Marketing in the startup world isn’t easy, but it can be even more difficult to build a real connection with your customers if you assume certain things “can wait” until you scale.

Tech has completely changed the way we consume products and services. What’s popular with 3 people one day, can be the topic of conversations amongst millions of people the next.

You need to be prepared – from the beginning.

“We’re too small, branding isn’t important”

Although it is true that a brand can change alongside a growing business, it’s imperative in the start-up industry to clearly identify your brand from the get-go. Simplicity is key here, as no one knows who you are or what you represent.

Developing brand guidelines alongside your business plan, and ensuring you include the mission and vision of your start up will help you position your business for the future. However, don’t get distracted by the big brands like Coca Cola and fill your website with games and brand-based activities. Find out exactly what your customers want and give that to them.

“That’s not marketing”

Those who were introduced to marketing before the digital age (when the buying process was linear) often believe that marketing & advertising are one and the same.

Although advertising, creative and sales are the visible output of marketing, marketing itself has transformed into multifaceted role. From creating new products, to choosing the right distribution channels, to developing pricing structures and conducting market research, marketing in it’s entirety is much more than promotion. To be successful in your marketing as a startup, you must create a fantastic product offering, alongside effective and enticing promotions.

“It must be perfect”

When you’re marketing a new business, there is often an assumption that you must spend a long period of time planning your strategy so that you can execute it perfectly. This is NOT the way to go.

There is no such thing as perfect, especially when you are launching a new product or service – the only way to succeed in your startup marketing strategy is to start with a test project, then analyse the results, learn and improve. This way you can discover which channels and messaging work for you and your business.

“We know our customers best”

One of the most detrimental decisions in marketing is to assume that you know what your customers want. When you’re fully involved with your offering, you can be blind sighted by what you already know.

Market research is critical to ensure you are understanding your customer base, what they want, how they look for your business, and what they’re interested in. A common mistake for entrepreneurs is to base your marketing decisions upon assumptions by those of you with an inside look at your business. Use customer surveys, reviews and consumer data to inform your decisions.

“We don’t need to be on social media”

In a similar fashion to burying your head in the sand, refusing to see social media, does not mean that you it refuses to see you – especially when it comes to SEO and your Google ranking. Links to your original content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter help search engines determine how credible your website is and the keywords they will rank it for.

Of course, it is not about replacing traditional marketing with social media marketing, it’s about using both mediums to compliment each other. It’s important to look at exactly how your target market spends their time online– if they’re on social, place more of your budget there, or vice versa.