Marketing problems

I have worked with start-ups and SMEs for most of my career (about 14 years now), and up to this day, it is difficult for me to explain why there is a general lack of interest towards marketing in these contexts.

There is plenty of evidence out there that tells that startups often fail for reasons that good marketing would address. Be it focusing on building the product/service and not the customer, lack of market need and pricing issues, product market fit or plainly bad marketing.

Perhaps the most reasonable explanation for why this is happening is that people still equate marketing to advertising. If you fall into this trap, it’s easy to believe that marketing is something to take care of only once you get traction (i.e. you have cash).

In one of his most recent posts, Seth Godin suggests a list to understand what a marketing problem looks like.

. There are people who would benefit from your work who aren’t engaging with you.
. There’s a change you seek to make in the culture, but it’s not happening.
. You’re having difficulty persuading other people of your point of view.
. The service or product you make isn’t resonating with those you seek to serve.
. You’re fighting in a race to the bottom, and it’s wearing you out.

Seth Godin

I would add:

  • The story people tell about you is not the story you tell about yourself.

Be sure to give these issues a thought if you are starting something important, and be sure to have somebody close to you who can help you investigating a solution. Marketing has moved a long way past advertising, and continuing promoting that false equation will just drive your enterprise into one of the future articles about why startups fail.

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