Attention Startups: Marketers Have No Idea What You Do

ANA Finds Just One-Third of Marketers Work With Startups

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More than one-third of marketers work with marketing-tech startups, according to a new survey by the Association of National Advertisers. Even more might, if they could figure out one thing -- exactly what it is the startups do.

Credit: Association of National Advertisers

The ANA said in a release that "the biggest barrier to engagement is the startup's inability to articulately describe its offering in a meaningful and relevant manner." So startups looking to make headway with the roughly two-thirds of marketers who don't do business with them may want to start here.

The survey of 171 business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketers, supplemented by follow-up conversations with 12 of them, was conducted in conjunction with the Consumer Technology Association. It found that of advertisers hiring startups, 53% do so for social media, 49% for content development and management, 45% for research and analytics, 43% for mobile advertising and 39% for marketing automation.

Overall, the ANA and CTA found marketers engage startups to leverage emerging technology, stay ahead of trends, drive innovation and gain competitive advantage at a reasonable cost. Of companies that work with startups, 88% do so from existing marketing budgets rather than special innovation funds, and 53% get their agencies involved in the projects too.

While marketers in the survey gave startups high marks for being nimble, passionate and driven to meet client needs, they also listed a range of problems. Those include security risks with sensitive data, inability to deliver on what they say they can do, legal and compliance issues, and startups going out of business before completing projects.