Startups and Pent-up Demand


Pent-up demand are my two favorite marketing words. I love brand planning on products and services for which there is great unmet demand. And when that demand is pent-up, I’m even more stoked.  Conversely, positioning products that consumers don’t know they need is a two stepper. Much more complicated. And much more expensive.  

I once worked at a social media startup that allowed website building without knowing code. We were funded to the gills. Quantitative research told us there was great demand for our tool, yet we flamed out in less than two years. One woman’s pend-up demand is another woman’s crash and burn. So let’s just say, all pent-up demand isn’t the same. 

There is a difference between pent-up demand in a mature category (lite beer) and that in an emerging category (web authoring). Savvy brand strategy has to account for that. Just as every mother thinks their baby is beautiful, every entrepreneur thinks their startup is beautiful.  Understanding demand, pent-up demand and the alternatives is a critical first step.