Why New Businesses Need Marketing from the Start

Startups often assume marketing is only necessary once they’re established with a high turnover, but it should be part of their business from the beginning

Scott Knox, Marketing Agencies Association

Few businesses would think twice about getting financial advice – but many still think they can muddle through doing the marketing themselves. But the two most important things for a startup business are finance and marketing. Startups should be speaking to marketing agencies from the beginning – even if it is just sitting down and having a chat in order to get some serious insight from an expert.

People often think the best form of communication for a startup is traditional print and media advertising, but in most cases social media, digital platforms, in-store promotions and trade incentives are better and far more cost-effective options.

There is also the problem with social media that people running a startup assume they know how to use it to market their business, just because they know how to use it to talk to family and friends. Think of it as going into a pub – you don’t start shouting your opinions at the front door – instead, you find the group you want to talk to, and then begin dialogue that’s relevant and interesting to them. Don’t expect people to listen to you unless what you’re saying is interesting and relevant to them.

This is the kind of knowledge that an agency can bring to a startup. They can shed a light on how different consumers behave, what they want, how they want to be talked to and what type of product they are interested in.

New businesses often start thinking about marketing by asking: “What do I want to do to the market?” whereas marketing agencies want to know what your consumers are about; they want and work backwards from there, making sure that what you’re talking about is relevant to them.

Agencies themselves were once startups; in fact, most of the MAA members were startup businesses in the past 10 years. They are entrepreneurial themselves.

Most agencies will work on 20 or 30 different brands, so they have experience of lots of different markets and techniques of communication.

My advice to a startup? Don’t waste your money on mis-targeted attempts at marketing. Apply the same rigour to getting advice from marketing agencies as you would do from financial advisers – and benefit from the honesty, objectivity and expertise that an agency can bring to your business.

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