Marketing mistakes of start-ups

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Apr 2017 12:47:22

By anita rao,

‘Marketing is all about storytelling, can you tell a convincing story?’
The above compelling line hits the proverbial nail on the heads of all business houses who are struggling to take off, but don’t know the reason why!

As an Entrepreneur, you can have the best product or service, but if you don’t have a solid story to tell your customer, your business is likely to fail. In other words, Marketing is the fulcrum on which the edifice of any business rests. As a founder of your company, knowing when and how to invest in the marketing your business, may just be the key ingredient to success. Business especially start ups face a number of unique challenges. When it comes to marketing, with restricted budget, limited resources and a desperate need to get their name visible to the public, puts the Entrepreneur in a tight spot. Statistics reports that an alarming 9 out of 10 start ups fail, the key reason for their failure can be attributed more to the mistakes they make in the domain of marketing, than to any other areas of business. Many great ideas have developed, but just could not sustain because of marketing inefficiencies. Based on my own experience as an Entrepreneur and other research studies, following are the oft seen Marketing glitches mostly committed by start ups:

Deficiency in the Marketing Plan:
Long before your product/service actually reaches your target customers, you have to relentlessly develop a fool proof marketing plan complete with a contingency plan to deal with any eventuality. In other words your plan B must be at a grabbing distance, if your plan A gives the slightest hint of not succeeding. Start ups commonly are seen to be making the mistake of not having their Marketing homework sufficiently done, by not giving enough leverage to factors like SWOT analysis, marketing objectives, strategies, tactics, budget and controls.

Lack of clear cut Marketing Strategy:
A marketing strategic plan helps you to connect your product or service with your target customers. If you do not have a well defined marketing strategy, you will put your business success at risk by not only missing your target audience, but also by frivolous spending. On the other hand a clear marketing strategy identifies the customer’s pain point. It is a clear and measurable objective and focuses its message directly at addressing/solving that point.

Your company is not sufficiently customer driven:
If your company is not very clear about your customer’s actual needs, have even less understanding about market segmentation or its prioritisation, is stingy in spending for marketing training programmes, chances are that your competitors will gallop away with the chunk of the market share you were eying and you will be left high and dry. In such cases you have no option but to sharpen your arsenal and aggressively look for ways to reach your customers.

Your company is not technology driven:
Many start ups show reluctance to invest in latest technology especially in the early stages when they are not too sure of their success. This could actually prove to be a deterrent because quick and efficient decision making may get hampered due to technological limitations. Chuck out your outdated sales automation system, apply market automation to routine decisions and develop formal marketing decision models and marketing dashboards.

Your company has weak brand building and communication skills:
Communicate, communicate and communicate - whether as a Brand building exercise or customer retention plan or to tap new customer! Continuous interaction in any form will leave a deep impression in the conscious as well as subconscious minds of the customers. You must seriously set aside a healthy budget for Brand building and Communication strategies, otherwise even if you have the best product and service, your target customers will be unaware of its existence. You can come up with innovative ways of customer interactions which will not only fetch you loyal customer base, and before you could realize it yourself, you would have built a solid brand.

So if you want your start up to be successful, develop clear cut marketing strategies, plan out the activities to position your product or service and make optimum use of your limited resources. Start ups need to be smart with their Marketing expenditure, and the best way to be smart, is to have a strategy. Marketing is not about working harder, it is about working smarter.

But if you have faltered in your attempt to work smarter, don’t lose heart. Mistakes are a natural part of a start ups life cycle. Just get up, dust your pants, promise yourself to learn from experience and move on to a better strategy.

(The author is an Entrepreneur and the convenor of the Entrepreneur Forum of Vidarbha Industries Association and can be reached at [email protected])