Mistakes in marketing are always expensive, and in the case of marketing for startups, they can have the most dire consequences.
This article is for those who want to try their luck at a startup or for those who have failed to promote their startup and are now trying to make it right.
I’ll explain 5 typical startup mistakes and ways to avoid them.
Let's get started.
This is one of the most popular misconceptions among startups, and it is very expensive.
Many startup founders (in particular technological ones) are sincerely convinced that the most important thing is to create an innovative product that can make a splash in the world.
It’s true - a good product that solves problems for customers can really start well and quickly diverge in the market ... however, there is a catch.
One example that immediately comes to mind is a company called Revolut. You know the one that in 2014 produced the effect of an exploding bomb on the world financial market?
For a very long time, the company existed and developed without marketing. The principle of word of mouth, the chain reaction, and possibly the old connections of the founders worked well enough - there was progress, as well as revenue.
In 2019, the situation looks a little different. Today Revolut is actively signing affiliate programs, launching numerous promotions, and adding various feature bonuses in order to retain existing and attract new users.
What does it mean? Like it or not, but if you want growth, then do marketing. Otherwise you competitors will certainly do it.
Let's be honest, not all startups can follow the path of successful Russian “revolutionaries”.
Therefore, before developing a product, you should think about its marketing. This will not only help you plan your advertising campaign, decide on the markets and the right promotion channels, but also set the direction for all the activities of your company.
My colleagues often encounter the problem of being engaged in the promotion of a product that has already been created and launched on the market. Often, the unpleasant and certainly unplanned parts reveal themselves at this stage.
For example, when it becomes apparent that the user wants the software product not quite in the form in which it currently exists. Then, in the best case, it may be necessary to refine the functionality, and in the worst - to redo the lion's share of the product. Such corrections cost money, and a startup may simply not have the resources for a second attempt.
Do you want your marketing campaign to be successful? Please remember this rule: Marketing should be part of the product and you need to include it during the development process.
You need to promote your product at the idea stage of your startup. Participate in discussions on specialized forums and in thematic groups, and also enlist the support of potential customers (they can become your first customers). A properly created "buzz" around the product will create a foundation for the subsequent promotion of a startup, as well as make it possible to interest and attract investors.
Many startups in pursuit of brilliant ideas and attempts to bring them to life sometimes completely forget that one of the main tasks (and the key to success) for a startup is to solve the pains and problems of the target audience.
I'm talking about the fact that you can get a very cool product with breathtaking functionality, a great interface, easy navigation, and .... nobody ever uses it.
This fate, for example, befell PetPhone - a gadget designed to make it possible for animals to listen to music. The money for developing a vacuum headphone with a bow, with a tiny display and control buttons was wasted - the product had almost no demand. From neither pets, nor their owners.
We all are ambitious and sincerely believe in the genius of our ideas. It seems absolutely normal to me, but under the condition that common sense precedes our limitless imagination.
No marketing strategy will work without a clear understanding of the product’s goals and, of course, testing the idea for strength in every possible way.
I always support the point of view that calls Proof of Concept the “zero” stage in the software development and the foundation for the successful implementation of the idea.
Even the best marketing experts in the industry will tell you: Marketing does not solve all business problems.
Yes, even with a good marketing plan and strategy, a bad product cannot be successful.
Allow me to explain. Imagine someone is planning to create a new search engine - a competitor to Google, Yandex, and Yahoo. What do you think are his chances of success? Quite right, even with good investments, the chance of failure will be very high, and if the product itself does not deliver more value than its counterparts, then the chances of success become even worse.
To avoid failure and achieve all the goals of your marketing strategy, remember:
To put it simply, make good and quality products, benefit your customers, and don't expect marketing miracles. Marketing will only work in synergy with the rest of the company’s departments.
Often startups launch marketing on all channels at the same time and expect favorable results. This approach is a good idea to test the effectiveness of certain promotion channels, but it will not work as a long-term strategy.
Of course, an online presence is an integral part of marketing and the brand as a whole, but you know what they say: A jack of all trades is a master of none.
Performing many parallel tasks always reduces productivity and quality. You may simply not have enough time and/or human resources.
What does this lead to? The budget is spent inefficiently, the cost of attracting a client rises, and ROI gets lower.
It will be much more efficient to work with 1-2 channels where ROI is the highest and then gradually test and connect other channels.
Another question is how to determine the best promotion channels.
I believe there are several channels that will work for most startups, as follows:
You need to focus your budget on the most profitable channels and maximize them. Only after you have fully optimized the main channels should you start connecting additional ones. Track how users interact with your product prior to purchase and optimize your sales funnel.
Make the path and interaction with the client a pleasant journey at every stage, and the clients, in turn, will repay you with money and loyalty.
Creating a business based on an innovative solution is a great idea. The only thing that you really need to remember is that success largely depends on quality marketing.
All former startups, and now business owners, made their product successful because they gave them 110% of their efforts. This allowed them to explain the value of their ideas to both investors and consumers and, as a result, receive investments and sales.
Avoid common mistakes in marketing - test, optimize, and don't be afraid to experiment. You may have to test 100 hypotheses to find the optimal solution, but if you find the right one, you can claim a worthy place in the company of the best.
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