When does marketing hurt your business?

Most startups these days covet exposure and media coverage, as this has many perks – from branding and referral traffic to SEO. But can this harm a startup, especially if the timing is not right?

Here are some thoughts from some of Ghana’s rising experts and entrepreneurs.

“Untimely exposure and marketing can be detrimental to the growth of a startup especially when it generates a high demand that cannot be met. It gives the company an initial reputation which would be difficult to change even when they’re able to meet the demand. On the other hand, it can serve as a market indicator survey and demonstrate whether there will be a clamour for the product or not, and may also point out areas where improvement is needed.” – Farida Bedwei, Co-Founder & CTO at Logiciel

“Yes, definitely. Untimely exposure and marketing can be harmful when an entrepreneur or startup hasn’t figured out what and why it wants to communicate. It is especially lethal when the entrepreneur hasn’t figured out their startup’s WHY. Why it does what it does, why it exists, why customers or clients should choose its products or services. Who or what you are associated with can make or break your marketing efforts. Take the time to ask yourself the tough questions and figure out what elements of your story you would like to put out there. Approach each marketing or media opportunity as a chance to tell an element of your company or brand’s story. Know yourself and your brand.” – Jemila Abdulai, Digital Marketing & Strategic Communications Consultant at Circumspecte.com

“In as much a startup may need marketing to draw attention to it’s product or service, the timing and marketing strategy are very critical. Getting so much attention and hype when the startup is not ready in terms of quality of service or product, and capacity to meet demand, can adversely hurt your enterprise.    Startups should not be in a rush to come under the spotlight, but rather should focus on building a solid foundation on the quiet.” – Tonyi Senayah, CEO at Horseman Shoes

“Marketing should always be timed right for any company and especially startups. Marketing makes a promise to people that you can deliver something to them. If a startup is not ready either for the traffic or with product features, they should be careful what kind of marketing they do. If a lot of potential clients get disappointed, they might never trust your brand or product again. It becomes more difficult getting them back when you are ready.

For startups, marketing activities should be geared towards validated learning, experimenting and acquiring customers who can use your product knowing that you probably are still in the beta/ test period of your product and can give you helpful feedback. If the exposure you are getting isn’t enabling you to reach these customers or allowing you to quickly pivot then you should probably rethink your marketing plans.” – Anne Nutsuklo & Enyonam Kakane, Co-Founders at mySMEPortal.com