Marketing afstemmen op je business model? Dat doe je zo!

Marketing en marketingactiviteiten kunnen variëren van concreet tot heel ongrijpbaar en van intuïtief tot meetbaar. Een breed spectrum waarbinnen het soms moeilijk kan zijn om een richtlijn aan te brengen. Een momenteel populaire aanpak is het vertellen van een verhaal, oftewel storytelling. Een ander uitgangspunt voor je marketingactiviteiten kan je business model zijn.

Waarom je businessmodel als fundering gebruiken voor je marketing?

Type product en de bijbehorende relatieduur

Als je je businessmodel als uitgangspunt van je marketing en marketingactiviteiten neemt, ga je indirect uit van drie principes. Allereerst het type product en de bijbehorende relatieduur tussen bedrijf en klant. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan IT bedrijven. Het product is een website, database applicatie of andere digitale of software oplossing. Die gaan vaak gepaard met een stukje licensing en ‘abonnementen’ op servicecontracten. Een langdurige relatie dus, die duidelijk invloed kan hebben op je marketingactiviteiten. Bovendien zijn er binnen de IT industrie twee typische doelgroepen: de experts die bijzonder veel van het onderwerp af weten en de ‘beginnelingen’ die juist erg veel hulp nodig hebben. Ook een bijzonder belangrijk aspect voor je marketingactiviteiten.

Hoe veel en hoe snel komt het geld binnen?

fashionEen tweede aspect van je businessmodel dat invloed heeft op je marketing, is de snelheid waarmee je geld op haalt en ook in het verlengde daarvan, ook de hoeveelheid geld die je binnen haalt per sale. Bijvoorbeeld: een online retailer zoals Zalando.com die bijvoorbeeld populaire kleding en accessoires  verkoopt moet vaak grote hoeveelheden verkopen omdat de prijzen relatief laag zijn. De doorloop van de items veranderd snel (mode is ieder seizoen anders) en de doelgroep kan snel switchen naar een ander platform. Loyaliteit creëren (en andere zaken) is dus een extreem belangrijke doelstelling voor de slaagkans van dit businessmodel en de uitvoer van marketingactiviteiten.

De inhoud van je marketing

Een derde groot aspect is de inhoud van je verhaal. Daarmee bedoelen we dus de letterlijke inhoud van je berichten. Dit zal enerzijds op je businessmodel moeten worden afgestemd en anderzijds is dit een manier om tussen dezelfde businessmodellen onderscheid te maken

Denk bijvoorbeeld aan biedingswebsites zoals Ticketveiling.nl waarbij het bedrijf achter de site een bepaalde commissie krijgt op een verkochte of geinde deal. De prijs is veel 10-eurocentmoeilijker te beïnvloeden omdat mensen erop kunnen bieden waardoor je een verschuiving ziet in het type content. Een traditionele luchtvaartmaatschappij is vaak redelijk fanatiek in het aanbieden van lage ticketprijzen (“Vlieg nu naar Dubai voor maar €… !”). Veilingsites proberen klanten veel op de breedte van hun aanbod te wijzen. Groupon biedt allerlei ideeën aan voor activiteiten bij jou in de buurt en Ticketveilig geeft je inspiratie voor leuke dagjes uit om zo de kans dat iemand converteert naar een betaalde gebruiker te vergroten.

Marketing en businessmodel ondersteunen elkaar..

Natuurlijk zijn hiermee niet alle aspecten gedekt, zowel marketing als businessmodellen zijn veel complexer dan deze drie punten. Ook is het logisch dat bepaalde punten zoals ‘doelgroep’ een agendapunt worden want dit is nou eenmaal onderdeel van een goed marketingplan. Het idee is echter om vanuit het businessmodel-perspectief (“Hoe verdien je geld?”) te kijken naar je marketing in plaats van op de automatische piloot braaf alle hoofdstukken van je “Marketingplan-2017” af te tikken. Als je de kenmerken van je businessmodel (snel/ langzaam product, relatie, doelgroep(en), logistieke partners, etc.) een naast je huidige marketingactiviteiten legt, dan analyseer je je marketingactiviteiten op een gerichte manier. Je doelstellingen kunnen worden aangescherpt en businessmodel en marketingactiviteiten versterken elkaar.

McKinsey says ‘Business Needs More Women’: Crowdfunding Can Support This Goal

Why do we want more women in business? Practicing gender equality is usually not the reason one starts a company. Are men making a mess of our economies and companies? Is “the men’s world” not functioning or failing in creating sustainable growth within our economies? No, not really. The vast majority of men in companies are good people and devoted individuals. By no means are men the ‘wrong-doers’ and should be replaced because of such a (faulty) reason.Then why does this discussion matter?

Women make companies perform better

Numbers don’t lie, especially not when they’re provided by McKinsey & Company: companies with some 30% or more women in top level functions, perform better. A lot better actually, according to McKinsey & Company’s yearly report “Women Matter”. These companies have better return on equity, 11.4% vs. companies who have significant lower amounts of women in their top layer of the company. In addition, operating results are better (11.1% vs. 5.8%) and stock price growth is also significantly better (64% vs. 47%). Women like Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg are examples of what women could potentially contribute to a company.

In addition, in 2040 Europe is expected to need another 24 million people to tackle the workload, and women are already there. Another reason why we need more women on the work floor is that they’re usually the main decision unit in household purchases, and I’m not talking about groceries. Women spend 71% of the household budget. In Japan, 60% of the women are responsible for choosing a car (now there’s a man’s-world industry for you) and in Europe 47% of the PC’s are bought by women. Notice the “glam” redesigned notebooks that are now available? Notice the advertisers bragging about low weight PC’s? You know why. Then why is it that, according to the Boston Globe, a company pitched by men is 40% more likely to receive funding? And how can crowdfunding change that?

It’s Partially Women’s Own Fault

A lot of women simply approach things differently. If you ask women why a project was successful, about 70% will tell you they were lucky, they worked hard, etc. Men will tell you they’re awesome, says research. In addition, women tend to not discuss their success and attribute it to others (the team). Costa Rica’s first female president, Laura Chinchilla says women are seen as weak because of this: “We understand success not as the result of just one person but as the result of a team,” she told Forbes’ writer Jenna Goudrau. “[It’s a] different way of dealing with power [that] is misunderstood as a kind of weakness.”.

On top of that, women deal with “double trouble”. First, it’s difficult to what Sandberg (and McKinsey & Company) to the “double workload”: raising a family and developing your career. Reports show that in the case were equal companies pitched by either a man or a woman, the man was more likely to receive funding. The reason? Maybe a story sounds more familiar to man when it’s told to him by another man, we don’t like what’s unfamiliar. Much the same way society might prefer a female child care taker instead of male childcare worker, a.k.a. “Manny”..

The Solution is Part of the Problem

If we want more women in business, what’s stopping us? Well, the women are actually. They stick together in Women’s Clubs, Women’s Awards, etc. Personally, if someone ever handed me the award for “Best company with a female CEO”, I’m not sure I’d appreciate it: “Here’s your consolidation prize, now go play with the other kids”, or, “You’re not bad at all.. for a woman”. It sucks to be considered a second rank “leader”, or cheerleader, as was Sarah Palin.

Then why do women do this? Because men do it too. The (in)famous “old boys network” didn’t spontaneously come into existence. Men-only business and networking clubs (as insightfully described by The Guardian)  have existed for over hundred years, plenty of time to establish the beginning of the just as infamous glass ceiling. And even though “Women-only clubs” aren’t going to completely solve the problem, I can definitely imagine that it’s easier to pack some punch when somebody has your back. And why desperately try to build that back up framework with a group of people that need some serious convincing (men), when you have another group of people that is very willing and open to support you: women. And though I have some serious doubts about this form of separatism, there is one specific area in business where women might actually help each other conquer the business: online investing.

Women Investing in Women: online

In order to get more women in (offline) businesses we need to activate women to pick up projects or start up companies. Tough when you’re faced with the barriers above but much easier when you create an environment where those barriers are minimized. Women have the tendency to fund a larger part of their company themselves as it’s harder for them to come by via men, according to USA Today. The result? A company that has fewer resources to fully develop its potential. The solution? Ask a woman to crowdfund the initiative instead of raising funds in the traditional way.

First, the chances of raising funds via a lot better. 42% of Indiegogo’s successful projects are run by women, says Geri Stengel’s Forbes contributor. These crowdfunding campaigns are often mostly funded by other women, according to. They also raise some 11% more money than men, and according to USA Today, women make better investors because: 1) they focus on long-term, non-monetary goals; 2) they are less prone to take unnecessary risks and do quality research; and 3) that men trade 45% more than women, leading to a loss of 2.65% on men’s net returns. And women lead campaigns get 1.3 more followers than men lead companies, according to CrowdExpert.

How does crowdfunding success get more women in business?

Women get a fair chance. No (or less) bias, more access to more investors, both men and women that, in contrary to the established funding industry, are willing to take chance in a woman lead company. There is more money flowing in women’s initiatives, giving women the chance to prove their potential. In establishing great cases, more women like Sandberg and Mayer earn a place in the spotlight, increasing the society broad idea that women can actually achieve something. That way, more and more people (men and women) get the live demonstration of what already has been proven: women make business better.

Final note of the authorI’ve never been much of “we need more women”-person. I believe in hiring the best and if that’s not a woman, I’m fine with that. As a result I was totally unaware of the fact that companies with a certain amount of women perform better, before writing this article. In addition, doing my research for this article I’ve noticed this discussion is very extensive (and quite interesting really) and I haven’t addressed all the related points on purpose. If you have any subjects you’d like to touch, feel free to share them in the comments.

3 ways incubators and accelerators will help you kick off your business!

Founder of a startup or thinking about starting your own company? Then you’ll need all the help you can get, including that of accelerators and incubators! But what’s the difference and why should you want their help?

Accelerators vs. Incubator

Crudely put, accelerators are short term, incubators are long term. The latter are often part of a larger company or institution, such as a university. In the last five years the call for universities to valorise (make useful) the knowledge they produce has grown, and incubators are one way of doing that. In combination with an increased number of people that want to start their own company,the need for expertise about entrepreneurship has grown, too. Accelerators focus on speed and getting things done. Intensive coaching, clear deadlines, resources and a cut out, step-by-step program are what characterise these initiatives. Incubators are great for in-depth knowledge and testing.

Dutch entrepreneurs can check Gerben Derk’s article (“Startup incubators en accelerators wie zijn ze en wat moet je ermee?) for more information about the differences.

So why participate in one of these programs? To quickly and efficiently counter the pitfalls that all entrepreneurs will run into at some point during their exciting startup development: lack of time, lack of results and making unnecessary mistakes.

Lack of Time

True, signing up for a program will not literally create more time, but it does create the focus necessary to do more in less time. Seeing that most programs require you to sign up with not only a clear business plan but also a clear approach of what you’re going to accomplish the next months, it’s obivous that even only applying might get you started. Additionally, you don’t need to waste time on finding a cheap but sufficiently equipped office that’s also easy to reach, setting up your internet connection or arranging a coffee machine. Somewhere. Everything’s there and available at a low price.

Lack of Results

Startup dreams are great but in the end you want to see some results, even if it’s just to verify your hard work actually produces some kind of output. Additionally, if you have investors or partners, they’ll want to see some results too. For investors the incentive is clear: you’re using their money, to get them more money. But friends and family will also be very disappointed if your startup isn’t able to deliver your promises.

The fact that you work with coaches, a schedule, a well thought out plan, the fact that you have a larger network and access to more knowledge will make it much easier for you to produce something tangible. Entrepreneurship is about turning a vision into a result: you can’t do that  when you’re in a room on your own, 24/7.

Unnecessary mistakes

I know it’s very cool to say that you should make as many mistakes as possible, because it will miraculously turn your idea into a operating company. I disagree and so do you, seeing that it’s much better to avoid  wasting money, time and people’s patience as much as possible, and only make well calculated mistakes from which you learn.And there are a couple of things about mistakes that accelerators and incubators can help you with.

A lot of not-so-smart mistakes come from entrepreneurs who pride themselves with being opinionated and stubborn. Though it’s great to have an opinion on what you think should happen, it’s even better to double check it with an expert or a peer before spending the next three months finding out what you could’ve known on forehand. In my experience, it’s better to ask than to assume. And with a co-founder, coach, accelerator network, and a lot of other startups, it’s much easier to find a person who knows a person.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll make mistakes and you’ll make a lot of them that in hindsight were so obvious your beloved and blind-as-a-bat granny could’ve seen them coming. But if these mistakes are the result of you being stubborn or refusing to ask for help, you’re going to have a hard time setting up a company.

In short..

There are lots of entrepreneurs who make it without an accelerator or incubator. But if you’re clear on what you want but don’t know how to get it, participating in a program can be very beneficial. A good coach or program is like a personal trainer: it’s get you off your butt and in shape!