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Starting From Scratch Online - Disruptive Marketing Tips for CMOs

By John McTigueJun 4, 2012

Startups aren't the only companies starting from scratch in the world of online marketing. Many companies are starting over as they update their branding, adjust to mergers and acquisitions or seek to modernize their Web and social media presence. The question is always, how to begin this process and what's the scope of the project to rapidly develop a successful brand online? Here are a few tips CMOs should consider as they begin the planning process.

how will you launch your disruptive marketing campaign

Time to Market vs. Initial Quality

It's true, the clock is ticking. Your competition is already out there and probably has a substantial lead in brand awareness, Web traffic and lead generation. How can you close the gap quickly and start to capture market share? How do you balance this sense of urgency with the desire to make a great first impression and develop a loyal following? Here are a few ideas:

  • This will not be cheap, and trying a few experiments won't get you there. You must get corporate buy-in and commitment for the project to succeed.
  • Put your best people on the project led by your best project manager.
  • Create a team that's focused on one thing—building your online presence.
  • Include senior designers and developers, content creators, SEO and social media experts and brand marketers—and don't forget to include sales people.
  • Develop a marketing plan first, including business objectives, target market, buyer persona and behavior and strategy for both earned and paid content marketing.
  • Make sure that a consistent set of brand guidelines and marketing messages are established and understood by every team player.
  • Set a launch date and do everything you can to meet the milestones and deadline.
  • Plan and execute multiple, coordinated projects in parallel, for example web design and development, content creation, SEO, social media and outbound campaigns.
  • Your team leader is crucial in keeping the lines of communication open and making sure that objectives are met on time with the highest possible quality.

Finding the Right Mix of Marketing Strategies

You're fighting for the attention of potential buyers, people who have already been reached by your competitors and aren't necessarily looking for new options. By definition, you are a disruptive force in the marketplace, but that won't win you new customers by itself. You must strike the right balance between intrusiveness and thought leadership to attract visitors and stimulate repeat visits and lead conversions. Consider a mixed strategy of inbound and outbound tactics such as:

  1. Early stage "buzz" or "coming soon" campaign with a "trailer style" video promoted via social media, TV/radio.
  2. Alternative strategy—keep everything secret (a la Apple) and only leak out that something hot is coming soon.
  3. Beta launch for developers, early adopters.
  4. Social media crowdsourcing, contests for branding elements and product naming.
  5. Staged website development, with early launch of basics and progressively more content and features over time.
  6. Consider launching your blog first and start discussions on industry challenges (that can be addressed with your as-yet-unnamed solution).
  7. Traditional PR strategy focused on reaching industry writers, bloggers and analysts, causing them to speculate on the new brand coming soon.
  8. Webinars with preview demos, expert discussions and q & a.
  9. Participate early and often in industry social media sites and forums. Get your thought leaders involved and court other industry influencers in the process.

The Keys to a Successful (and Fast) Launch

You can't easily start from 0 and get to 60 in a hurry online. There are too many barriers to overcome, and you're fighting an uphill battle against oversaturation and complacency in the marketplace. The only way to beat the odds is to be all-in with budget, manpower and commitment to succeed sooner rather than later. You need to use every tool with proven traction in your industry and hit the ground running. A deliberate, tentative approach will not work well in today's ultra-fast-paced online environment. I know, it sounds severe, but the conservative approach to marketing is yesterday's strategy for startups and rebrands. If you want to be disruptive, you need to disrupt.

Still Contemplating Your Next Move? Your Competitors Have Already Made Theirs.

Photo credit: jurvetson



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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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