OK I’ll be quick about this one. Marketing for startups. Let me be clear and say this: entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes need to have one crucial habit, and that habit is marketing.

Marketing for startups? Why it should be an entrepreneur’s favorite habit

Why? Because many entrepreneurs out there often call themselves by that name but without actually being one fully. And the thing that’s missing, more often than not, is marketing.

In my experience in building, investing in and scaling up startups, I have come across this phenomenon on several occasions. That marketing is, in fact, the aspect which turns a professional, i.e. an engineer, developer or anything else, into an entrepreneur in reality.

So how can an “entrepreneur” become an entrepreneur? Easy. By making marketing their new favorite habit.

Marketing for startups and the entrepreneur

The old cliché says that knowledge is power. And there’s absolutely no doubt, in my humble opinion at least, that entrepreneurs should invest as much of their time, focus, energy and resources necessary for them to acquire knowledge. And by that I mean the theoretical knowledge and the practical experience required for truly gaining a solid command of the domain of marketing.

Danny Forrest, a popular blogger in the realm of startups and personal development for example, says that you should aim to reinvent yourself every six months. This is so you stay abreast of changes in this spectacular digital age we live in. OK, perhaps every six months is a bit much, but it’s a good marker. Some of you may feel each year is achievable and that’s fine.

But I digress. I mention this because marketing, like many other disciplines, continues to shape-shift and evolve. Especially marketing for startups. From traditional marketing methods, we have moved on to hybrid marketing and the era of growth hacking. Different approaches which need a different set of skills and different knowledge. And we haven’t mentioned the often quirky difference between B2B vs B2C marketing yet.

It’s all about creating a new habit

Now, I’m not saying everyone here is ignorant. In fact, most entrepreneurs out there acknowledge all of the above and do take pertinent actions. But, despite this, we still see way more failures than successes when it comes to success in marketing for startups. Whether this is product marketing (usually in the sense of new product development), growth marketing (in the sense of scaling up) or anything else in the realm of marketing.

And this makes me come to the conclusion that, paraphrasing one of Aristotle’s famous quotes, that marketing is not an act but a habit. This is especially true for marketing for startups. And it is here where most practitioners come up short. They are tempted to see marketing as an act (as a ‘project’, to be more precise), whereas it should be treated as a habit, or a never-ending activity if you like.

Trying to summarize, what I would say to define all of the above is this:

Marketing, then, is not a project, but a process; a process which in reality starts at the moment when the company can evaluate specific metrics in a regular fashion. And then, when it starts making informed decisions from regularly reviewing those metrics. The application of Lean Startup’s ‘build-measure-learn’ mantra must be front and center in the world of marketing.

Finally, get into the habit

I suppose what I’m trying to say about marketing for startups is don’t be afraid, entrepreneur. Do keep on learning. Do form a new habit, a habit as strong as the habit-forming product that you are trying to sell to the world. But most of all do embrace marketing in the sense outlined above and success will find you, sooner rather than later.


Dimitris Tsingos Dimitris Tsingos

The Starttech Ventures Founder. Tech entrepreneur. Passionate European federalist. Dimitris has been the President of YES for Europe - European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs [2011-15], the Founder of the Hellenic Start-up Association [2011], Board Member at EBAN - The European Business Angel Network [2014-17], 40-under-40 European Young Leader [2012-13], Marshall Memorial Fellow [2018] and a Fellow of IHEIE/PSL [2019].