Marketing Mistakes in Tech Startups

According to Silicon Republic, Singapore is the gateway to Asia’s bustling technology and financial scene, and home to a diverse and ambitious entrepreneurial community. Many tech startups such as Chope, HonestBee and Shopback have aced their marketing tactics with their apps, websites and social media presence. If you ask any Singaporean on the street that owns a smartphone, they will most likely have at least one of these apps on their phones. However, not all tech startups are able to do as well in the marketing aspect. 

In today’s article, we look at how some marketing mistakes can kill tech startups.

1. Building your media fame too early

As owners of startups, you have to strongly believe in your company’s mission, vision and product or services. With strong faith and passion towards their craft, founders usually want to share their vision and have press coverage before the company has been tested and proven.

Even though a feature in popular tech magazines like TechCrunch will impress potential investors and boost your company’s profile, if your product-market fit is not yet tested and proven to be feasible, you’re likely marketing your startup into a public embarrassment.

For example, two ex-Googlers tried to launch their company, Bodega – a vending machine filled with assorted daily necessities from soap to snacks and marketed their vending machine “ to make mom-and-pop corner stores obsolete”. The main problem with their concept was, they ignored the loyalty that their target audience had with local merchants – most did not want to stop supporting the mom-and-pop operations that they have patronized for many years even though Bodega provided convenience since most were in offices, apartments, colleges. The company earned stories in The Washington Post and CNN but it was mostly negative, as it exposed major flaws in their product and market fit. They have now rebranded themselves as Stockwell.

Through this, startup founders can learn that they should establish their target audience before they decide to reveal their tech innovation to the public and get features in top-tier media outlets. As founders, they have to have the mindsets of a salesman too – they have to make sure their product is able to fulfill people’s needs. If not, there is zero opportunity to sell and thus, the company may incur losses instead. Furthermore, they should conduct extensive research to understand their target audience and whether there is anything in your product or services that resonates with them. The next step would be to refine your product, service and brand before employing marketing strategies. (Source: Entrepreneur)

2. Overspending

For many business nowadays, having a website is mandatory. Especially tech startups. It may be tempting to invest in a platform that offers a new and trendy website or heavy advertising once you start your business, but it is also a fast way to burn through marketing budgets. What startup founders can do instead is to properly vet through each marketing channel before making any payment. According to the Jayson Demers, CEO of AudienceBloom – a link building and content marketing consultancy agency, “You don’t know what platforms work because you haven’t had the opportunity to test them. You’re essentially gambling on what you think might work in your favor.” (Source: Entrepreneur)

According to RocketSpace, the world’s savviest tech startup founders take the time to test assumptions by spending small amounts on hyper-targeted marketing. Thus, founders should focus on best marketing channels once they’ve done their research, propose a fixed budget for marketing and commit to consistent execution with proper monitoring tools.

“Usually, we know how much we’re going to spend, but it’s often difficult to decide which expenditures to include,” says Jill Avery, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. “In principle, managers should try to estimate the full cost of the marketing activity, including creative development, media spend, and customer-facing staff time.” (Source: RocketSpace)

3. Failing to manage your website

Your website is your first marketing tool that any founder should never neglect. Living in a tech-savvy society, there are potential customers that companies can find online which will navigate through your website. To ensure that they’re time at your website is a pleasant one, it will require you to constantly update new content such as graphics, videos and the latest contact information. It is not enough for tech startups to have an agency to launch and manage it for you for the first few months, then ignore it for the next few years. If founders were to use agencies, it is recommended to find one that provides ongoing website development.

Also, tech startups should find ways to attract and monitor traffic once the website is set up. Without a predictable way to do so, the company will not be able to effectively capture visitors as sales leads. Do a quick Google and you’ll be able to find multiple platforms that are able to use analytics to track your website’s activities. On some platforms such as wordpress, there are already analytics and statistics provided in your package. (Source: Articulate Marketing)


In conclusion, tech startups should focus on their product to fit the target audience, consistently manage their website and avoid overspending on marketing by investing on the proper channels that are able to generate and monitor results.


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