Too many start-ups address their marketing needs too late in their business journeys.
Marketing should be there from the outset – as soon as you have an idea for a product or service, you should work marketing into your thinking.
Most small business commentators agree that the most regularly cited reasons for start-up failure are a poor business model and poor marketing. They are both related to marketing.
A poor business model relates to not aligning a viable offering with an existing market while poor marketing refers to not understanding a market well enough to convince buyers.
How are start-ups failing at marketing?
Many start-ups still focus on turning their idea into a product and getting it perfect for launch. Only after the product is ready do they dive into the marketing side of things.
I have found that his aversion to early stage marketing stems from two misconceptions.
The first is that a brilliant product or idea doesn’t need marketing – that with the right product all you need is that first customer and then everyone will flock to your website.
This is as likely as running into Bigfoot riding a unicorn.
The second is that marketing is complicated – the marketing industry has done itself no favours by churning out time consuming and unnecessarily complicated branding and marketing strategies that are brimming with complex jargon.
What is effective marketing all about?
Effective marketing starts with understanding what people need within a specific group or niche. Then it is a matter of connecting with these people and persuading them to buy the product or service you have to offer that answers this need.
If a business is well acquainted with its market, not only will it know what their market’s needs are but also where to deliver a message that really speaks to them. This knowledge should form the foundation of all marketing strategies and product developments.
If a business’ message grabs its market’s attention and delivers a solution to a real problem, the profits will definitely start rolling in steadily. It really is that simple.
However, if marketing is not part of the initial business thinking, then the very product or idea on which the business is being established might not actually solve a real world problem and such businesses are always bound to fail.
How is early stage marketing good for your start-up?
As a business it is important to understand your market as early as possible. The later you start thinking about marketing, the more expensive learning your market will be.
This is why so many start-ups nowadays go through an early validation process – it ensures that there is an actual alignment between the product a business is developing and the people who will most likely buy it.
Many start-ups are also succeeding by taking this problem-solving mindset a step further.
They do their research, identify an existing problem within a niche first and then design a solution for it – this means that waiting for that brilliant idea is no longer necessary.
It also means that your product or service delivers a solution to a market that you have already identified and is practically waiting for your business to launch.
Gerrit Walters is the CEO of Monsterful Marketing and Advertising, located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.