Why It Matters: Marketing Strategy

Why learn about marketing strategy?

Photograph of a person holding a tablet. On the tablet screen are the words Inbound Marketing Strategy, followed by five labelled icons. The first is a purple target labelled strategy. The second is a red mouse icon with the word visitors under it. The third is an orange icon of an envelope with the word leads under it. The fourth is a green icon of three people with the word customers under it. The fifth, and final, icon is a blue icon of a megaphone with the word promoters under it.

In this module you’ll learn about the important role that marketing strategy plays in supporting corporate strategy. When a company has a mission and a set of corporate-level objectives, the marketing strategy must support those goals, which is perhaps the most important lesson that the following companies—and many others like them—failed to learn:

10 Lessons I Learned From Burning Through $50,000 on a Hardware Project That Bombed

With Kolos, we did a lot of things right, but it was useless because we ignored the single most important aspect every startup should focus on first: the right product.

VoterTide Postmortem

We didn’t spend enough time talking with customers and were rolling out features that I thought were great, but we didn’t gather enough input from clients. We didn’t realize it until it was too late. It’s easy to get tricked into thinking your thing is cool. You have to pay attention to your customers and adapt to their needs.

My Startup’s Dead! 5 Things I Learned

What I didn’t understand was, you charge not for how much work it is for you. You charge how much the service is worth.

As these companies attest, a lot of things can go wrong in the startup world, and learning the hard way can mean going out of business. Take a look at the following list, which reveals the major reasons startups fail:

Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail[1]

Note: You may notice that the percentages in this equal far greater than 100%. This is because there are often multiple reasons a startup failed.

  1. No Market Need (42%)
  2. Ran Out of Cash (29%)
  3. Not the Right Team (23%)
  4. Get Outcompeted (19%)
  5. Pricing/Cost Issues (18%)
  6. Poor Product (17%)
  7. Need/Lack Business Model (17%)
  8. Poor Marketing (14%)
  9. Ignore Customers (14%)
  10. Product Mis-Timed (13%)
  11. Lose Focus (13%)
  12. Disharmony on Team/Investors (13%)
  13. Pivot gone bad (10%)
  14. Lack Passion (9%)
  15. Bad Location (9%)
  16. No Financing/Investor Interest (8%)
  17. Legal Challenges (8%)
  18. Don’t Use Network/Advisors (8%)
  19. Burn Out (8%)
  20. Failure to Pivot (7%)

Many businesses go under because their products are inferior or don’t match a need, because of poor pricing strategy, poor marketing, or because of other issues related to product, price, promotion, or distribution. In essence, they fail to have a good plan that supports the goals of the company.

It is exceptionally difficult to get marketing strategy right. It is easy to get busy doing the work of the company, rather than planning the work that will ensure the company’s survival and success. Successful companies have a good corporate strategy that is supported by an effective marketing strategy. In this module you’ll begin to understand why that’s so important.