Marketer talking on internationalization for startups
A focus on internationalization and digitization for startups with a Marketer, Business and Finance expert
The experience of a Business and Finance expert and Marketer to give some advice to our startups on topics ranging from brand identity, business model and internationalization to digitization. Keep reading!
Let’s meet Fedele Maniglio, Marketer, Finance and Business expert for companies and startups
Hi Fedele, can you tell us a little about yourself, your professional background as finance and business expert and as well as Marketer and your beliefs?
I was born as a chartered accountant and in the several years of collaboration with various professional firms I have dealt with strategy, finance, and national and international taxation.
Over the years, (as a consultant for clients in various product sectors and turnover levels) I have developed the idea that companies must “become international”.
“Becoming International” means innovating the way of conceiving and managing the company which from “master” must become more managerial. It means shifting the focus from “only” sales to taking care of the relational aspect with customers, from advertising promotion of product to the communication of its “WHY”, from operating margins to the definition of a strategic line and a sustainable business model in the medium / long term, etc… All in a process that allows the company to compete more effectively in an increasingly global economic context, which requires rapid responses and immediate changes of direction and which, in some ways, obliges the adoption of the most suitable digital solutions. From here, the idea of founding M.ake Global.
What is M.ake Global? What are the mission, vision, and values? And what is its UVP?
M.ake Global is an agile structure that supports companies and startups in the process of change and technological and digital innovation.
M.ake Global was born starting from this assumption… “your company must be able to have what it takes to compete with greater strength in an increasingly global and interconnected market”.
We practically accompany companies in the process of innovation and digital evolution. We do it using our own personal approach. We literally immerse ourselves in the individual company reality by becoming partners for growth. Furthermore, our team is the right combination of experience and many good and competent young people who give further life and impetus to change.
Who are M.ake Global ‘s customers? Is it fair to say that you space from startups to SMEs? And why are you able to be so effective with your approach with such different realities?
Our customers are SMEs and startups, but not only. We approach those realities that really want to get involved and invest. We often notice a certain reluctance to change and to structure the business in a certain way. It is thought that a few posts on social media are enough to develop your business, but obviously this is not the case.
This also applies to startups. Except for those that are based on revolutionary and truly innovative ideas, the rest needs to follow certain development steps and obviously you need to have the desire and, above all, the patience.
We follow a very meticulous approach which takes time, but in the long run leads to concrete results. We always start from data analysis, which is fundamental for us and takes up most of the business structuring time. We then move on to the definition or revision of the business model and, finally, devote ourselves, together with the customer, to the structuring of the company (branding, brand position, web platform, business processes, communication, etc …).
Among the important areas to which a particular effort should be dedicated for startups, is that of marketing. You are a Marketer, so what is marketing for you and how do you suggest setting up the marketing activity for a startup not to make missteps.
I studied Marketing and Business Management at university, I grew up in a family where my dad (also a graduate in Economics) always dedicated himself to marketing, deepening it during the final dissertation. I have always heard certain concepts from an early age, and I am passionate about them. I am a marketer above all.
Unfortunately, I notice that there is still a lot of confusion. The term Marketing with Communication is often confused, wrongly thinking that marketing is spamming emails to potential leads, or writing some posts on social media, or even worse, advertising.
Marketing is something else though. It is first and foremost an analysis of the customer needs. To do this, every company should rely on the right professionals or internalize competent figures who truly deal with Marketing.
Even now, unfortunately, it happens to me to interface with noticeably young “marketing managers” whose function is to implement captivating graphics on the company website. You must be careful about the meaning of marketer.
I would say that getting to give the right meaning to a specific role would already be a huge step forward for many companies that intend to make a real qualitative leap.
We cannot neglect a topic that is popular today more than ever, that of digital transformation which concerns almost all realities. In a startup, digitization is a fundamental aspect and we wanted to ask you what are the main mistakes that startups make in terms of digitization and how to fix them later.
This is a theme that concerns startup founders, but also already established entrepreneurs. It is thought that to be international, finding a customer in a specific foreign country is enough.
I always tell my customers “Before opening up to foreign markets, let’s build the foundations well, let’s create a company capable of competing in a global market”.
The point is all here in my opinion. There are many companies that sell a lot and well abroad and maybe they do it with two customers who also represent 90% of turnover. But if one of the two customers goes bankrupt the company risks closing its doors.
We must create the conditions (and this is an appeal I make to all professionals and companies that I deal with for strategic marketing) for our companies to be solid and remain standing.
Going abroad, in my opinion, is a stage on the path of growth, not a starting point.
Surely in the core business of M.ake Global there is the whole part of the construction of the brand identity and then of the brand awareness, but for a startup what steps do you recommend addressing these issues?
First of all, you need to define your business model very well, having clear who our potential customers are and what our value proposition on the market is.
The question we always have to ask ourselves is “why should a customer buy that product from me rather than from a competitor?”
Secondly, it is necessary to analyze the market and competitors very carefully.
Brand identity is not simply a logo, but it’s who we are and where we want to go.
I can’t deny that often I find some startups who do not have the slightest knowledge of what they want to be, and this is a problem.
There is another topic dear to our startup founders, namely the search for the right business model and, therefore, we would like to ask you how to approach the analysis and then find the perfect one built ad hoc for your client?
First of all, let’s start by saying that there is not a perfect business model, but a business model that works at that particular juncture and that must be continually revised over time. This is the work we do all the time.
We take a co-design approach. All my team and startup founders sit around a table and begin to “build the company”, starting from “who we are”. In this step we also involve external people, as they can give their opinion in a more objective way.
Once we have defined a first version of the business model, we then test it by launching surveys, interviewing potential customers, etc…
It is all a long-term journey that in some cases lasts months, but it is a fundamental job for us.
I repeat it, except for the cases of startups that are based on revolutionary ideas, everything else needs to be structured well and this is done only by starting from the basis.