Advent of advanced technology like analytics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality and blockchain have opened new avenues for businesses across many sectors. Numerous start-ups have come up in India in the recent years. As per Nasscom report, 1,200 plus start-ups commenced operations in 2018, including eight unicorns, We now own about 7,200 tech start-ups making us the third largest in the world. By 2020, the total count is expected to touch 10,000. Of the total number of start-ups, about 40% are B2B.
With so many start-ups, do all succeed? As per Mohandas Pai, the ex-Infosys director, about 60% of them fail. The most common reason is their inability to reach the potential customers at the right time and failure to showcase their thought leadership around their product or services .
Challenges faced by start-up marketers
Problems faced by SME in content marketing*
2014 B2B Small Business Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
SMEs and Start-ups face many challenges on their journey to becoming a trusted brand. The above graph can be summed as:
- Lack of resources: Smaller enterprises lack the budget to get trained content marketers on board and thereby attempt to create the content using their in-house resources. They do not have the knowledge to create effective content as a result their marketing efforts may not give them the desired ROI or engagement.
- Inconsistent execution of marketing activities: To ensure that thought leadership is established, it is important to post content consistently and in a sustained manner across various online channels. However, running this in-house can result in lapsed timelines due to their need to juggle multiple marketing activities along with various other responsibilities.
- Choosing the right content platforms: Different platforms are suitable for different forms of content. Due to lack of awareness, most start-ups market through ineffective platforms.
- Keeping up with trends and technology: New online marketing tools emerge in frequent intervals. Marketing using the latest tools and technology will only yield best results which these companies may not be aware of.
Content marketing for survival and growth
Adopting content marketing strategies would help the start-up achieve organic growth and scalable business. Below are 4 reasons why SMEs and Start-ups need to embrace content marketing:
- Low investment high returns: Content marketing yields 3 times more return for every penny invested as compared to traditional methods like advertising. This is ideal for start-ups as they operate on a low budget.
- Higher Conversion rate: A study by eConsultancy found that brands investing in content marketing got 12 times the lead over their period of study and the chances of conversion were 5 times higher.
- Creates thought leadership: Content marketing focuses on building and showcasing thought leadership. They consistently post content that addresses the target market’s concerns and challenges and also offer a peak into what the future holds for their respective industries.
- Builds credibility: Building thought leadership not only attracts customers, but also potential investors to enable SMEs & Start-up to scale their business. Investors and Large enterprises like to pick up stakes in start-ups. Sustained content marketing to showcase thought leadership can help start-ups and SMEs achieve these dual targets simultaneously.
Value of engaging with the right content partner to grow the business
For thought leadership to be established, the right mix of content strategy, development and marketing is essential. Content marketing should be treated as is a full time activity and needs to be carried out by dedicated trained pair of hands in a sustained manner to achieve the business objectives. Engaging with the right partner like ThoughtStarters will ease the pressure of the start up leaders.
3 areas where start-ups and SMEs would benefit by partnering with a content marketing agency are:
Content strategy : There are various forms of content like Articles, Infographics, News Pieces, How-to-Guides, Press Releases, Videos and White Papers. A right partner will be able to offer insights on the best format of content for the target audience profile identified.
Content development: Our research shows that only 5% B2B buying decision makers believe content they receive from vendors showcases thought leadership. Quality content writers can help articulate the content piece in the right manner that can showcase the company’s expertise as well as speak the business language their target audience would love to hear from their potential service partner.
Content marketing : Content is only effective when it engages the audience. The right partner can help companies plan the distribution of the content in manner it reaches maximum target audience. This includes identifying the right online and offline channels that can create better engagement. Few such channels could be websites, blogs, webinars, podcasts, newsletters, online forums, industry journals, and other social media channels.
Given the numerous benefits, content marketing should become an integral part of the organization’s marketing strategy. While the agency partner can manage the entire content marketing efforts end-to-end, the heads of the companies can concentrate on their core area of business.
About the Author
Karthik Nagendra is the Founder & CEO at ThoughtStarters. Karthik is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience across strategy, marketing, operations and HR. He has been instrumental in creating many award winning programs for leading brands like MeritTrac-India’s largest Skills Assessment Company, Wipro Technologies and Accenture in his earlier stints. He has worked closely with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms globally and acted as a catalyst in providing best practices and insights to customers across sectors. He has authored papers & articles on marketing, strategy, gender diversity in international journals & has been a guest speaker at many Ivy League Universities globally. He has been featured among the Top 30 marketing Consultants in India by a reputed business magazine. Karthik holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University & an MBA in Marketing & Finance from IMI Belgium. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Marketing Management.