It’s surprising how many CEO/Founders of startups tell me that they want to hire a VP Marketing to “build awareness.”
Consider this: according to Inc Magazine , the average US consumer sees about 3,000 advertisements per day. Can a startup really spend enough money to break through that clutter and build awareness?
For at least the first year or two, online consumer/prosumer/smb targeted startups should focus 100% of their non-PR media budget on acquiring customers. Rather than buying a microsecond of awareness, you can actually use your limited funds to engage users in a real brand experience. Even for users that don’t convert to paying customers, you create a deeper impact by engaging people on your website. And you can gain intelligence about such things as where and why potential customers are abandoning your acquisition funnel.
Focusing on customer acquisition over “awareness” takes discipline. There is always some amazing advertising opportunity that could lead to explosive growth. Your odds are probably better buying a lottery ticket.
Building a strong customer acquisition engine is the best chance you have of creating long-term awareness. At a certain scale, awareness/brand building makes sense. But for the first year or two it’s a total waste of money.