Startup marketing strategy: a person playing chess

Do you need a marketing strategy for a startup?

Sure, you need to understand how and where you will be getting your customers, what tools and channels you can use. Do empathising, brainstorming, researching your customers to understand what marketing channels you will need to use to find them and convert into paying clients.

But do you need a short, mid-, and long term strategy as a formal document? Most probably not yet. As in a chess game with a player you don’t know – you understand what you want and what you can try, but your actual tactics and strategy may change based on the actions of the other player.

Here is a useful opinion about that (pardon the guy’s “French”):

And that’s right. At first you only have assumptions. These may be well informed assumptions, based on your knowledge and experience. However, until they are tested and it is proven that they work, and can bring consistent results, they are just assumptions.

You may spend hours or days writing, and perfecting your ideal marketing strategy, with calendar plans and KPIs to find out a month later that your product is not ready yet to run discounts or promotions, your funnel is not working as expected, and your fantastic creatives drive a lot of “wow” but do not convert at all. And you have to rewrite your marketing strategy from scratch.

Instead, take the best ideas for marketing channels and messages that come up from your research, and start executing them. If they don’t work – try to understand if you need to adjust or improve this idea to work, or just ditch it and go for a next one.

Only after you clearly see that your idea is working, and is able to provide consistent and repeatable results, then you can consider it as one of the “bricks” of your startup marketing strategy, and put it on paper.

Useful links to build, plan and execute marketing strategy for your startup: