Startup is a journey that sometimes you feel exciting, and sometimes you feel frustrating. There is time when you have a great experience, and there is also time when you feel lost. During this journey, there are many challenges, and one of the most crucial one is on marketing. When you are really new to the field, you really don’t know how to allocate your limited resources to building up your brand visibility, and sometimes you make the mistakes.
Knowing when to invest, and what to invest on marketing for your business maybe the key ingredient to your startup’s success, and know how to avoid the mistakes would also helping you to make a better decision. Here are the common marketing mistakes that every startup makes.
- Quickly spending money for big marketing
We have seen many startups go too quickly for big campaign, like advertise on big billboard, on TV, on LED TV, advertise on radio show, go to the big tradeshow and having their ads next to the stage, or in a hotspot area. We are not saying that it is not right, but if you go too quickly in the early stage without any proper plan, you might be incapable of meeting the resulting new demand if the campaign was successful, or your marketing campaign may not be efficient as you haven’t studied which platform is work best for your business.
Take the time to test the audience, find out who your buyers are and try to discover which platform work best for you by firstly spend little amount of money on hyper-targeted market.
- Spreading to the wrong channels
There are many available channels to engage with your customers right now, but not all of them are effective for you. We can’t say which one is the best for spreading your campaign, it is ultimately depends on who your audience is and where we can get their attention. For instance, if your targeted-customer is young adult, living in urban area, social media could be a great and cheapest tool for your marketing campaign. However, if your targeted audiences are old, it is a totally different story. So don’t be rush, and try to understand your audiences first.
We remember that we have meet a marketer of a real estate portal, and when asked who is their target audience and where they will advertise? The guy replied, they will target for Chinese people, and they will spend heavily on Facebook. We were shock to hear the answer as Facebook is inaccessible in China. Then they are spending their much effort without any result, no matter how hard they try since they are going for the wrong direction.
So it is very crucial to know clearly about your target audience, and you need to figure out which is the best channel to give you the best return and which you should avoid.
- Expanding marketing team too quickly
One of the biggest mistake for startup is expanding their team unnecessarily. We have seen many startups who want to do everything (marketing campaign) by themselves, and try to recruit more people while they only need the resources for a short period of time. Don’t do it! The only time you should invest in expanding your team is when you’ve exhausted all of your efforts and low cost options.
Low cost options here including agencies, freelancers, and interns. By having them, you’ll get more marketing for a lower spend, and more efficient compared to hiring full-time in house marketing personnel.
- Giving everyone a voice of decision
If you ask everyone’ opinion on marketing idea such as your staff, your friends or family members, surely most people would give you a voice. However, the more you invite people to have a say in marketing, the longer it will take to finalize it. You need to remember that you can’t please everyone.
It’s good to get people’ opinion, but in the end, you should trust the people you pay to create your marketing assets, or the one who is experienced in the field, because they know something that you don’t, and they see something that we don’t see.
- Try to replicate your competitors
Many startups are trying to copy what their competitors do without trying to differentiate themselves a bit. Sometimes even the competitor not doing the right thing for the campaign, still there are some to replicate the strategy. For instance, we can see many startups and companies in Cambodia are using the same social media strategy by posting business quotes, teamwork quotes, or sweet quotes on their business pages almost every day without the right branding strategy. But they forget that, no matter how many likes they get from audiences, still no body know what their companies or startups are doing.
Take cures, monitor, and learn from your competitors, and find ways to do it better than they do. Don’t get caught in the trap of replicating their efforts in hopes of getting more attention. Focus on your competitive advantage and try to be unique in your way.
- Never measure results
Dozens of startups that we have meet never track their marketing performance, or the return on investment from the campaign. This is the biggest mistake that they have spent a lot of money and couldn’t know whether the campaign they create generate the result they expected.
Every campaign should be measured, no matter it is offline or online marketing. For online you should use some tracking codes/pixels to track whether your campaign was effective. For offline or print ads, you can use a unique phone number, discount coupon, or something else you can measure. Never by shy to ask your customer how they heard from you so that you could know which channel that you spent work best for you.
All the mistakes above are preventable. Keep in mind all the above points before you execute any plan. Just make sure you retool, rethink and relaunch your marketing strategy as you move forward. As long as you prepare accordingly and learn from your mistakes, you can move on to better strategies and drive your business to success.