The Biggest Marketing Mistakes Founders Make During Launch
By: Carli Evilsizer | March 3, 2018
There are so many things that go into launching a company, from first having the idea to building the website to getting your first batch of customers. With all of the excitement and hard work that goes into building a company, setting up the marketing can seem like the easy part. But unfortunately many founders make the same marketing mistakes when they first launch. Keep reading to see what marketing mistakes to avoid when launching a startup.
1. FORGETTING TO PROVE THEMSELVES FIRST
While you are beyond excited about your idea, when creating a marketing strategy, it is important to remember it will take some time for others to be just as excited. Not only will this help you stay motivated during the early stages of launch, but it is key to building a solid marketing strategy. Your customers won’t be anywhere near as excited about your service/product if you don’t show them how this will make their life better. And as David Burrows, Principal of M+M Agency reminds us, ”in a digital world, you have less than 15 seconds to present that!”.
“Most startups are so excited about their concept, they assume everyone else will share the same enthusiasm. While this is great for motivation of the team, it doesn't automatically translate to the marketplace in terms of marketing. Startups must always prove themselves in marketing by solving a problem, building a better mouse trap or providing enjoyment and entertainment - all at a value to the end user.”
-David Burrows, Principal at M+M Agency
2. MARKETING TO THEMSELVES, NOT THEIR CUSTOMERS
One of the most common mistakes founders make when marketing their new product is forgetting that customers might love their product for different reasons. Sometimes a founder is so close to their idea and so passionate about certain elements of their offering that they will try to market the product based on key features they are most proud of. But the majority of customers don’t care that you’ve built a proprietary algorithm or are using a completely new type of technology, they want to know how your product will make their life easier. Instead of marketing the things you love about your idea, be sure to show how your service or product will solve their pain points.
“Startups market to themselves rather than their target audiences. In other words, startups market all the bells and whistles of their new products and services (features) instead of marketing what the target audiences want to know -- that is, how do the new products and services solve the pain points of the target audiences (benefits).”
-Phyllis Zimbler Miller Content Marketing Strategist
3. GETTING STUCK IN THE HONEYMOON PHASE
Don’t get stuck in the honeymoon phase! You’ve spent countless hours building and perfecting your product but that doesn’t mean everyone is dying to have it yet. When thinking about how to launch your startup, keep focused and remember to really focus on who would want your product and WHY they will love it.
4. Spending Money on COLLATERAL THEY DON'T NEED YET
Once you have an idea and are ready to launch, it can be tempting to start pumping out marketing collateral. But is pre-launch really the best time to spend money on marketing material? Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, says definitely not. Many startups shift direction slightly and evolve their company after they have launched and acquired their first batches of customers. Focus on the things you really need to start getting those customers, like a website, and worry about spending money on marketing collateral once you’ve built up a customer base and are sure of your company’s direction.
“I recommend NOT spending money on things like fancy brochures, letterhead, business cards, etc. Until your business is launched, I would say to put your budget into things that help fill your pipeline with customers. Getting your URL and a website up and running is key. I created online stationery for proposals and invoices, ordered my cards online and made downloadable materials as leave behinds for people looking for more information to help me find clients more quickly. I know other business owners who spent thousands of dollars on these things and found it was a waste of money. Your story will evolve as you find your market, you need to look professional and have a website to be taken seriously but embossed paper with watermarks and heavy card stock is not going to accelerate your sales cycle. Find those reference customers quickly, use them to get testimonials and referrals. There is plenty of time later to dress things up!”
-Paige Arnof-Fenn. Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls
When you are in pre-launch, marketing might feel like it's still far away but it's smart to begin planning short-term and long-term marketing strategies during pre-launch. So what are the key things you must keep in mind while you are getting ready to launch your startup, passion project or side hustle?
- Only spend money on marketing you absolutely need to launch
- Always think about what your customers will want to hear in your marketing
- Be prepared to spend time proving yourself before you will see traction