There are two kinds of markets—old and new. The computer industry is a mature and established market, whereas cloud computing is nascent and emerging. Your offering will either blaze a new path into the wilderness, or it will go to war with industry incumbents. Though the difference between the two might not appear important at first blush, it calls for fundamentally different marketing approaches. If you’re venturing into the unknown, education will be your top marketing priority. You have to teach prospects how your product will make their lives better. Think about social networks in the early days—most people just didn’t get it. Conversely, if you want to compete in an already established category, it’s crucial that you differentiate your offering in a way that speaks to an underserved segment.
From a startup perspective, the most important thing to realize is how expensive both can be. Educating customers takes time and it’s easy to burn through a marketing budget and come out on the other side empty-handed. Similarly, overcoming brand loyalty and stickiness in an existing market can be frustratingly difficult. Choose your target market carefully, and don’t underestimate how expensive it will be to convert customers.