When you’re starting out as a founder, or entrepreneur, you want to see your business go the distance. There are too many cautionary tales for you not to be aware that there are always risks to starting a business, whatever sector it’s in: everything from bookshops to financial management comes with heavy competition from other starters to big established brands with the resources to out compete you.

From day one – from before day one – you need to be working to become the most successful brand in your sector. Even if the road is a long one, that drive will keep you competitive, and make sure you’re striving to dominate the territory available to you, as well as forging towards broader horizons and bigger markets.

Seeking a Wide Audience

If you’re going to be the most successful brand, you need to seek a wide audience – overcommitting to a core audience is a mistake for beginners. Market segmentation and targeting is the path to success: understanding your whole market as made up of distinct groups with distinct needs and different ways to appeal to them. This lets you craft a marketing plan that takes in every potential consumer and prioritise how you spend your resources based on how likely those customers are to respond, and how much you need them!

A Data Driven Approach

Of course, it’s no good constructing this complex, all-encompassing plan if you don’t keep a close eye on how well it works. You need to be linking marketing pushes to revenue, and to your brand strength to make sure they’re having the effect you want. Revenue is available for you to measure, and digital sales can be linked to ads customers have been served and clicked through, but if you want to measure the effect on marketing on your brand strength, you’ll need more help.

A market research firm can use brand tracker surveys to measure your brand’s health, strength and market penetration over time, with customers giving feedback on why they feel what they feel about it, as well as comparing it to your competitors, so you can see whether you’re improving your mindshare relative to them.

Gathering this data lets you make your decision-making iterative: results feedback into the decision you take in the future, allowing you to predict what will lead to success, and what’s not likely to have an impact, so you can improve your plans and the results with each iteration and round of data gathering.