Top 25 Common Marketing Mistakes by Start-ups

Top 25 Common Marketing Mistakes done by Start-ups

Startup business owners need to put extra effort to find success compared to that of established business owners. What we observed over the years is that many of startup owners fail just because of small marketing mistakes. This article gives a detailed view of common marketing mistakes made by startups. These mistakes can be easily avoided if you understand these mistakes and take the necessary steps to eliminate them from your own venture.

1. Being Afraid of Marketing

During the initial phase, start-ups often have limited budgets and they like to spend money on product development and give the least priority for marketing. One of the biggest mistake by the start-up’s companies is the fear of doing good marketing campaigns. When some start-ups having the fear, some others will assume that business will grow without the support of any marketing activities. Usually, startup owners don’t consider marketing seriously and end up paying huge loss for that mistake.  

2. Thinking that Anyone can do Marketing

Many of the marketing activities are so simple that anyone can handle it. But managing a 360-degree marketing campaign may not be as simple as expected. In the current brand saturated world, making your brand noticed by a customer and making him a purchase is a challenging task for experienced people. If you really want to optimize your spend and increase the ROI of the marketing budget, then it needs to be handled by professionals. If you are working with a fresher in marketing activities, I really recommend you to re-plan your strategy and hire a dedicated experienced team to assist you even in small marketing activities.

3. Not understanding Your Ideal Customer

Its seems very surprising that an entrepreneur doesn’t have a clear understanding of his ideal customers. But unfortunately, it’s very true for many of the business owners. Many of them build a wrong audience though marketing activities and finally, they find that the product is not appealing for them. The product, pricing and marketing strategies will not align with the personality of their ideal customers.

4. Expecting results overnight

Many of the companies start and stop their marketing activities because they couldn’t see any result in the campaigns. Getting overnight results completely depends on your marketing budget. If you have at least 1000 Crore marketing budget like Ola, Google Pay, Zomato, Uber etc, then you can expect overnight results. Otherwise, your marketing strategy requires a lot of time and efforts to showcase any significant result.

5. Spending too Much for Perfecting the Brand

Focusing much on perfecting your startup brand, in the beginning, will burn your limited money and other resources. Many startups spend lakhs of money just for creating a corporate identity even before launching their product. Spending too much of your energy in creating a brand image in the very beginning can be a costly mistake. Instead of that you should focus on your product or service and letting people know about your brand through promotion. You can always revisit the branding part once your product has gained some traction in the market.

6. Failing to develop a decent marketing plan

One of the success points of any business is the proper marketing plan which rightly aligned with the product positioning and business objectives. In fact, Startups spend their time and effort on a business plan for fund rising and many other activities ignoring the importance of the marketing plan. When you lack a plan, you turn to every marketing strategy available under the sun and expect something to produce a magical result. But unfortunately, startup marketing doesn’t work that way.

A marketing plan is a written statement that describes how a startup would target customers and achieve its marketing goals. A marketing plan comprises of the key marketing tactics you want to use. Your marketing plan tells you when a strategy is not working so that you can change course and try new strategies.

7. Failing to review your marketing strategy

The most important thing every entrepreneur need to understand about marketing is that the marketing world is constantly evolving and improving. If you are not constantly reviewing your plan based on the results in terms of output, you are losing your competitive edge in the business. Without analysis, you never know where to focus your energy and time to improve in any future marketing activities. You must analyse and interpret data in terms of website traffic, revenue, impressions, conversions, GRP etc and understand what works well for your business and focus more on those areas.

8. Ignoring competitors’ strategies

All the companies in the market trying to increase their presence and market share. Your startup needs to be more alert and aggressive to compete with the established brands in the market.  Closely watch all your competitors strategies to understand what tactics are working for them or not. If you can learn from someone else’s mistake, you can save a lot of money on your marketing budget.

9. Focusing too much on competitors

No two companies in the world are the same in their positioning and strategies. Same way, they cannot be similar in their marketing strategies also. Having a track of your competitor’s activities are essential but following them blindly will distract from your target. You must build your USP and establish a marketing strategy around your USP. Copying on your competition will create a wrong impression in the eyes of consumers.


10. Ignoring the consumer feedbacks

One of the most effective ways to grow any business is listening to your consumer’s feedbacks and improve on those aspects. Being a startup, it’s always acceptable that you will make mistakes in many ways. But whats is important is the patient to listen to your customers and working on those feedbacks. Allocate some effort to collect customer feedbacks and continuous work for improvements.

11. Choosing Wrong Marketing Channels

There are many channels for marketing like Television, Newspaper, notices, posters, digital advertisements etc. Every specific channel has its own advantages and disadvantages depending upon the business models and target audience. Which many choices, It’s hard to make the final decision on choosing a suitable channel for your marketing communications. The success of your activity depends on identifying the right channels for your business.

12. Expecting Instant Results

Marketing efforts need enough time to accumulate results. If you are expecting instant results after your first marketing campaign, there is a high probability that you might get disappointed. Failure is not because of your marketing activity, but people may be reluctant to spend their money on a startup.  Consistency is a key factor when it came to the effectiveness of any marketing activity. You continue your activities and consumer trust will grow after every campaign.

13. Not Having a Clear Unique Value Proposition

In order to gain customer attraction, your brand should be different from the competition. Your brand positioning and marketing will become easy if you could clearly communicate your value proposition. If you fail to communicate why they have to choose your brand over the competitor, you might fall into the position as just one another among many brands.

14. Not Doing Enough Research

No matter how much experience you have in the field of marketing or the business that you are entering, continuous researches still bring you more power. Improper research can be the most vital mistake in the life of any entrepreneur. When you do continuous researches and market analysis, you will become more close to right decisions and which will beneficial for your business.

15. Not Using Pareto principle in Marketing

The 80/20 approach is very true in many of the marketing activities. If you clearly analyse, 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of Product lines. 80% of your sales generated through 20% advertisement activities. As an entrepreneur, you may not have time to involve in all marketing activities. You have to identify the most effective 20% of activities and contribute some time to evaluate and improve those activities. It will help you to remain focused on all the important activities.

16. Seeing Marketing as Costs Instead of Investment

During the early stages of business, many people will invest in machinery, building, warehouse etc except marketing.  They think that marketing as an expense and all others as an asset. This is only true if you are spending in the wrong way without knowing what you are doing. In the early stages of your business, you have to invest more and work hard to build your brand name. If you see any big brands like Coca-Cola, Google, Nike etc. their biggest asset will be the brand name compared to their physical assets.

17. Focusing on your product features rather than customers’ needs

Before launching any product or service, every startup must understand what customers problem are they going to solve. But unfortunately, many startups will talk about their product features and functionalities without understanding how it is useful for the end customer. People don’t care about your product or services. They only bothered about their needs, wants and problems. If you can solve their problems, they will stay with you forever.

Start-ups mistakes

18. Neglecting clear calls-to-actions in advertisements

A good advertisement must have a clear call to action. Many startups build beautiful advertisements but forget to include a call to action. Advertisements with a clear call to action will normally provide a high conversion ratio in comparison with normal advertisements.

19. Forgetting About Pre-Launch Activities

Normally when startups are busy with building their and product and other related activities, then forgot about pre-launch activities. If you hold marketing activities until you perfect everything else, you might lose the valuable opportunity to gain traction in the early stage.  Well planned Pre-launch activities will help you to grow some hype before your actual launch and validate your business idea before launching in the market.

20. Thinking that your target audience is everybody 

Many startups believe that having a huge target audience will help them to grow easy and faster. But actually, it ends up in serving the majority of your customers very poorly. You need to define your perfect customer group and their pain points with the existing solutions. You cannot effectively appeal to all people in the market in a single stretch. If you can identify the most relevant people and focus your efforts on them, which will increase the ROI of your activities. 

21. Trying to Experiment more

We all believe that marketing is more about experiments. But many times it can become a trap for startups. They try to reinvent the wheel and burn their entire money and energy on failed experiments. Since you are already experimenting with your products and services, it’s better to avoid experiments on marketing. There are multiple marketing strategies with a proven track record for years. Try to spend 80% of your marketing budget on activities which are already proven and experiment with remaining budgets.

22. Doing Too Much Yourself

Doing everything all alone is one of the biggest mistakes by many of the entrepreneurs. Don’t try to run a new business by yourself. Many of the business activities require unique expertise and domain knowledge. Effective Delegation is one of the best ways to reduce your workload and fasten the growth of your business. Incentivize few of your friends to join as advisors, which help on timely feedback and reduce mistakes.

23. Building your product, and expecting people to come

Many startups build innovative products and wait for people to reach them. Sometimes you may not able to afford a marketing campaign like many big companies will do. But you have to start some minimal activities like optimising your website for SEO and preparing contents for Social media will help to connect with your customers.

24. Spending too Much

When you have fresh funding, you always tend to revamp the website and do a big marketing campaign. Never gamble on any of the marketing channels thinking that it will work on your favour. Working on assumptions is the most horrible thing that you can do in marketing.  Before spending on every marketing channel, you should have a clear idea in terms of reach, lead generation and end conversion rate. before that, you must go through multiple rounds of test campaigns and modifications.

25. Spending too Less

The normal marketing budget for established B2C firms will vary from 2 to 10 percentage of their revenue depending on the industry and brand positioning. For startups this can go upto 15 to 25 percent depending on the marketing goals. Preparing good content is only a part job in a marketing campaign, you also need to promote that content adequately.  For any successful marketing campaign, it need to be supported with sufficient budget.

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