Five Marketing Mistakes that Strain Startup Budgets



Marketing can be a challenge for any organization. It's an especially big challenge for startups. They're often cash-poor, trying to make it without a huge amount of funding. At the same time, they need to find a way to make a splash in their industry. This creates a marketing conundrum. How can they get attention without breaking through the walls of their budget? Here are five marketing mistakes to avoid in order to give your startup a better chance at success. 


Don't put your eggs in a single basket


Marketing is an inherently risky endeavor. Some marketing efforts will work out, while others will flop. Even for large companies, many marketing campaigns do not show an appropriate return. If you're a startup with a limited budget, you need to mitigate your risk. This means investing your marketing budget in multiple ventures rather than just a single one. 


Investing in marketing that you can't
track or measure


Startups need to know if their marketing is working. Some ad campaigns just don't provide this sort of certainty. For instance, if you choose to sponsor a low-level PGA Tour golfer with a shirt logo deal, will you know which customers come to you as a result of that exposure? Startups need to invest in marketing they can measure so they can know whether to continue or abandon the project after a few months. 


Locking in a marketing campaign for the long run


If there is one thing that's certain for startups, it's uncertainty. Your company may look very different one year from now. You may be selling new and different products, and you may even have a different branding approach. Startups have to be able and willing to shift with the changing tides. In order to do this, you'll need to have a marketing timeline that's condensed. Don't lock yourself into long-term obligations that are unchangeable. 


A mismatch between target audience and marketing medium 


You have to try to target your prime buyers where they live and through the mediums they use. If you're selling private jets, for instance, your clientele may be older and less apt to respect a social media pitch. If you're selling cheap products, then it might not make sense to do so through expensive event marketing that exposes you only to the very rich. Your target audience and marketing medium must be aligned to give you the best chance at success. 


Focusing on facts instead of feelings


Best selling author Donald Miller, a recently converted marketing consultant, cautions new businesses against simply focusing on the facts of their products when marketing. The goal is to build emotional engagement with customers, speaking to them on a subconscious level. This can be a difficult challenge for startup founders. They are often experts on their own product offerings, so they want to explain that new concept to customers. In reality, customers are moved by feelings rather than recitation of the facts. Keep this in mind as you craft your marketing approach. 


Young companies can often make mistakes in their marketing that costs them upside. There is also great opportunity for these companies to create something cool and new that customers will appreciate. Simple, measurable marketing is always the best bet when you're just starting out.

Share this entry