The Australian Computer Society is the professional body representing the IT profession. This evening I was invited to the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Special Interest Group, to discuss the role of marketing in enabling an entrepreneurial journey.
Marketing and IT are more closely related than they first appear. Both perform a support function for many organisations, enabling them in turn to deliver their core products or services. In addition, marketing insights are enhanced through IT’s role in data collection and analysis.
With a growing emphasis on tech startups there is a tendency to romanticise the industry, with people forgetting that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google or Facebook were not overnight sensations. While their products were part of their success, it was the execution of their marketing plans and direction that made these products relevant.
Developing a new App or IT based innovation is the first stage of the entrepreneurial journey, getting it to market and maintaining relevancy is what leads to ongoing success. During my presentation, I outlined the role of marketing and highlighted a number of areas that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs.
In particular, there is a need to understand market segments and the potential userbase. No product is relevant to everyone and it is important that you take the time to understand your key target markets. In addition, you should consider your supply chain, investors and business partners, so you have a strategy that considers the value they receive from your innovation.
Furthermore, competitors are another area that is often overlooked. It is factually incorrect to assume that a new product has no competitors. While there may not be other direct competitors (those offering the same product or service), there will be indirect competitors (who offer similar products) and other forms of competition that will compete for your target market’s time and money. Understanding the competitive landscape is essential to developing a successful innovation.
One of my aims is to educate communities on the importance of undertaking a strategic approach to marketing. The presentation at the Australian Computer Society’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Special Interest Group works towards this vision.