Poor marketing is one of the top reasons small businesses and Startups fail.

The “let’s get our product out first, we’ll worry about marketing next” tendency, this is also a reflection of a “we know what the customer wants” leap of faith fallacy. The problem of this thinking is that it’s pretty much a straight road to product-market misfit. While conviction and determination is a commendable, stubborn beliefs often have no foundation. You may know something about your customer, but not everything.

Most new brands throw all their effort behind building their product or service, are passionate about it and work endlessly to perfect the final offering. But they kind of expect the product to sell itself, marketing is an afterthought or an activity they plan to do later.

Latest studies show that about half of business owners lack a defined marketing plan. Not only that, but 58% spend only five hours or less on their marketing efforts each week.

Facebook, YouTube, investor content, email – where to start?! It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to be everywhere online at once.

You only have so much time and a finite budget. So, it’s important to concentrate your efforts on the most important aspects.

I recommend learning where your target audience hangs out online and sticking to two or three main channels.

Or as I like to say, other businesses vying for the same customer dollars you are.

Even if you've got a truly groundbreaking business idea that's never been thought of before, you've still got other businesses vying for the attention and money of your target market. And it's your job to convince them that they'd be better off spending their hard earned money with you. It can be a tough gig.

Startups usually operate on a shoestring budget, and even startups with massive funding have investors to report back to on every single penny spent. The problem is that startup founders perceive this to be a disadvantage when it comes to implementing a viable marketing strategy. Marketing costs money, right? Yes, but there's a way to overcome that.

Modern day marketing requires a lot of specialist functions across the various stages of marketing. There is a barrage of marketing options such as in social and web experience, visual design, contents creation, marketing data and analytics, and management of marketing automation platforms. The spectrum is pretty wide and many of these functions are marketing technology related and evolving by nature. For startup business owners the myriad of marketing options can be overwhelming and confusing.

Startups need guidance for understanding and determining which of these functions are essential to their marketing operations, and support for accessing these specialist resources.

Marketing challenges aren't limited to nailing down the best marketing strategy. Even the best marketing strategies can fail, if your team is distracted by other obligations or opportunities.

Startup business owners, moreso than traditional business owners, often have outside jobs or school obligations to contend with, in addition to running and marketing the new Startup. Jumping on every potential collaboration opportunity for the new Startup can also add to this distraction.

Failure to focus AND take action on your marketing will leave your Startup dead in the water.

Also, learn to resist the temptation to jump on every opportunity that comes your way. It's easy to get excited about new partnerships or opportunities for your Startup, but consider whether or not the opportunities really align with your target market and your branding guidelines before you jump in.

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