Startups are notoriously difficult to get off the ground if recent data are anything to go by. Their high failure rate is the result of many factors, some structural, some circumstantial. Startups are especially prone to making mistakes in the way approach marketing. With a myriad of marketing techniques to choose from, it is quite common to end up picking the one that doesn’t fit your particular business model. And even if you end up making the right choice in terms of strategy, you can still botch the execution.
Some might say that this isn’t such a big deal. If your startup has a solid business idea, and the talent to turn it into reality, that’s all that matters, right? Wrong. Without an effective marketing strategy in place, a startup has no means of distinguishing itself from the competition in the eyes of the public. And needless to say, without clients and customers to support it, a startup is doomed to perish.
Fortunately, the majority of common marketing mistakes can be rectified, provided you can detect them on time. To make this process easier, we have created a list of top 6 marketing mistakes that startups are prone to making. Study them, and learn what to avoid doing when launching a startup of your own.
Working Without a Plan
Startups are often hard-pressed on time, which usually translates to them doing things on the fly. Unfortunately, this kind of approach very rarely works for marketing. There have been instances of spontaneous marketing producing exceptional results, but such cases are few and far between. Without an explicitly marketing strategy in place, your startup is effectively rolling dice, and hoping for several good rolls in a row. A more reliable way to handle marketing for a startup would be to do in a preplanned, systematic manner. There is no guarantee that your plan will work out, but at least you will know what not to do the next you try. Once your startup gets a handle on how to make a marketing plan, each of its future campaigns will become easier to implement.
The other problem startups commonly have is a lack of resources to go around. Developing a product or a service for the first time requires significant investments, and but this usually leaves other parts of the business operation short on funds. When it comes to marketing, this is not as big of an issue as it first appears. You can easily scale your marketing approach to fit any budget, especially in the age of digital marketing. The real problem with marketing when it comes to funding is that it is very easy to end up spending money on the wrong things. This is why it is essential to come up with a marketing plan beforehand – with a strategy in place, you will be less tempted to blow your budget on chasing the latest trends, instead on focus on what works for your startup.
Not Hiring the Right Personnel
Barring some exceptions, startups are by and large companies that employ a limited number of people. This means that individual employees often have to manage multiple parts of a business operation. Sometimes this can work – a programmer might be able to handle development and testing at the same. But more often, this kind of multi-tasking will result with a half-baked product. This how things usually go with marketing in a startup. Someone will end up doing on the side while focusing on something else, which will inevitably lead to sub-par results. Startups have to realize that half-measures simply don’t work when it comes to marketing, and that hiring a dedicated marketing specialist from one of the top digital marketing companies is now practically a necessity.
Proceeding Without a Target Audience
There are a lot of startups that have worthwhile business ideas. Some of them also have what it takes to turn these ideas into products and services you can buy. But few startups take the time to consider who these will be for. And if you didn’t take the time to figure out who your target audience is, you will be relying on luck once your products and services hit the market. It goes without saying that such an approach has a pretty good chance of backfiring. Conversely, a startup that has an ideal customer in mind throughout each stage of the business process, will know how to tailor its marketing approach in order to catch the attention of its target audience.
Neglecting Traditional Marketing
Startups are a relatively recent phenomenon, which means that their approach to business is largely shaped by current trends. This is evident in their preference for using only digital marketing as a part of their promotional strategy. If startups had more experience under their belt, however, they would realize that doing so severely limits their potential outreach. This is due to the fact that a lot of people still prefer to find business-related information through traditional media. Targeting these channels with marketing material can be quite lucrative, but more often than not, startups are hesitant to use them. Digital marketing is the new norm, but advertising on TV, in newspapers, on billboards, at trade-shows, etc. will give a startup the edge it needs over competitors that choose to remain online.
Failing to Monitor Marketing Performance
Many startups adopt a fire-and-forget approach when it comes to marketing. They believe that once you set things into motion, all you have to do is sit, relax, and watch as customers start pouring in. Unfortunately, this kind of approach doesn’t really work long-term. If the purpose of marketing is to nurture your target audience, you can’t afford to leave them unattended for long. What you have to do instead is to keep track of how your campaigns are performing over an extended time period, in order to make adjustments when needed. Otherwise, your risk loosing your audience as a result of some problem that you could have easily prevented, if you had been paying attention.