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3 Marketing Musts for Growing a Start-up in Southeast Asia

The region’s start-up ecosystem has a bright future ahead. Don’t get left behind

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 07 Feb 2018

3 Marketing Musts for Growing a Start-up in Southeast Asia

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The start-up ecosystem in Southeast Asia surely has a bright future ahead — if raising a disclosed equity funding of $6.5 billion in 2017 is any indication. As an entrepreneur who has high hopes for riding along with the region’s burgeoning business ecosystem, how does one keep his or her start-up from getting left behind?

After all, any battle-ready entrepreneur is well aware that most start-ups still fail. And while a start-up’s success is determined by many factors, one thing an entrepreneur can do to create and sustain growth is a great marketing strategy.

So whether one is just starting the journey to entrepreneurship, or has years of experience under his or her belt, here are some marketing musts an entrepreneur should follow.

1. Build an excellent, SEO-friendly website

A website can be the best sales person a start-up could have. People discover the brand through its website, and a compelling website can turn a lead into a sale right away. It is the face of the brand in the online world.

With new online tools available, it’s never been easier to build a user-friendly website. But the challenge is how one can optimize it for search engines so the brand will be there when people search for topics related to its products and services.

From website audit to keyword research, optimizing content and design, or to building or promoting links, an expert digital marketer or SEO specialist can help you and guide you through the process. Hence, it is crucial to have a digital marketing expert on the team.

2. Expose the brand

“Many start-up owners make the huge mistake of not investing in PR and media outreach campaigns until their start-ups start to drive profit,” writes Melissa Thompson in this Inc. article. “Getting a couple of articles published in respected publications will not only expose your start-up to targeted audiences — all of those potential adopters and loyal customers — but also drive leads, shorten your sales cycle, and build authority and trust,” she adds.

As a start-up founder, one also needs to be out there attending conferences and events. Those are the right places to network and spark word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Practice ‘tomorrowcasting’

Growth always has something to do with customer loyalty and the ability to stay ahead of the curve. That’s where ‘tomorrowcasting’ comes in. The term tomorrowcasting, which means determining what the consumer will want in the future and preparing for it now, was coined by Naveen Rajdev, CMO of information technology company Wipro Limited.

“Non-obvious trends are things which are going to be trends. Just before that tipping point, you need to capture them. ...Going through ton of data, going through a lot of magazines. Going through a lot of articles — we created a methodology,” he explains at data-driven marketing conference &THEN held last October 2017.

Tomorrowcasting involves constant analysis of data — data on customer journey, sales cycles, marketing campaigns, and the like — and being always on the lookout for news and industry updates. Being aware of these things early on can prepare a start-up for what’s to come, and adapting accordingly — whether there’s a need to create a new product or service, improve existing offerings, or change the business model entirely, tomorrowcasting can be key to growth. And constant growth puts you one step ahead of the competition.

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