November 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Marketing with a Purpose

On November 29, the Women’s Start Up Club hosted Zsuzsanna Jarfas to speak about her experience and to run an interactive workshop on “Marketing with a Purpose.” Every business needs a strategy to help define the direction and vision of that business– according to Zsuzsanna, the definition of strategy is “a plan to reach a financial objective.”

Part of this plan is marketing. Read on below for a summary of the meeting. The next Women’s Start Up Club Meeting on Jan. 31 will cover how to build an online presence and how to create content online. Register for the meeting here!

A 4 -Step Guide to Marketing with a Purpose

Step 1:  Start with Visualizing

Imagine your business is a tree.  Take a white sheet of paper on draw a tree.   Is it a big or a small tree?  Does it bear fruits?  Where are the fruits if any, abundant and easily reachable or scare and high up or do the fruits lay on the ground?   What about the roots? Where is your tree?  Is it covered by other trees or is it easily accessible?  Are there bushes hiding the roots?

The metaphor of the tree is quite powerful.  The size of your tree relates to the size of your business.  If you start out small, is there room to grow?  The fruits represent your product or services.  The roots are how you anchor your business.  The surroundings are your competitors.

We recommend that you reconsider your tree as you walk through the marketing with a purpose outline and amend and continue to revise the tree throughout to represent your business.  The end-result will show you the areas you may want to focus and the order you want to focus your efforts on.

Step 2:   Analyze the environment

Legal Economic
Social Technological

Depending on your business, the environment can make, break or challenge your endeavor.  It is therefore important to first analyze any legal, economic, social and technological realties that could potentially impact your business/products/services.

Find out if there are any legal implications, regulations or laws that you need to be aware of.

The same goes for social, economic and technological framework.

Don’t forget to add your environmental findings to your tree environment as a reminder.

Step 3:  Market Dynamics

Once you know that you are in a favorable business environment, you can then start to take a closer look at the market dynamics particular to your idea.

Market Dynamics
Entrants Buyers
Substitutes Suppliers

There are four things you need to consider around market dynamics: Entrants, Buyers, Substitutes and Suppliers.

Entrants, Substitutes and Suppliers all can fall in the competitor analysis.  Who is already serving the market? (Suppliers). Who can offer the same or similar thing that you offer (Substitutes).  Have you hear of any news in regards to new entrants that offer similar things? (Entrants).  Are there Entrants, suppliers and substitutes available outside your geographic area that could potentially be a competitor?  (Technological environment encourages borderless trade).

The Buyers’ dynamic explores potential customers – who will buy your product/service.

It is always the customer who is the driver of any business.  Without a customer, there is no business.  Think about your target audience.  Reconsider the different environments that could be potentially unlock a wider customer base.

Don’t forget to draw your market dynamic findings and customers on your tree picture.

Step 4:   WHY ME?  Can you do it?

Putting it all together, you can use the lean business model canvas to evaluate your business in more detail and define what it is that gives you a competitive edge over your surroundings and how you can be successful. Those insights you can then translate into a marketing strategy that serves the purpose to attract and maintain a customer base and create a successful and sustainable business. Below is a copy of the model and the questions to help explore the different items in more details. The questions are posed in order of consideration.

Questions to consider in order

  1. Customer segment
  • Who is my customer?
  • Which are the most important segments?

Characteristics: mass market, niche mkt, segmented, diversified, multi-sided platform etc.

  1. Customer relationships
  • What kind of relationships should we establish/maintain with each segment?
  • Do we have already established relationships?
  • How do these relationships integrate with the rest of the business model?
  • What is the cost of customer relationships?

Examples: (dedicated) personal assistance, self-service, automated service, communities, co-creation

  1. Value proposition
  • What customer problems do we solve?
  • What needs do we satisfy?
  • How can we bundle products for each customer segment?

Characteristics: newness, customization, getting the job done, performance, design, brand/status, price, cost reduction, risk reduction, accessibility, convenience/usability

  1. Key activities
  • How do we execute our value proposition?
  • How do we distribute our services?
  • What kind of corporate responsibility activities can we perform?
  • What is the cost of our activities?

Categories: production, problem solving, platform, networks etc.

  1. Key partners
  • Who are our partners?
  • Who are our key suppliers?
  • What kind of resources do we acquire from our partners/suppliers?
  • What kind of activities do our partners/suppliers perform for us?

Partner motivation: optimization, economy, reduction of risk, uncertainty, acquisition of resources & activities 

  1. Key resources
  • What kind of resources do we need to execute our value proposition?
  • What resources do our distribution channels, corporate responsibility activities, core services require?

Types: physical, intellectual, human, financial resources

  1. Channels
  • How do the customers want to be reached?
  • How are we reaching the customers now?
  • Are our channels integrated?
  • Which channels work most effectively?
  • Which channels are the most cost efficient?
  • How are these channels integrated with customer’s routines?

Channel phases:

  1. awareness: how to raise ~ about product
  2. evaluation: how to help C evaluate value proposition
  3. purchase: how
  4. delivery: how
  5. after-sales: post-purchase support

8. Revenue streams

  • What kind of value is the customer really willing to pay for?
  • What for are they currently paying?
  • How do they prefer to pay?
  • How much does each activity contribute to overall revenues?


Asset sale, usage fee, subscription fee, lending/renting/leasing, licensing, brokerage fees, advertising

Pricing – fixed

List price, product feature dependent, customer segment dependent, volume dependent

Pricing – dynamic

Negotiation, yield management, real-time market

  1. Cost structure
  • What are the most important costs specific to our business model?
  • What are the most expensive key resources & activities?
  • Is our business cost-driven or value-driven?

Characteristics: fixed, variable costs, economies of scale & scope

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