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Often the focal point of company culture, Marketing establishes the outward looking view of the Company. As in a medley relay race, Marketing is but one of the participants heading towards the finish line, so how it integrates with other operational functions is most important.  Of course, you never really cross the finish line (until you exit), the finish line keeps moving like a Harry Potter stair case.  It is important that the leadership team learns how to pass around the baton, dropping it puts you out of the race for a while.

Marketing is a home for the visually creative, the organized, the doers, the spirited -- often outsourced as these are not common characteristics of the founding technologists in startups. Early stage companies tend to do better if they can in-source the bulk of marketing, especially when innovation is a focus, as it tends to be laborious to get 3rd parties up to speed on exactly what you "mean" by your strategy and your new product offerings. This does not mean you can't find excellent 3rd party marketing teams to work with, it only says that you can gain an extra edge if you can in-source marketing with quality people.

Product marketing tends to be the first function to institute.  Companies who understand how to raise awareness for their first product tend to achieve early milestones, gain momentum, achieve the measures investors look for to warrant longer term funding.  Corporate marketing comes into play as you prepare for long term positioning, especially important with a multi-product strategy. You could argue that Corporate marketing is a bit of a waste for companies that will essentially be one product companies (the Company and the product are often marketed as the same thing). Marketing can also be very effective internally -- raising awareness of company principals, packaging strategic communication, revving up team culture and more.  Depending on your go-to-market strategy, you might also need Channel marketing -- sometimes separate, sometimes part of the general marketing mix. 

These four aspects of marketing — product, corporate, internal and channel form a pillar of strength in a quest for excellence. There is much to explore for the entrepreneur as outlined in the related topics that follow. (Marketing Topics)