There is no one fits it all answer to this question, it depends on the industry you work in, as well as the product or service you are launching and it also depends on the type of start-up you are referring to.
It’s important to reflect about our understanding of start-up. When you think of start-up, what do you think of? Do you think of the one-(wo)man-show company that offers a certain service in her region or do you think of the highly VC funded high-tech start-up that is valued at billions of dollars? Arguably both are start-ups according to various definitions. According to Gruenderszene.de, a start-up is defined by its degree of innovation and potential market growth[i].
Considering these two possible scenarios, of course also means that we have to consider two opposing types of marketing budgets. But no matter how large or small a company you are, your marketing strategy plans for the very first contacts of your product with the market and its customers. As we all know, there is no second chance for a first impression of your product or service! Therefore, it is undeniably relevant to start with a thought through corporate identity that fits your product and with materials that position your product or service correctly. Both things can be basic, but should be consistent with the overall strategy.
Either you hire a seasoned marketing expert or team that knows the relevant steps to execute your go to market strategy, or you contract an agency. As a third alternative, you can assign a marketing coach to help you along the way. With this option, you can build the product- and marketing knowledge directly in your team and always have a sparring partner with regards to strategic and execution steps. You keep your independence from third parties and depending on the resources you have in-house, you can get copy and designs done in-house or by an external partner. With this option you can keep your team lean and manage the daily business and punctually get input from a neutral 3rd party.
Now you may ask yourself, why not just hire an agency that consults us? The answer is straight forward: most agencies offer consulting in order to acquire projects and hence there could be a conflict of interest, when it comes to, for example, to reducing your marketing activities or your marketing budget. From an independent marketing consultant, you may get recommendations, elaborate new solutions in a workshop that are beyond the consultants’ main field of expertise and you can meet him on a monthly or quarterly basis, or whenever you feel you need a marketing sparring partner.
Would you like to learn more about working with an independent marketing consultant?