Entrepreneur 3: Marketing Plan, Strategies, Distribution and Channels

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Opensourcing my entrepreneurship course notes, the third lecture of my course focus on introducing to the student: (a) the concept of marketing, (b) the 4 “P”s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion, (c) various marketing distributions and channels and (d) the use of social media for start-ups for public relations or engagement, crisis management or feedback mechanism with users. This is a series based on a course “MPS 812: Entrepreneurship” I have been teaching in School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University.

My Course Slides:

Talking Points

  • Different interpretations of marketing from start-ups to large corporations: The functions of marketing gradually changes as a company traversed from a start-up to a multi-national corporation. Specifically for technology start-up phase, marketing is usually divided into two main tasks: (a) propagate a new service, product or idea to a market which may or may not induce change of behaviour of the consumers, (b) engaging the press or early adopters to provide feedback on how the technology can deliver value, from serving a pain point to improving everyone’s life. In a multi-national corporation, the marketing department is totally focused on creating brand awareness and may engage on an abstract level in spreading the word about the technology, for example, think about why Intel as a chips maker would want personal computers manufacturer to put a sticker “Intel inside”. They also create media campaigns for a new product in a period of time, for example, 3-6 months. Public relations or corporate communications are a separate function in a large company, where the executive handles media queries and respond to crisis situations pertaining to the company.
  • Is marketing a sunk cost in any company? How do you peg the cost of marketing into a product?: Marketing is a function that a company has to pay for and it is not possible to generate revenues, unless the company peg the amount of marketing to sales figures. In some companies, the marketing team justify their media campaign expenditure by crafting to how much $X dollars of marketing will generate $Y dollors of sales (of course, X < Y). In big companies, the marketing team might outsource the campaigns to media buyers who will engage creative agencies to come up with a concept to how the campaign spread awareness and identify with the values of the company.
  • The importance of the social media in start-ups: An interesting problem for each start-up faces is how the company can spread the message to the consumers and partners at the lowest cost possible. In the recent years, social media has provided entrepreneurs a set of toolkits to engage the media. Social media blogs become a secondary entry point for start-ups to generate press before they moved up the chain to engage the mainstream media. Social media also allows the product development teams to iterate upon feedback and engaging consumers in ways that have not seen before. Social media is not about just creating a twitter, youtube or facebook page. In fact, creating those channels are just the beginning but sustaining the engagement process and feedback channel are key to the success for any start-up deploying such technology.


Video 1: Dan Cobley, “What Physics has taught me about Marketing”

Lessons learnt from this video:

  • How to be scientific about marketing: The speaker is not trying to marry physics with marketing, but to draw analogies between physics and marketing. For example, he applied the scientific method to identify, measure and evaluate the success and failure of marketing campaign. In social media, identifying metrics to measure the return of investment over a media campaign has been a constant debate among advocates and practitioners.


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Bernard Leong

A Pragmatic Idealist