8 Marketing Mistakes to avoid amid COVID-19 : A StartUp’s Guide


The year 2019 was great for start-ups. But the same can’t be said about 2020. Due to COVID-19, a lot has changed. There is an urgent need to alter our marketing activities to align with the current situation.  

Whether you are setting up a new business or looking for funding, here are 8 marketing mistakes start-ups must avoid in the coronavirus-struck 2020. 

1. Splurging on marketing activities without a plan

According to a report, 50% of the companies carry out their marketing activities without a plan. The figure includes both small and large companies. 

While the big corporations can afford to be reckless with their budget, the start-ups can’t.

From hiring an in-house marketing team to buying media, you need to design a plan before investing in your marketing activities. 

So, it comes down to strategy!

Start with a SWOT analysis. Define your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

For today’s market condition, marketers are also looking at challenges and trends for an effective analysis.  

Next, understand your audience and their goals. They help you make a detailed buyer persona for your marketing strategy. 

Once you have your buyer persona, you can move ahead with determining your objectives. Remember that it’s only when you know your audience’s goals can you define your own. 

Then, analyze your competitors. What are they doing? Why are they doing it? What are their goals? How are they achieving them?  

These questions help you shape your own marketing strategy. 

Lastly, buy the right media!

Here’s a tip – If you can’t create a flawless strategy, copy others’.  

2. Choosing the wrong marketing channels

Bad channels attract bad audiences. And if that’s not all, wrong marketing channels can cost you money, too. Since you can’t afford to lose money now, be mindful of what you choose. 

Most B2B customers can be found on LinkedIn more than Facebook. And email marketing still remains to be the most reliable B2B marketing channel

Emails are not only direct but also allow you to be extremely creative. For instance, you can use emails to create suspense like this. 

A screenshot of a social media post

Description automatically generated

If you’ve ever received a mail from Marie Forleo, you’d know that all her emails try to push her products. And it gets annoying pretty quickly. 

But as you can see, the subject line is quite vague yet incredibly convincing. It tempts you to open the mail even though you know you will be sold to. Once you make that happen, you can use the copy to convert your leads.  

3. Obsessing with brand perfection 

Brand perfection doesn’t happen overnight. You have to experience the journey from A-B-C-D and so on, just like everyone else. 

Instead, focus on brand authenticity.

Customers don’t mind how imperfect you are as long as you are genuine. So, strive for being true to what you believe in, especially now. 

This helps you be consistent across all verticals, which is not only profitable but also achievable right from day one. 

FYI, maintaining brand consistency can actually increase your revenue by 23%. So, why not give that a shot?

4. Ignoring organic growth and focusing on growth hacking

Lately, the term ‘growth hacking’ has taken the world by storm. Rightly so, because growth hackers are generating results that traditional marketers can’t. 

Airbnb is proof:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated
Source: Airbnb

But constantly buying paid growth and relying on growth hackers without focusing on growing organically is among the worst marketing mistakes. 

Perhaps it won’t hurt your market position but might destabilize you internally.


Well, the biggest problem with growth hacking is that it only evolves your marketing activities. Your other departments, however, are left playing catch up. 

That’s what gives rise to job dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and high employee turnover rate. 

If you aren’t going to involve all your employees, then traditional marketing is the only way forward for you. 

5. Failing to create excellent customer communication

Only 50% of the start-ups reach their fifth year. And one of the reasons why start-ups fail is poor marketing and communication. 

If your audience can’t connect with you, they won’t buy from you. 

And given that more than 80% of businesses fail due to cash flow problems, you can’t afford to repulse your buyers with bad communication. 

Focus on organizing your leads. Learn the art of customer segmentation. 

Categorise Customers > Diversify Communication > Reach

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Then, get feedback to improve your targeting, so you can personalize and generate better ROI. 

6. The poorly motivated marketing team

As a start-up, it’s highly likely that you’re running on a cash crunch. But that doesn’t mean you should only hire people you can afford a.k.a. freshers. 

You ought to have enough money to pay for experienced seniors. So, if your writers are freshers, ensure your editor has enough leadership qualities to correctly navigate your content. 

Your senior employees should be willing to take the back seat and let the junior members explore. If you can give them room for individuality and growth, you will have successfully motivated your marketing team.  

7. Not creating a need for the products through content

Among the biggest marketing mistakes start-ups make is not utilizing content to advance their business. 

Ads are not the only place to promote your products. Some of the most successful marketing tools are blogs and social media posts. 

You should ensure that every blog has a CTA and every social media post offers value to your customers. 

Integrating your brand and work in every piece of content you create is an important activity and should never be overlooked. 

8. Failing to define the short-term and long-term goals

Every business/start-up has its own speed. Premature scaling is one of the worst marketing mistakes start-ups must avoid. Don’t spend too much time focusing on the competitors and ignoring your own growth goals. 

Eventbrite is a perfect example of gradual growth.

Source: Drift

As you can see, the company enjoyed a steady ride and is now reaping the benefits. Their product isn’t a trend, so they will always be around.  

However, a company like Wise Acre Frozen Treat, which acquired too many clients too fast, ended up going bankrupt in two years because they “never got the chance to fill all the orders.”

READ MORE: B2B Marketing Trends and Effects from COVID

The Takeaway

Marketing can be time-consuming. There’s no doubt that it’s tough. But it’s essential to give yourself enough time to ‘soak.’ 

Start from the ground up. Savor every moment. And when you need help, reach out to a B2B sales and marketing firm. A seasoned group of consultants can provide you with much-needed guidance in the right direction, so you can have steady growth.