The success or failure of any startup business is by a large extent determined by not only the quality of the products or services, but also the intensity and effectiveness of the marketing campaign. Some companies fail merely for failing to considerably choose the niche markets for the products they make or the services they provide. Marketing, as a paramount and significant aspect of product development requires not only high levels of professionalism, but creativity and strategy.
For someone who has never marketed anything before (in a professional setting), startup entrepreneurs must understand that challenges are likely to crop up. It is more common among fresh entrepreneurs, who despite having high quality products or services; they might still flop in their marketing efforts, resulting in the overall failure of the business idea. Explained below are some of the most common marketing challenges and mistakes that startups face and commit as they strive to market and broaden their market reach.
1. Product Issues:
This is the number one challenge that many startup entrepreneurs face whenever they try to market newer products to the market. For any product to effectively be marketed and trigger sales, it must be capable of meeting the prevailing market needs. The problem might be as simple as faulty execution or failure to attain the expected market fit. It must however be noted that it is very rare for the first product being introduced by a startup to excite consumers and satisfy the market needs. With a few revisions, you could get your product right and appeal to buyers.
2. Wrong Choice of Medium:
Pitching to the right customers is the number one factor that determines the success of a marketing campaign. To reach out to potential customers, you must carefully select the medium. Will you use television, the newspapers, radio, or even word-of-mouth? It makes no sense to buy space in the newspaper and yet the customers you are targeting are illiterate village farmers who only use newspapers to wrap wares from the market. Many entrepreneurs who commit this flaw don’t understand their target customers well, which is a business crime that must be avoided.
3. Understanding the Customer:
Customers are diverse, each with a unique need that your products and services must strive to satisfy. It is close to impossible to effectively market without understanding your targets; their lifestyles, economic statuses, preferences, their favorable mediums, among other crucial factors. The moment you pitch to the right people, you stand a high chance of realizing higher conversion rates.
4. Pitching Challenges:
Buyers only commit to purchasing a certain product for the first time based on how compelling the pitch is. Failure beckons the moment a marketer fails to give the buyers justifications why they need to purchase whatever they are selling. You must make the potential buyer feel a desire to own your product since it will add value to his or her life. In fact, you can realize more sales if you make them feel like they must have your products or hire your services. This calls for proper timing and ingenuity, especially when working on the print and electronic pitches.
5. Wrong Timing:
The relationship between demand, supply and price will always remain uniformly dynamic. This means that you might have a high quality product but the moment you get the marketing timing wrong, you risk failing. You cannot sell as many sweaters and jackets in summer as you would during winter. You must time your marketing campaign with demand and during the high demand seasons; ensure that you have sufficient supply lest you face shortages.
6. Financial Challenges:
This is a familiar challenge that many startups face when establishing their businesses and also marketing their products and services. You need money to hire marketers, train them about the products, distribution, media and almost everything that involves marketing. Most of the time the funds will be limited and some entrepreneurs end up relying on the little they make from existing products and services to finance their marketing campaign, which in most cases is insufficient. To avoid such inconveniences, include the cost of marketing in your overall budget and stick to it.
7. Putting Together a Competent Marketing Team:
One of the hardest things in management is putting together a competent and committed team. In marketing, you definitely will need a capable team to broaden your market reach. The process of recruiting marketers is tedious but must be done with caution. In most cases, your team may suffer from weak strategizing capabilities, or flop during execution or even build other weaker teams below them that translate to poor overall market performance.
There is definitely no sector today that is free from competition. Every industry has well established players that make penetration of new entrants really difficult and painful. Some of them employ monopolistic strategies that discourage startups from finding their way into the market. The only way to still realize sales and record profits in your startup business lies in uniqueness of your brand and its identity. What gap has been left by the current players that you believe your products and services can fill? Conduct researches and find out what the consumers think about the industry, products and services and what needs to be done to solve the prevailing weaknesses.
Marketing is a very important stage in a product’s lifecycle and must be undertaken with a lot of seriousness. Any startup must clearly define a marketing strategy in the overall business plan and allocate sufficient resources to that effect. Penetrating new markets can be challenging, but it mostly depends on the level of preparedness. On hiring a marketing team, find people who are passionate about your business, products and services. Most of these challenges can easily be solved with proper planning and strategizing.