wha