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Market Your Company

History is littered with examples of companies with superior products and technologies that did not make it. There are various reasons for it, and not being loud enough is one of them. Young companies need to get noticed to get off the runway. The philosophy that a product will sell by itself if it is superior does not work in the real world. What good is a superior product if the customers don't know about it?

Companies need to be present at the "happening" places. For example, conferences, seminars, industry shows, and so on would be great places to get noticed. Being associated with nonconventional events through sponsorships can also help. The art of positioning a company in the minds of customers needs to be handled with care, while operational issues of tracking targets and nailing them one by one is a specialized task in itself. Professional marketing people can help a company achieve the visibility it needs. Often, they bring along their network of contacts, such as the media connections, to the company.

Be creative in promoting your company, especially as you approach your first deliverables, which may be to a partner, to a venture capitalist, or to external customers. You may need to dream up novel ways to get the attention of a customer or a partner. A startup in parking-challenged San Francisco paid for an entire day of parking in various centrally located parking garages. This got them a tremendous amount of attention from not only the people parking their cars, but also from the press, which covered this novel method of promotion. In short, they got heard. At the same time, as a young company, don't go overboard and blow it all on a 30-second spot at the Olympics. Bottom line: perfect message at the optimal place at the right time for the lowest price.

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