Marketing missteps that kill start-ups
This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week – a week designed to connect people with the tools and resources they need to engage in entrepreneurial activity as well as transform their ideas into products and services. On this premise, I am sharing some common marketing mistakes that start-ups make which end up hurting the success of their brand/business in the long run. Learning about these missteps will help you better navigate your business activity. There isn’t a rule book that guarantees success, but there are a few things once avoided can put you in good stead for the future. Here’s what to avoid:
1. Waiting until you are ready to launch to start marketing – If you wait until you have a finished product or until the storefront is ready or until you think everything is perfect before you start marketing, you have effectively missed the train. You should be building your audience way in advance before you are ready for people to use your product/service. That doesn’t mean sharing specific product details but more so, engaging in marketing activities that contribute towards building the brand and creating an image in people’s minds whether it be through PR or social media. You should have a marketing professional involved as early as possible, actively participating during every stage. I have been involved in a new ventures months before launch day, but I have also had people reach out to me when they have opened to the public and realized they didn’t dedicate time to their visual brand identity, social media strategy or specifically identifying their audience. From the onset it’s vital to have marketing as one of the core functions of your start-up no matter the size of the venture. Wrong steps can be very costly.
2. Expecting immediate results and stopping marketing efforts when it doesn’t happen – In the past I have encountered business owners as well as persons tasked with the responsibility of Marketing, say for example “I post stuff on social media, but it didn’t work”. My next question is usually, “tell me exactly what you did and let’s see what didn’t work”. Usually I may be told “I made two posts on Instagram or Facebook during the week, and nothing really happened. Some people asked the price but that was it”. Unfortunately, that thought process just doesn’t work. No matter what strategy or marketing tactic you use, you must be willing to put in the work. Successful marketing requires consistency. If for example you make a post or two on your social media platform and that’s all you do but expect products to fly off the shelves, you will become quite frustrated. Bear in mind that also includes non-tangible products such as insurance or financial products or health care solutions.
3. Targeting the wrong audience and unclear messaging – let’s say you offer several service options or products, have you broken down who the target audience is for each product/service? What’s the one thing you want them to know about that product/service? If you don’t understand your audience, there is a strong chance that they miss what you may have to say especially because you may not have worked out the right marketing channels to reach them so they can connect with your brand; likewise using only one communication channel can reduce the exposure to another audience that may find your offerings beneficial.
Candice Sealey is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Ignite! a Full-service Marketing & PR Consultancy that helps businesses/brands to stand out and communicate the right message to the right people through Strategy, Marketing, Media services and Design solutions. She is also a freelance content writer, advertising copywriter, voiceover talent, media. Follow us on FB & IG 784-432-2223. Email: [email protected]