Why entrepreneurs need to value marketing from start-up phase

There’s no helping an entrepreneur or start-up founder who doesn’t value or ‘believe’ in marketing. People are not going to ‘magically’ hear about them and buy their product without any marketing. Should they be investing in more salespeople, or in marketing and PR? Azadeh Williams has the answer.

Marketing is critical for any venture from the outset. Why? To put it simply, you cannot grow without a customer market or ‘engaged audience’. The process of attracting, acquiring and retaining customers is at the core of marketing.

Entrepreneurs are often faced with the challenge of designing the entire ‘marketing system’. From product and price through to placement (distribution) and promotion (communication), they do it all – mainly because it is difficult and expensive to bring new products and services to market. This is particularly true when you’re a new player and nobody knows who you are. As a result, many start-up founders end up cutting corners.

When we speak with them, we often see they’ve put their energy and resources into hiring staff, gathering an army of salespeople, and getting investors, advisers and coaches on board, but organising little to no marketing! 

 

Sow the seeds early to reap the fruits of your marketing efforts

Marketing takes time – especially activities like PR and content marketing, which draw an audience slowly and organically. You make time for marketing by committing to it and making it a core part of your business acquisition strategy. 

If you’re smart about investing in the right activities in the early phases, you’re sowing the seeds of marketing that will ‘continue to bear fruit’ over time. 

This is where having some strategic consulting from a marketing agency that specialises in start-ups can be invaluable. The right advice in those early stages will help you identify the top-priority activities that you need from the outset to give you maximum return on investment (ROI).

 

Invest in your brand equity

A common mistake we see many founders make in start-up marketing is they invest heavily in a great minimum viable product (MVP), engineer it to perfection and raise the capital. But the brand looks terrible!

Think shonky logo design, a generic, dull mission statement and an underwhelming website that screams, ‘I got this done on Fiverr for a few bucks’. So, before marketing your start-up, ask yourself these key questions:

  • How ‘valuable’ does my brand look in the eyes of prospects and the public? 
  • Does my brand look premium, polished, trustworthy and attractive? 
  • Does my brand shape up against the competition?
  • Are my pitch decks and presentation slides on brand?

The more you invest in your brand equity from the outset, the more likely it is you will stand out from the crowd of your competitors. This can be critical when pitching, not only to prospective clients, but also for your next investment rounds.

 

Repurpose, recycle and scale your content

Marketing when done right from the outset can be the ‘inbound gift that keeps on giving’.

Think of a simple launch party for your start-up. And this doesn’t mean a drunken jolly at the pub with your mates. Set up an easy-to-get-to location and create a ‘theme’ for your event that attracts your prospects. Maybe even line up a panel of industry speakers. 

But don’t stop there. 

Use the event to create loads of valuable content for your marketing. Do some video vox pops and grab soundbites from attendees. Use this video content as engaging social media posts. Do a write-up of the panel and create SEO content for your site, or pitch the write-up to press. You can even invite journalists to your event, creating some media buzz. 

When implemented in an ‘integrated way’, a launch campaign like this can give you sustained organic reach and engagement, without spending any money on ads. It also makes it so much easier for your sales team to nurture those ‘warm and buzzing’ leads.

‘But all this sounds like a lot of work and very expensive,’ you may be saying. The truth is, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. By engaging a marketing and media agency that understands the nuances of start-up marketing, you can hit the ground running, immediately get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

Azadeh Williams
BY Azadeh Williams ON 9 November 2021
Azadeh Williams is the Founder and Managing Partner of Global B2B Media and Marketing Agency, AZK Media.

A former publisher, editor and journalist (The Times UK, Sunday Times UK, Reuters, IDG) Azadeh has over 20 years' international experience in media, custom content, marketing and public relations.

An award-winning media and marketing leader, Azadeh has delivered integrated marketing and PR strategies for privately held and publicly listed B2B enterprises across the UK, US and the APAC region.

A qualified solicitor and former lecturer in media law and business journalism at Macleay College, Azadeh is also on the Judging Panel of the IT Journalism Awards, Mumbrella Publish Awards and B&T Women in Media Awards.