10 common mistakes founders should avoid

The success of a company stands and falls with the marketing of its own products or services. In the start-up phase, founders in particular have to deal with many other sub-areas of their business start-up and unfortunately neglect marketing or make typical mistakes.

We have compiled a list of the 10 most common marketing strategy mistakes that entrepreneurs in particular should avoid.

Mistake 1: There is no strategy

In day-to-day business, there is not enough time to develop a coherent marketing strategy. You run a few Google ads, post something on Facebook, text a few business contacts, and hand out flyers at a local summer party. On their own, these actions are useful advertising measures, but they do not follow any overarching strategic concept. When implementing the advertising measures, one follows one’s own gut feeling or recommendations from acquaintances rather than allowing all activities to follow a coherent and strategic plan.

recommendation: Irrespective of whether you are about to start your “self-employed” project or have already started it, take the time for this important component of your business model or commission a start-up consultancy to do it.

Mistake 2: There is no positioning

You communicate via various channels and start campaigns such as “Today there is a 10% discount” or “while stocks last”. Such measures can attract attention and, in the best case, even generate traffic on your own website. However, the marketing strategy must be part of the corporate strategy and the basic orientation of your own portfolio. The following questions should be asked and answered: What unique selling points do my products or services have, what distinguishes us from the competition? Which problems of our potential customers do we solve with our portfolio? Are we active in the premium segment or are we trying to get orders through price leadership and a low-price strategy? A clear market positioning must be developed to ensure that all marketing activities are aimed at this positioning and that individual measures do not pursue individual goals (more on this under Error 5).

recommendation: Work out the positioning of your company yourself or with a professional and align the marketing strategy accordingly.

Mistake 3: You don’t know your own customers

“We’re definitely targeting young people” or, in the worst case, “it doesn’t really matter who bought our products, the main thing is that we make sales” are statements that you’ve probably heard in one way or another from other founders or entrepreneurs. With such a vague assumption as to who theoretically purchased your own products, you will of course not get very far. If you don’t evaluate who the previous buyers are and have no interest in doing so, you simply continue with your previous marketing activities and use the budget very inefficiently.

recommendation: You should always analyze who the current customers are, so that “Inspector Coincidence” does not have the marketing budget.

Error 4: The target group is not defined

In order to get to know your target group better, it is advisable to work with so-called buyer personas. In such a process one defines e.g. B. Three typical customer persons that you want to reach. Possible dimensions or properties for target customers can be:

  • Demographic characteristics such as age, gender, place of residence, occupation and marital status
  • media behavior e.g. B. with regard to the Internet, TV, daily newspapers and specialist magazines
  • sources of information, e.g. B. Blogs, newsletters and radio
  • Device selection for digital media consumption, e.g. e.g. laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Interests & hobbies, e.g. E.g. cooking, dancing and travelling
  • Commitments in clubs or groups, e.g. B. Sport, environmental protection and politics
  • Expectation of the product, e.g. B. quickly available, cheap and sustainable
  • purchase decision, e.g. B. very slowly and deliberately or quickly and impulsively
  • More dimensions

recommendation: The target groups are to be defined precisely, preferably when the company is founded. The clearer you have the customer in mind, the easier it is to align the marketing strategy with him.

Mistake 5: No specific goals for marketing

Certain expenses for marketing expenses are often planned, but there is often a lack of a clear objective as to what you want to achieve with the resources used.

Possible measurable goals or KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are e.g. B.

  • A specific number of clicks on the website or a landing page for a campaign
  • Increase in newsletter subscribers by x percent
  • Sale of a certain product category in the online shop
  • Number of registrations for an event

Recommendation: Set clear and measurable goals for marketing

Mistake 6: No tracking method

“I know half my advertising is wasted money. I just don’t know which half.” Henry Ford, the founder of the automobile company of the same name, is said to have said around 100 years ago. At the time, this statement may have been correct, since there were simply no options to monitor and control the success of the marketing measures.

However, online marketing activities in particular can be evaluated and controlled very easily. With a defined system, it is regularly checked through which channels the visitors of a website came, how much, e.g. B. invested in a Google AdWords campaign, how high the conversion was and how many products could ultimately be sold through this activity.

Recommendation: Regularly measure the performance of the measures and learn from them.

Mistake 7: There is no annual operational plan

There is often no annual plan in which all operative marketing measures are defined, scheduled and budgeted. This is essential in order to take into account, for example, regional characteristics such as events or trade fairs, known discount campaigns from competitors or the media usage behavior of your own target group (see error 4). Has a buyer persona been used to work out that potential customers e.g. B. surfs the Internet on Sundays, the online campaigns should also be played out at this time.

Recommendation: Create a marketing plan with all planned measures.

Mistake 8: The website is not keyword-optimized

Almost every search for suppliers of products or services starts with a search engine. Therefore, your own website, especially the content shown there, must be optimized for search engines. Extensive keyword research should therefore be carried out before the content is created, as this time investment is definitely worth it. The results of this research are relevant keywords, which are used, for example, in the headlines and texts of your online sales channel. In this way, top positions in Google and Co. are possible, which lead interested users to your own page.

recommendation: Invest time and develop a keyword strategy yourself or hire an SEO professional to do it.

Mistake 9: The tonality doesn’t match the brand

There is no uniform visual language, the tonality of the texts does not match, sometimes the action is blatant (“get it now”), then seriousness is emphasized again (“you can rely on us”), customers are first-named, at other times it is theirs etc.: It is very important that all advertising and communication measures are coordinated in terms of their visual appearance and content. The formulation of a guideline on these topics is very helpful in order to be able to orient yourself. Recommendation: Develop a guide for the tonality of marketing.

Mistake 10: Always doing the same thing

If you have developed a marketing strategy and are convinced of it, you are of course happy to stick to it.

While it is correct not to constantly change the strategy, as this would only cause confusion among potential customers, it is nevertheless advisable to question the strategic orientation at regular intervals and, if necessary, to optimize it selectively. It is important to keep an eye on market developments, innovations, the behavior of customers and competitors, etc., in order to be able to react to them constantly.

Recommendation: Measure success and continuously optimize activities.

Are you a prospective founder of a new business or an entrepreneur and would you like to apply for a professional Marketing strategy advice? Feel free to contact us.