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De-Myth-tifying Marketing for startups

The startup landscape is soaked in myths about flying unicorns and overnight successes, but myths are just myths and holding on to them can hold your startup back from success.

If you’ve been following our Facebook/LinkedIn in the last couple of weeks (if not – now’s the time to join!) – we have been busy breaking some of these very common myths around marketing for startups (AKA #OneMythAtATime).

I think the biggest myth around marketing is that “in marketing there is no right and wrong”. It’s not science and therefore it’s being precieved as a trial and error kind of game…

Reality check: while there’s definitely room for testing and exploration, there IS right and wrong, there ARE best practices and there are definitely things you mustn’t do.

So, to help you avoid the pitfall of trialing until you run out of money – we’ve put together this list of 5 common myths. We hope you find it funny, useful and that by the end of it you’ll be completely de-myth-tified 🙂

Myth #1: Branding is B.S.


The Reality: Branding is much more than logos and colour schemes.
Your brand can be your real point of differentiation, above any technological supremacy. Its attributes help you to connect with your consumers, set their expectations, help them remember you and keep them coming back for more.
A good brand makes you look bigger than you actually and therefore it’s as important for startups as it is for any other business.

Still not convinced? Read all about why do startups need branding here.

The takeaway:

Branding is not just for the big guys, in fact – startups need it even more.

Start building it from day one and don’t focus just on logo and colour scheme – focus on the essence. Build a brand personality your target audience could connect with, make a meaningful point of differentiation that is not feature-based, determine your tone and style and stick with it – consistency is the key to building a strong brand.

And please be patient, the ROI on brand building takes time to see, but it’s measured in loyalty – and that’s priceless.  

Myth #2: My website sucks, but at least I’ve got one


The Reality: Your website is your most important employee (Read all about it here) and having a bad website is like having a grumpy salesperson.

The takeaway:

Can’t afford to build a state-of-the-art website? That’s fine. Aim for “good enough” for the time being. A good enough website is a website that:

  • Explains what it is that you’re doing
  • Demonstrates what’s in it for your target audience / why they need it
  • Provides rational attributes
  • Has a (good) CTA
  • Proves credibility (reviews, social proof, etc.)
  • Tackles barriers (FAQs, describe the    process, etc.)
  • Is in line with your overall brand guidelines & identity
  • Has a re-targeting pixel
  • Collects user-data

Myth#3: Marketing = Advertising


The Reality: Advertising is only ONE channel through which a marketing activity is being executed. It is also the priciest channel and it’s not necessarily the most yielding one or the right one for your business.

The takeaway: 

To make advertising effective it must be part of a strategic MARKETING plan that targets specific audiences with a compelling messaging through relevant channels to reach specific and predetermined goals, otherwise, it’s just a shot in the dark or at best scenario – an educated guess.

Don’t assume people heard about your business, understood your value proposition, and are now inclined to engage with you just because you paid for social promotion, ran a Google Ads campaign and published an ad in a relevant magazine.

And as a startup with lean resources – try and explore other marketing avenues before you turn into paid advertising.

Myth#4: It’s so good EVERYBODY will buy it


The Reality: People are people and no matter what you come up with, even if it’s the best solution to a really painful problem – people will always have their own barriers on why not to adopt it.

The takeaway: 

If you want to diffuse innovation into the market, you will have to help people change their habits, the ones they have from using another solution / existing situation. Always work with their barriers in mind and use your innovative thinking to come up with solutions to tackle them. Keep refining your product / offering / pricing / service / process / etc. until you get to that sweet spot that hits home with (the majority of) your target audience. And remember, it will never be everybody, some of them will never be convinced… because people are people but it’s your job to turn these people into customers.

Myth#5: Someone in my team can do my social

startup marketing myth quote eveyrone can do social

The Reality: Yes, technically speaking – anyone can create content and post it on social channels, however, making this content work for you is not something everyone can do.

Managing a business social page requires a set of skills, knowledge and experience. It has best practices and different methodologies and those who master it can generate value through it, much more than the few random likes.

The takeaway: 

Don’t let your admin do your social, just as you wouldn’t let them do some dev work in between booking meetings. Get a professional to help you, set goals and expectations in advance (that are in line with your current budgets) and make sure you get timely reports and “game plans” for ongoing optimisation.

Bonus Myth: I’ll contact the investors when I’ll need the money

startup marketing myth quote -  when to contact investors

The Reality: like everything else in business, raising funds is all about creating and nurturing relationships with real people. Early-stage VCs and angel investors base most of their investment decisions on the founding team (especially in those early days when all you have to show is a hockey stick forecast with no real metrics or traction to support it). They need to make sure the team can actually execute the idea, be resilient enough to survive this rollercoaster and flexible enough to adjust when reality bites (and it will).

The takeaway: 

Start early and build an ongoing relationship.

Approach investors for advice and mentorship, get on their radar and keep them updated. Nurture these relationships so when the time comes, they will feel a lot more confident to pull out their cheque book (or bitcoin wallet ?) and keep you on your path to success.

With time, they will (hopefully) trust you with a very precious asset – their money!

Bottom line

Myths are common beliefs, and as innovators and disruptors – you shouldn’t be playing according to common beliefs.

Startup Myth Quote innovation beliefes
Lee Linden
Lee Linden
Co-founder of Flint & Spark- entrepreneurial marketing and a brand & marketing strategist with over a decade of experience in marketing, advertisement, brand management and business development!

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