By Hayut Yogev
In one of the many studies of why startups fail, we found that 42% of over 100 startup founders interviewed, said the top reason for failure is the lack of a market need for their product.
Without being involved with this specific study, I can assure you they are wrong! The top reason their startup failed is because they weren’t able to get their potential customers to use their product or service.
That’s called marketing!
I spent the last nine years meeting with hundreds of startup companies and entrepreneurs that came (to our meetup group and other speaking events) to listen to my lectures on Startup Marketing. We worked with more than one hundred companies on their market research, their marketing conclusions, and their plans to reach the right target audience.
There are five main reasons why a company could fail in reaching their startup customers:
- You don’t know who your customers are
The fact you aimed for a specific need of specific businesses or consumers does not necessarily mean they are truly your customers. Furthermore, chances are that the heavy users you had in mind for your product or service are not the ones that will be capable, or willing to, take the risk of trying a new unfamiliar product.
- Your potential clients don’t know your product exists
- That makes sense; no one is looking for a new unknown product on Google. In most cases, your potential customers don’t know there is a solution to their pain or need.
- Your definition of the new product doesn’t mean anything to those who really need it.
- The truth is that 99% of the companies we worked with didn’t even had one agreed definition for their product. Even the founders in the company had different ways to explain what the product is. It’s difficult to describe something that did not exist until now. You invented it! That’s the idea of a startup…
- You don’t really know where to find your customers and how to spread the word of the new solution
- This is an incredibly common problem! All marketing people, who had no problem reaching their customers in the past, are struggling today. Especially with an unfamiliar product. In the past, it was easy; we used TV, newspapers, radio, outdoor, and direct marketing approaches to reach the customers. Often today, these tools are not relevant for new products and the new tools (Google, Social Media, Videos, and more) are constantly changing. Moreover, most people are changing their media habits regularly.
- You are changing your brand messages and sales approach every few weeks
- Since you don’t know who your customers are, what their need is, and how to define your product; most entrepreneurs tend to change their approach and messages often. Whenever you hear a new lecture that makes sense to you, read a new article, or simply aren’t getting the results you aimed for, the immediate response is to change your current marketing, sales messages, and activities. By doing so, you are breaking one of the most important rules of marketing, especially startup marketing – The rule of Consistency.
Three basic steps can help you avoid from taking the wrong directions that could lead to a failure
- Build your marketing, sales plans, and activities based on customers’ behavior research
Find the best definitions for your target customers, the exact product, and the market category you will lead (based on customers’ behavior researches results).
- Work with clear weekly and monthly plans and goals. Remember to maintain consistency.
I’ll be happy to get your comments and answer any question about Startup marketing, successes, and failures And how to do it right to reach your business goals.