Spending Money Poorly is The #1 Startup Marketing Mistake

Photo by  NeONBRAND  on  Unsplash

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

By: Carli Evilsizer | March 3, 2018

Most startup founders don’t come from a marketing background. Some founders have never even worked at another company before they built their own. As a company is still in early stages a founder might be managing the marketing budget, something they’ve likely never done before. And until a founder can afford to hire an experienced marketing professional, the most common mistake is spending their precious marketing dollars poorly. So what are the most common marketing budgeting mistakes that startups make?


1) Don’t Spend Without Strategy

There are never enough hours in the day when you work at a startup, so setting aside time to plan, instead of just doing the work, might seem like a waste of precious hours but this will just lead to wasted marketing dollars. Before you spend a single dollar on marketing, take the time to understand exactly who you are targeting, what channels will yield the best ROI and setting quantitative goals.

“They throw money at advertising without having a solid strategy in place. If you don't know why you are advertising, or what metrics you need to hit to be ROI positive, then you will have a frustrating time navigating the market as a startup.”

-Quinn Cox, Head of Biz Dev at TINT


2) Don’t Spend Too Much on Brand Awareness

As small startup without much brand awareness, it can be tempting to spend a lot of money to just get your company’s name out there but this is a waste of money. Instead, focus on utilizing marketing channels that are focused on gaining customers. Be sure to track what channels and types of ads are the most effective so you can keep spending money on the strategies with the best CAC. (Customer Acquisition Cost.)

GrowIt! Logo



“The number #1 mistake startups make in marketing, is in advertising. Startups waste far too much money on Brand Awareness. It's too crowded out there today, if you're paying for anything other than lead acquisition or conversions, it's wasted. Every day the value of reach and impressions decreases.”

-Mason Day, Co-Founder of GrowIt!


3) Don’t Forget to Build Relationships

Startups don’t have money to just keep throwing at marketing so it is important to find ways to market your company without spending money. Spending time networking and building relationships with the media or industry influencers will become a valuable asset that only costs your time!

PointClickSwitch logo



“Don't just throw money at marketing, be strategic. Forge relationships with media outlets and influencers. Take extremely good care of your early adopters! You have to be a trusted source before the market will gravitate to your product or service.”

-Phil E. Croskey, CEO & Co-Founder of PointClickSwitch.com


4) Don’t Spend Too Little

While many founders and startups might make the mistake of wasting too much money on marketing, some startups make the opposite mistake and don’t spend enough on marketing. When you are dealing with very small budgets, it can be hard to understand see marketing is a valuable investment but it would be mistake too not spend anything on marketing.

Jinal Shah If I Were Marketing logo

If I Were Marketing


“Either a startup doesn't spend at all on marketing or do zero marketing because they feel marketing is a cost, not an investment. The other extreme they swing to is spending outrageously on marketing, at the expense of product development and distribution development. Neither extreme is appropriate.”

-Jinal Shah, Founder of If I Were Marketing