Underestimating the power of marketing is the biggest mistake of food start-ups

Missing focus on marketing is one of the main reasons why many start-ups fail. But it could be so simple, if only a few important basic rules would be considered. And above all: Strictly followed through!

Underestimating marketing is the biggest mistake of start-ups

First of all, companies must focus on the core qualities of their product and the benefits it offers to the public. In the US market, there is an expression for this: "Build for Impact". The solutions a product offers and the purpose it serves make up the majority of the brand value.

Many founders underestimate this not only in product development but also in the subsequent marketing efforts. Working out the right positioning and a clear USP for a product, especially if a couple of competitors exist, helps to sell very successfully.

However, many founders assume that the world will love their product just as much as they do themselves - which often is a fatal misconception. Nine out of ten start-ups fail statistically, but those who do succeed have usually early on recognized and exploited the benefits of marketing.

Marketing questions must be asked early in food start-ups

In large corporations as well as in start-ups, the marketing team is faced with the task of successfully quantifying the need for a product and communicating it to the target group. The so-called "brand building" must be deeply anchored in the company and product DNA, as this is the only way for small companies to build up a customer base from the start, that shows great interest in their products. Relying on half-hearted solutions is not a good idea. We live in a world where there is a range of products, apps, widgets or services in every category. Therefore, branding, brand personality and brand resonance is crucial for long term success. And because branding is almost synonymous with a product experience, the brand must be built deep within the product DNA.

A particularly positive example is Red Bull. Right from the start, the company managed to build up a clear, memorable and trendy brand DNA for a comparatively generic product that consumers remember. And that is what can make all the difference.

How to put your marketing efforts into focus from the very beginning

The following questions help to put marketing in the spotlight from the very beginning, in addition to flawless product development. They help to not only ask the right questions, but also to answer them in the same way at all touch points with consumers:

  • What distinguishes my product from others in this category, what makes it objectively better?

  • Who buys my product and why? What added value can I offer in this context?

  • When and why do consumers buy my product? How do I make them understand with my brand message that I have the right product for exactly this moment?

  • How do I make sure that people remember me?

This last question in particular is essential for food start-ups, as a new product or brand first needs some explanation in order to be remembered, recognized and above all, bought repetitively. Since food products are traditionally still more often purchased in stationary retail, it is not quite as easy as in other industries to generate sales directly via digital channels. A message that sticks and that consumers still remember at the POS is therefore particularly important.

If you have any questions on startup branding, positioning or need a communication framework for your (corporate) startup, simply reach out to and we are happy to support your efforts!

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