The world has changed so has the market. Although it may seem difficult, your startup CAN beat COVID-19 if you are ready to adjust your vision to the new conditions. We talked to Simon Solotko, Chief Marketing Officer at IdeaPros, about strategy and tactics that will help us overcome the crisis.
How Can Marketing Theories Help Us Understand This Virus?
During the pandemic, everyone has become a COVID-19 expert. The truth is that we are far from being experts. As this is largely an uncharted territory that we’ve found ourselves in to help us understand where we are going, Simon built a COVID-19 diffusion model. It turns out there is a relationship between how marketing models and virus diffusion models work. Crossing the Chasm is a book about a school of thought called technology marketing that grew up around the rise of Apple and Silicon Valley, explaining how a product over time gets adopted by different kinds of users. The shape and the mathematics behind the curve of adoption of new technology or a product are what we call a diffusion model or theory.
Let’s take the personal computer. Like most technologies, in the beginning, the PC was complicated, hard to use, and expensive. The adoption curve goes from the early people who use it even though it is unaffordable and hard to use while other people watch. Then this second group starts copying the early users and spreads the word about it. Reducing this new product to something simple and accessible enough for everyone to use is called the chasm. Soon enough everybody is using PCs and the adoption curve stays at the same level for a long time.
Simon applied the same diffusion model to COVID-19 to understand how the virus spreads.
How Does The Virus Spread?
It turns out we’ve gone through three phases, each of which has different model parameters. In the first phase, we had a virus in the wild, we didn’t know what was going on and it was able to freely spread. As a lot of people got sick quickly, we woke up and attempted to change the physics of the spread in phase two. This led to fewer people getting sick and the virus spreading out over a longer period. We weren’t just flattening the curve, we were changing it to a better, happier curve. Today we are in phase three. We are changing the rules of the game every day. We can’t agree on how much we want to distance and what are we willing to put up with. The fact is that as soon as we start to loosen social distancing the curve will shoot back up. We are anticipating continued, slow and steady growth as we are still at a relatively low level of population adoption of the virus.
Do Traditional Business Practices and Rules Still Apply In The New Environment?
Yes, they do! Although we should have in mind how the virus changes our reality. Most of the proven lean startup techniques are still in place.
The future WILL be slightly different. But before you jump into a new business adventure think if your idea belongs to a weak or a strong sector. For example, opening a restaurant without a takeaway isn’t the greatest idea right now.
Anything that can take place at home, like education or training, digital, gaming, technology, and apps, eCommerce retailers, industrial real estate, augmented reality robotics, 5G, dark kitchens, refrigeration, cooling, and storing utilities, etc. belongs to strong sectors. Travel, leisure, and hospitality are weak sectors. But, there are a lot of human needs that these sectors are filling. So, the question is: how can we meet those same needs in the virtual space?
Trying To Kickstart Your Idea?
Getting your business going requires a lot of time and that is one thing we have now. You could work on building a team and the core set of stakeholders as well as digital online audiences. Research takes time too. Use this opportunity to learn everything you can about your competition.
Prototyping is also something you can do at home or find a local shop to help you with the process. Don’t forget the importance of getting to market with a minimum viable product. A viable product can be developed to test the market but at the same time to try to earn some initial return. As far as financing is concerned, you will have to get more creative than ever. We’ve done various shows about bootstrapping and raising money that you can find on our blog.
As business people, we should embrace this future to be successful. We have to be realists and pragmatists while maintaining a vision, but that vision needs to be aligned with where the future is going.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.