When startups are in the infancy of their business, there is a lot that needs to be done to get the business moving from idea to reality. Startups usually have a few people (maybe even one person) wearing many hats, and oftentimes marketing goes by the wayside, which is a big mistake. An even bigger mistake is not having a marketing plan for your new business. Here is a list of key reasons why startups need a marketing plan.

The basic concept behind a marketing plan

A marketing plan details how a company aims to reach specific marketing objectives. It links marketing activities with marketing and strategy objectives and is important in ensuring the right focus and direction for the company. As a startup, you have many things to take into consideration when it comes to marketing your new business. You have offline marketing to consider, as well as online, local and expanded marketing. There are several fundamental aspects of a marketing strategy; we’ll address a few of them in this article to illustrate the importance of having a plan.

audienceUnderstanding your target audience

The biggest reason why most new companies fail is that they have no idea who their market is, and who they should be targeting.  They run into the problem of there being little or no market for the product or service that they have created. One of the core functionalities of a marketing strategy is identifying target audience and creating a deep understanding of the problems their audience faces, and how their product or service will address and solve that problem.

Knowing where your potential customers exist

When you’re a startup, its sometimes difficult to know exactly where your target audience is and how to reach them, even if you’ve done your homework in understanding who your target audience is. This is especially true if your product or service is creating a brand-new field, or there are few competitors whom you could study to understand how and where they reach their prospects. A small business marketing strategy will help you understand where your target audience is so that you don’t waste precious time and resources on marketing efforts that won’t reach your audience. Is your product visual?  Then you should consider Instagram or Pinterest as part of your social marketing efforts but if it isn’t, your limited time and resources should likely be spent elsewhere, at least initially.

Leveraging limited marketing funds for the best results

A well-crafted marketing strategy will not only illustrate who to market to and what types of marketing tactics to leverage, it will also illustrate how to create baseline measurements and keep track of results for your marketing spend, otherwise known as return on investment (ROI). Most startups have little extra capital to waste, so it’s critical to know how those marketing dollars are being spent, and what kind of results are being obtained for those expenditures.

Raising capital

When startups take the step of finding investors to raise capital for their new business, having a marketing plan (in addition to a business plan) in place is critically important. According to Forbes magazine, startups need to have a clear and concise business and marketing plan that shows the exact nature of your business, what it’s trying to achieve, and how it is unique from the others in the simplest of terms. This plan should illustrate that you have a complete understanding of your target audience, ideal client, the landscape of your industry, your unique value proposition, and a clear understanding of your competitors. It should also show how you plan to garner traction in the shortest amount of time. A typical investor who is seeking to invest in a startup once to see that the new business has all its ducks in a row and is worthy investing in.

A well-crafted marketing plan can make or break a startup. If you’re a new company and need assistance creating a marketing strategy, reach out to a company offering strategic marketing services who can help you create a plan aimed at making your startup a success.

Patty Hughes
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