3 Reasons Why Start-ups Should Invest in Content Marketing

Today, a stream of regular and engaging content can get people talking about any organization.

Content MarketingWhile this is definitely good news for start-ups, the reality is that they often don’t have the time, resources or know-how to turn their organization into a lean, mean content marketing machine. Just like that, developing content often gets relegated to the bottom of the team’s to-do list, or simply isn’t a priority at all. However, the cost of missing out on the content marketing game is high: start-ups are essentially forgoing an opportunity to attract customers.  In fact, The Content Marketing Institute says “the idea of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating and curating relevant and valuable content.”

Here are three reasons how content marketing can help your emerging organization succeed:

Announce your existence and develop brand recognition

A successful, responsive and targeted content marketing strategy can help an emerging organization capture a prospect’s attention even when the market is crowded with bigger and more established names. Valuable and unique content – and this could be anything from a white paper to a video – is always appreciated in the form of shares, likes, retweets and/or comments. You can even repurpose long-form content into social media content for Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. This goes a long way in establishing your organization’s presence online.

Encourage and enable product usage

A key objective for many start-ups today is to of course attract more customers, but also get existing users to actually use the product. After all, if a user sees value in the product then there’s a higher chance they’ll talk about online and in turn influence more people to try the product out. Quality content that’s sent out on a regular basis can help users make optimum use of the product’s features and improve their overall experience. As an agile start-up, consider creating Vine videos on your mobile devices  — you can capture great testimonials and product reviews.  You can also record conversations and monologues, if you’d rather not write all the time.

Understand market requirements and act as a funnel for ideas

Response to your organization’s content can give you a clear idea of what your target audience feels about relevant issues, the industry they operate in and their wish-list for the future. While actually eliciting a response may take some time, the end goal is worth it: you’ve got an active “idea catcher” for future product enhancement and new product ideas! Consider creating LinkedIn forums about topics that are related to your start-up, and engage in conversations with your target audience

It’s essential that start-ups focus on getting the right content marketing strategy into place, and this involves understanding your target customer, the right content “tone of voice” and more. If you’d like to understand how emerging organizations like yours can leverage a successful content marketing strategy to drive brand awareness, click here to download this free eBook titled “How to propel start-up growth with content” by Yorke Communications.

Product LaunchPAD: Putting the spotlight on 9 quality tech products

On day two of the NASSCOM Product Conclave, nine ‘Product LaunchPAD’ companies were announced. These companies were recognized for their high-quality, emerging products.  The gathering, which took place in the ‘Agenda’ hall at the Vivanta by Taj, comprised representatives of the selected companies, industry veterans, the co-hosts of the event (Sharad Sharma and MR Rangaswami) as well as members of the online and offline media communities.

In a time when the product ecosystem in the country is gaining momentum, it’s important to recognize the efforts of companies like these who are focussed on delivering high-quality technology products and putting India on the product map of the world. As Sharad Sharma pointed out while addressing media at the Product LaunchPAD event, the considerable phase of acceleration in the Indian product space demarcates the ‘tigers in the ecosystem’ — but why is it so important for the product ecosystem to grow?

Let’s get some context.

There are two paths that lie in front of India today: either it can go the way the UK went — where globalization hollowed out the the SMB sector — or it can go the way Germany went — where it’s vibrant and thriving SMB industry shaped the development of the country. So what role does the Indian product story have in this situation? Well, the answer to how the Indian SMB story shapes up depends largely on what’s happening in the Indian SMB ecosystem today. And this means that Indian product companies have to embrace new trends like non-traditional business models and cloud-based technology which enable the availability of software at every available price point. Sharad Sharma highlighted the importance of this last point — he drew a parallel to the revolutionary Nokia phone that was priced Rs.2000, which completely changed the way the aam Indian communicated. This is exactly whats happening in the software world today. More often than not, software is the carrier of best practices in new environments, and this is what makes India uniquely poised to start a new journey of transformation.  And this transformation depends largely on the ability of Indian SMBs to re-invent themselves around these new technologies.

Luckily for India, it’s economic structure is quite similar to the German economy. The data tells a strong story : 26% of India’s GDP comes from the SMB sector, which is growing at a much faster pace than the large businesses sector. For the overall Indian economy to treble, this Indian SMB sector has to not just double but treble — because the burden of the growth of the Indian economic sector is dependent on the growth of the SMB sector, which needs technology to help re-invent itself.

The Product LaunchPAD initiative provides a platform for these companies to showcase their products, which have been in the market for at east a few months.

This year, the judges received 54 entries and shortlisted nine companies after much deliberation. Reflecting the current trends in the industry, many of these companies showcased products and concepts revolving around the cloud, localization and location services, mobility, web applications, social media and script-less test automation.

The nine Product LaunchPAD companies selected for 2012 are:

Qualitia Software Pvt. Ltd (Pune): Qualitia is an easy-to-use yet powerful test automation B2B platform which supports leading test automation tools like HP-QTP and IBM- RFT, including open source solutions like Selenium / Webdriver. This is a script-less test automation platform that transforms the way existing QA teams work in organizations. It empower existing QA teams and automated testing teams.

InSync Tech-Fin Solutions Limited (Kolkata): InSync’s product SBOeConnect is a simple, integrated and flexible solution aimed at Magento (an eBay e-commerce platform)  merchants. The product enables fully automatic and bi-directional data synchronization between the SAP Business One ERP system and the Magento e-commerce platform.

The product is already being used by 80+ Magento merchants, as it fulfills a need that e-commerce businesses have which is a need for an integrated ERP system. The company recently launched a Windows 8 application.

Magnasoft Consulting India Pvt. Ltd (Bangalore): Magnasoft focuses on the geospatial industry, specifically on three segments: content (maps), enterprise (large software for corps) and consumer (child safety). Their product NorthStar caters to the third segment, as the company identified a sweet-spot in the area of child-safety in the K-12 ages. The product used Amazon’s cloud platform to offer a subscription based model to parents who pay Rs.50 a month to receive SMSs that tell them when exactly the school bus their child is on will reach the designated bus-stop. The system works with an accuracy of two minutes and focuses on improving the safety and accountability of school bus systems using the RFID system.

Ciafo (Bangalore): Ciafo’s product Frrole sees itself going beyond mainstream media to revolutionize the news industry. It relies on people enabling news to move faster, and champions the thought of news not being controlled by one single entity. With increased direct sharing and historically low trust levels in mainstream media, Frrole presents a revolutionary new alternative for users to discover news about and around them. By promoting citizen journalism, it also hopes to create a society with more symmetrical distribution of news and opinions.

Silver Stripe Software Pvt. Ltd (Chennai): Tour My App is Silver Stripe Software’s new product which aims to increase user engagement and trial conversion in self-serve web apps. When people sign up with web apps online, its important that they know how to use the app by themselves otherwise they lose interest. The product solves the “what should I do next?” pain point. It lets web application developers create guided tours inside their application on the Tour My App site.

Greytip Software Pvt. Ltd. (Bangalore): GreyTip’s product Greytip Online is a cloud based HR and payroll software (SaaS) that is suitable for SME companies who have between ten and 250 employees. It simplifies and automates most payroll and employee data management activities, including statutory calculation and reporting. With this product, the company takes automation to smaller companies in order to make them competitive, but uses Indian prices. It currently has a user base of 95,000 employees.

Pipal Tech Ventures (Bangalore): Pipal Tech’s application is B2C free application that  aims at bringing Google like search capabilities for offline retailers. DelightCircle is the company’s customer engagement and location based marketing platform. The DelightCircle Smartphone app allows consumers to discover places to shop and eat based on their location and interests, and get rewarded for this. There’s also a DelightCircle SMS based app and a DelightCircle website that offer the same capabilities.

SignEasy: SignEasy is an iPhone, iPad and Android application that offers a a simple and quick way to sign and return documents securely from a device. It allows for multiple signers to accelerate professional transactions and close deals from virtually anywhere. The app also allows for text and image insertions and it can be linked to Box, Dropbox and Evernote for retrieval and archiving of documents. It supports several document and image formats and also offers the ability to set a personal passcode to prevent unauthorized access to signatures and files.

 Selasdia (sales aid spelt backwards) is Aiaioo Labs’ product  which is an intelligent sales assistant for brands. It is essentially a CRM system that has access to customer information, which it uses to listen to all that customers are saying on blogs and  other areas online, and capture this information. It tracks blogs, understands the posts and lets brands know when it is relevant to them and the products they are selling. It tells brands what their customers’ interests are, helps them build relationships and helps them find people they should be talking to.

NPC 2012 starts off on a high energy note!

Wow, what an energetic first day of the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2012!

The ninth edition of the NASSCOM Product Conclave began with an opening address by the two co-hosts, Sharad Sharma and M.R Rangaswami who welcomed delegates and introduced them to the theme of the event this year, which revolves around the emerging technologies of Cloud, Mobility and Big Data. Some important points that Sharad Sharma made included highlighting the fact that till a few years ago, product development was more of an underground movement. He also pointed out that product entrepreneurs are fundamentally different from other entrepreneurs in the way that they are the anti-thesis of the traditional client-server model as they are literally disruptors who are focussed on transforming the lives of their customers totally. He also shed some light on the problems that the tech product industry faces today that prevent many people from seeing the complete potential clearly, such as the generational shift leading to a disconnect. In reality, the product industry will accelerate exponentially — and according to Sharad Sharma — can even lift India out of poverty!

The two co-hosts were then joined on stage by the President of NASSCOM, Mr. Som Mittal, who continued the flow of thought by saying that today, entrepreneurship is being celebrated across the world and in India. He pointed out that there are a number of entrepreneurs today who are open about the fact that they have tried and failed previously, but are willing to try again. The technology buyer is also changing, as this buyer is excited about finding solutions for the real problems that he or she faces.

M.R Rangaswami then gave the audience some insights on why the Indian tech product industry is poised to grow at an accelerated pace. He pointed out that many product entrepreneurs come equipped with enterprise experience, which is invaluable. There are also 900 million mobiles in the country which present an immense opportunity for product developers. The third aspect of this fertile product ecosystem is the emergence of cloud technology that improves accessibility — you can be sitting in one corner of the country and still market your cloud based products to customers at another end.

Did you attend Day 1 of the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2012? Which sessions were your favorite?