10 life-hacks for Startups in the Media Market


Be comprehensible

You should be easily understood by the marked and the companies you're trying to work with. Try to use the terms they use, speak in their language.

Be an expert in using your service

If you bring an innovation to some renown and successful business that already makes money, it will be hard for it to implement your innovation even if it understands that it's in trend. So if you want to avoid possible misunderstandings, you should bring your potential customer not just your product, but the recipes to use it as well. Then your partners will make sense of it and find ways to put it to use.

Know your ultimate customer

There's always something that makes money for the company you come to. That something is what's important to the end consumer. If there-s no consumers, there's no business. One should understand all the factors related to his service: what will it influence, what data can he use and what data can you affect, what consumption characteristics you can measure or improve. Believe me, there are lots of services like E-Contenta in the world. Yet, we have this little thing that makes us different: we know all about how to use content. We know how people read books, watch videos or TV. All these things are very important. For instance, if a person raises the volume, it means that he liked the content.  So, you should study your ultimate consumer's behavior.

Know real KPI

If you work business to business, you should know what's important to the company you're planning to work with. You can come to them and speak of classic KPI, the ones that are described in books on economy and business: lowering the costs of client capture, increasing ARPU, etc. So, you stand there and talk of all these beautiful things, and they look at you and understand... nothing.

Why not use a different approach? You talk about different KPI, those that are really important for this particular business. In our case, if a person watches a series on our service, he'll leave after he finishes. But if he'll switch to another series, he'll stay. That's why it's so important to increase the number of links from one project to another. This may sound strange, but that's one of the most essential KPI for many media companies.

It's all the same with client capturing: there are lot's of ways to attract customers - cheap, costly, but the essential thing is to attract particular customers - those who will continuously prolong their subscription. It a company really understands its business, it looks at these things differently. One thing is to attract a customer who will use the service only once; attracting one who will bring recurrent payments is a different matter. One can assess these indexes. Thus, a company that comes to the media market has to understand that standard characteristics don't reflect the essence of the business process - it has to improve on the real ones that will attract potential customers.

Count other's money

They say that you shouldn't count other's money. Not in this case. For example, you come to the client, he listens to you, becomes interested, understands that your application is trendy, useful and even his neighbor already has it. Naturally, he has lots of questions: why your offer costs more and not less, how to compare your product with your competitor's? He asks himself whether there will be any good from your innovation at all, and if yes - when will it be? Then, there are to possibilities. Your client may have a great team of analysts who will count everything themselves and praise your product (though that happens only in fairytales). The other one is the following: there are people who know of the technology, who want to implement it and raise the necessary characteristics, and you come to them and offer to raise them, but in an unusual way. So if you'll do all the financial calculations for your potential client and show them in a comprehensible manner, you'll most certainly do good.

Ask your client of the indexes he believes in and adjust to them. Then, go off of his numbers, make your own calculations and explain the client how much he'll be able to earn in a set amount of time. Then, it'll be easier for him to decide whether he's interested in your offer or not.

Know the service's architecture

Technological life-hack. I've been working with technologies quite a lot, so I know structures of many services from the inside. And I always try to study those I don't. When knowing who is the supplier, who's the sub-contractor, the integrator - basically, knowing all the players who's built the end service, it'll be easy to understand who's your partner and who's your foe. Using the partner, you might be able to open a new channel and create 50 similar sales - just because you've integrated successfully.

What's more, talking about project deadlines with your potential partner, you can share the experience of the former integrations and foresee any troubles related to finalization and approval. To sum up, knowing all the service's nuances you'll be able to talk in real numbers, deadlines and costs, thus inducing less negative emotions -  as businesses are often irritated by startups that offer to implement something in a week and then it takes up to half a year due to their poor awareness of the processes architecture. So, you should know not only your end of the service, but the whole process chain of the company you'll be working with.

Know the players in your market niche

Any startup accelerator will tell you that you can't work with the whole market - you'll have to choose an appropriate niche. Still, whatever niche you choose, you'll be able to define its sub-segments. And it'll do you good, cause you'll know both your niche and all of its players. They can have different business goals - for instance, ones want to conquer the market while other may want to just earn some money. Some can want to earn a lot and fast to move to Trinidad or Tobago. Thus, even in a single market segment there can be several companies with different goals. If you understand that, then you already have the key to the desired company, and can make a proposal and start making the individual KPI's I've mentioned above.

Offer your own instruments for comparison and analysis

You should understand that the company that will implement your innovation can believe you. It will believe your indexes, it will compare the control instruments and decide whether it should spend its money on marketing, give it to you or do something else. Any company would like to measure the effect of this or another startup, as it has to control it. So try offering your own means to assess it, show that you can not only help the company attain the desired goals, but also let them control the process.

Consider the consumer's tastes and moods

Many devices are used collectively -  for instance, television is watched by the whole family. Creating some general profile is not an easy task, but it’s important to define the user's tastes. And tastes, as stable as they can be, are affected by mood. For instance, I like classical music but I can mix in some death metal. I can have a mood for this and for that. That's why it is important to foresee one's mood and adjust to it. So never forget about these two factors: mood and the collective nature of consumption. It's essential in all sides of media business. Keeping that in mind, you'll be able to effectively interact with the ultimate consumer.

Do free projects and paid-for pilots

The last life-hack - I'd say it was hard fought one - is about interacting with large companies when you're a startup. Free projects can bring no money or even be lossmaking. For instance, you have a great new technology that hasn't been tested by anybody. Make it free for somebody! Then, you'll be able to use that as a reference and show your potential clients the happy faces of its users. That's a good thing to start with.

Then you come to another company and demonstrate your product. They propose to launch a pilot to assess the results. Here, you have to make the pilot paid-for, if you already have a test project with a success story. If you continue doing free pilots, you'll have no progress, as companies don't feel any responsibility if they get something for free. There is a lot of work in any company, so helping you integrate just for the sake of it will be foolish. On the other hand, if you'll take some money and the accounts department will have to draw up an account, the attitude will surely change. So paid-for pilots are a really efficient instrument in interacting with a big company.