What are some startups that had great products but failed because they didn’t market them (well)?

Scroll down for my list

This article http://www.chubbybrain.com/blog/…
suggests that poor marketing is the 4th most frequent reason why startups crash.

I personally believe that bad assumptions on markets and lousy execution of products are more typical reasons for startups to fail. Also, it is often hard to argue that a product fails just or mainly because it was poorly marketed. After all, it is always an easy way to write about such a situation by blaming it on the marketing, because strategic marketing hardly has a lot of hard data to defend itself.

I did, however, compile a short list of companies and products that I think were in one way or another poorly marketed.

Disclaimer: Please take into account, that startup failure never is a one-reason thing. Therefore, the question wether these startups defaulted mostly because of poor marketing, will remain disputable. Feel free to discuss about it with me in the comments.

I'll start this list now, let it simmer for a while and modify it every now and then.


Company: Color
Problem: great product, but market pioneer; failed (or 'is still failing') because of lack of users, has revamped into a 'live photo and video streaming' application
Marketing fail: failed to educate and wow people; when penetrating a market niche whose value proposition is something that most potential users are not familiar with, there is a lot of education, viral seeding and just overall demonstration and spreading of the value proposition to be done

Company: CrunchPad
Problem: The buzz created around the product was way too early and way too much. When difficulties between Arrington and Fusion Garage pinnacled, the project self-destructed, leaving a black hole of disappointment because of the huge brand recognition it got before. Yes, they might at some point have had a great product. Only that they produced so much vapor that it was hard to please the masses…
Marketing fail: disability to keep expectations low enough, openly discussing timing before it is safe that the production will make it, simply too much communication before anything substantial was in sight

Company: Joost
Problem: great Software, great founders, great backing ($40 million) – but not enough viral functionality built into the product, therefore it got trumped by what came after it – Hulu and the like.
Marketing fail: marketing not built into the product (social media/viral marketing in this case)

Company: Pets.com
Problem: many of you must have heard this story: what started as an aspiring delivery service for pet supplies, largely pushed by an enormous and insightful marketing campaign (their sock puppet mascot was even interviewed by people magazine), later failed to deliver what the value propositions promised their customers.
Marketing fail: A lot of the ca. 80 Million Dollars went into marketing. Marketing worked great. The only problem was, again, that it was creating false expectations that the company later couldn't deliver on.

Other Industries
Company: Mitsubishi
This is just too funny, I had to add it:
Problem: Calls its SUV 'Pajero' differently in Spanish speaking countries ('Montero'), because pajero basically means 'wanker' in Spanish. Noticed that way too late.
Marketing fail: bad naming, bad branding/internationalization research

See the answer on Quora:

What are some startups that had great products but failed because they didn't market them (well)?


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