Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Marketing Strategies for Start-ups Successful start-up marketing requires one to have a great product and great marketing

By Prateek N. Kumar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Any business success often depends on marketing. But in most cases, start-up founders have little to no experience in drawing a marketing plan or managing a marketing budget. If you are working on the next great thing, there should be an equally amazing product marketing plan in the works to go along with it.

Founding a start-up is a lot like jumping off an aeroplane and building a parachute on the way down. It takes equal parts focus, enthusiasm and whole lot of faith that you'll survive to tell the tale. Boostrapping builds character, but while starting a business is exhilarating. Unfortunately, the "start it and customers will buy" theory doesn't hold much weight and those overnight success stories you hear about are often the result of behind the scenes heavy lifting for years .

For starters, you don't have any brand recognition to get you inside the customer's door, your budget is usually limited and a lot of times you're dealing with your potential customers in a completely digital atmosphere. Startup marketing poses unique challenge often times because of the limited resources, whether it's time, money or talent.

Marketing strategy of any company always depends on several factors including product, market and business model. Successful start-up marketing requires you to have both a "great product" and a "great marketing." But eventually, it always comes down to money. The fact that budget dictates the strategy for Startups is all too clear.

Cut to the chase, the guidelines for marketing any start–up can use to rapidly scale up can be summed up in the following paragraphs.

Start with "Why"?

"What is your "Why" of doing business? If it is not clear, give it a thought . It humanizes the brand and develops a narrative that differentiates your company from others and sparks conversation. Does your startup support a cause with every sale? Say so. Did you come up with your business idea to overcome real life challenges? Mentioning it may inspire those around you.

Engage your TG

As an entrepreneur, your instinct may push you to sell to everyone you meet and there is nothing wrong with flaunting your brand every now and then, it's important to give your company relevance and participate in discussions that don't quite revolve around your business but around a challenge that your TG faces.

Build Trust

Start-ups with no reputation have to establish relationships that build trust, so be genuine when networking. Know what your TG cares about and pull these emotional strings. This is how you develop a following with loyalty. You won't develop a community around a better app, but you will develop it around a belief that the app fulfills.

Outsmart Not Outspend your Competitor

Your goal is to outsmart and not outspend your mature competitors. For instance, you can create a compelling story around your product or marketing campaign and hustle to create an impact .

Create Domain Expertise

This strategy is applied to achieve low-cost organic leads. It's not a quick solution, this method takes time to mature and grow. However, it'll yield high quality leads. Want to know how to start? Present yourself as a thought leader by writing about your industry in your blog. You can also use guest blogging in established publications as well as infographics, white papers, case studies, and the likes. All these efforts will keep you in the loop of your industry. Speaking at an incubator, expo or niche event can put you in the role of the domain expert and allow you to share your groundbreaking ideas with an immediate audience. The small business convention you attend every year is probably in need of a few more keynoters; why don't you try speaking instead of observing?

Help TG discover your Content

However cliched it may sound If your start-up is fit for the twenty-first century, it may have an online presence. In fact, you may be satisfied with just a website, some social media pages, a blog, or even a pre-launch web page. Just because your content is online, though, doesn't mean it's easily discoverable by your target audience. Syndicate it period!

I've said it number of times and I'll repeat it again; start-ups aren't for the weak hearted. But if you've got a compelling reason behind what you're doing, the right team in place to make it happen and there is a clarity of your "Why" and the resilience to make it through the tough times with a great "product to market" fit, you can succeed in marketing your startup.

Prateek N. Kumar

MD &CEO, NeoNiche Integrated Solutions Pvt Ltd & Member of Ascent Foundation

Thought Leaders

Need More Confidence? These 10 Bestselling Books Will Help Improve Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem can be hard to come by and even harder to maintain. To give yourself a boost, try these authors' words of wisdom.

News and Trends

Navigating the Boom: How Investors Are 'AI-ing' Big in India

While the startup ecosystem tries to leave the funding winter behind, the AI startups and investors are having a pleasant time

News and Trends

Collective Artists Network Secures Investment from Nikhil Kamath

The investment is a secondary transaction, that is poised to open the road to a '5X' return, thanks to a strategic exit for InMobi's Glance, which had an investment in Collective dating back to 2021.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

News and Trends

IVY Growth Launches INR 250 Crore Sector-agnostic VC Fund 'Arigato Capital'

It will look to back agritech, cleantech, generative AI, fintech, consumer brands, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies

Science & Technology

How AI and Data Are Revolutionizing the Pharmaceutical Industry

Despite their main products being drugs, pharma companies are driven by the power of data and AI, which helps them prove their value in treating and eradicating diseases.