Common Startup Marketing Mistakes

Karen Milde, CEO and Co-Founder, Reframe Marketing Inc.

It’s not uncommon for me to see Founders wearing multiple hats, particularly the sales and marketing hat. A typical situation they would tell me is that they just burned through  a 6 figure marketing budget and need help with fixing their marketing, but now have limited access to funds.

What surprises me is when they tell me they burned through their funds via a bunch of online marketing campaigns and justified the amount spent by saying they needed to stay ahead of the competition and to acquire more customers. I find that Founders sometimes get so caught up with the idea that the more they spend the more customers they will gain that they lose sight of what marketing is all about and that is when marketing mistakes happen.

Some common mistakes I have come across in my experience working with startups:

  • Treating Advertising as Marketing

Advertising is only one form of marketing and probably one of the most expensive ways to market a business.

  • Thinking Effective Marketing is Expensive

Effective marketing is not about when you spend more you get better results , but it is about finding the happy point where you spend just enough to drive maximum value.

  • No Approach

Not thinking about how the various marketing programs will tie into the strategy, goals and objectives of the company.

  • Trying Everything and Targeting Everyone

Trying too many different marketing approaches at once and not zeroing in on the ones that really capture your target market.

  • Weak Value Proposition

A weak company voice as to how buyers will benefit from the use of their products or services.

  • Inconsistent Marketing Efforts

Founders will run their marketing programs for a while and once things pick up stop doing it all together. Remember, there needs to be an ongoing effort to be effective.

  • Missing Building Relationships Training
A great product does not always equal a great business. Founders need training on how to get out there and build relationships with their customers and companies and share their passion about the product/service in order to gain initial traction.

Marketing is not about just spending money anywhere to get customers. It is about knowing where your customers would look for a product/service like yours and then making sure you can tell them your story really well such that they want to try or buy your product/service. Traditionally, marketing was about attracting customers to your product. But now with consumers being bombarded from so many different media sources, they appreciate products being brought to them.

NOTE: Read Karen’s Blog at

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