You need a strong Product Marketing, BizDev and Sales org to drive demand. You need to have them coordinate and be lead (via influence) by Product (not the other way around).
Filtering by Category: Marketing
The goal is not to win the “best technology” award. The goal is to win the “best business” award.
More often than not, a more effective sales and marketing operation with a simpler/easier to use product will beat the most comprehensive/powerful technology.
If you’re struggling to build your business around technology that most people don’t understand or can’t digest then consider going back to a blank piece of paper and building something very simple that is easy to understand and adopt. Even if that thing is not necessarily new or novel. Then expand from there.
Let’s call this the “gateway drug strategy”
When thinking of sales/go-to-market for your software, it’s very easy to believe that it’s cheaper/faster/more scalable to partner with others to sell your stuff.
This is almost never the case. Channel sales (selling through others) can be a useful booster once you have your core sales engine running, but initially you typically need to do the hard work of finding your own customers and telling your own story.
No one else will be as effective, articulate or motivated to do it as you and your direct team. There’s no other way to get the learnings you need. There’s no better way to build direct connections and brand awareness in the market. There’s no better way to fast track your sales and control your own destiny.
Figure out who your end customer is and “call” them
In the early days of a b2c startup, doing bizdev activity for b2b2c distribution can feel so fun and gratifying.
It can feel like high-momentum, effective work that allows you to lock down glossy brands and partnerships who might get you big batches of users through the door. It also feels great to announce them to friends, family, media etc.
Often times, though, the reality is much, much different. Why? Because...
They often move very, very slowly.
They demand new features and behaviors that are tangential or orthogonal to your core product and business strategy.
They change their mind mid-stream
If you eventually get to ship the partnership/co-marketing program the results/conversion are often much, much smaller than you expect
If the results are marginal (which they almost always are at the beginning), your partner will often give up quickly and not put in the effort to optimise
For all these reasons, and many more, bizdev partnerships for a b2c app is really something to push off for later as a long-term bet and moat.
Instead, there's an axiom that says "Sell your own product'
Often times this feels like a harder, more data driven grind. However if you crack it (and you need to crack it!), it's high-scale, repeatable and has a huge, huge upside. It also forces you to really polish your product so that the user acquisition and retention really works.
When working on product marketing (how you will brand and merchandise your products on marketing materials like your website) you want to be sure to avoid “shipping the org” (i.e. describing things based on the way they were built by internal teams) or doing things for the sake of appearances (e.g. trying to show more products than you have).
You’re number one priority should be to think through the problems and use cases your customers have and describe your product in those terms as clearly and simply as possible.
Conferences are good, but must be supported by other marketing activities like a campaign/topic specific micro-site, Webinars, Blog posts and other materials to maximize impact and conversion from the "oh wow" moment to the "sign me up" action.
If you feel like you have great product-market fit, and there's a large market of like-minded customers you can dominate: Listen to existing customers and continue to incrementally improve your product.
If you feel like you have great and growing product-market fit, but there isn't a big, profitable market left to conquer (or you've found yourself in a product/market you're not passionate about anymore): Sell to someone who wants to tap that market.
If you feel like you don't have great product-market fit and can't see a path towards finding it: Pivot, hard. Ignore existing customers and focus all your resources on the new direction.
You must choose a minimum viable customer and build a killer, habit forming product for them. Then, and only then, can you incrementally expand to other use-cases and market segments.