Connect with us
Apply Now


Why 90% of Startups Fail: A Guide to Adapting and Thriving

Imagine walking down a bustling city street in 2023, observing the various businesses that line the sidewalks. You pass by a quaint coffee shop, a trendy boutique, and a tech startup. But as you continue your stroll, a sense of unease settles in. You can’t help but notice the many empty storefronts and the “For Lease” signs hanging in windows. It becomes increasingly evident that something is amiss, causing a staggering number of businesses to fail.

In this era of innovation and limitless possibilities, it may seem paradoxical that 90% of businesses are on the brink of collapse. How can this be? It’s a question that begs an answer, a puzzle that demands to be solved. And the key to unraveling this mystery lies in the realm of marketing.

It’s easy to assume that every business engages in marketing – after all, who wouldn’t want to spread the word about their products or services? But herein lies the deception. Not everyone understands the true power of strategic marketing–the art of connecting with customers on a deeper level. And it is precisely this lack of strategic marketing that is sending businesses spiraling toward their demise.

Now imagine a small bakery nestled in a quiet corner of the city. Its delectable pastries and aromatic coffee have won over the hearts of locals, but there’s a problem – hardly anyone knows about it. The owner, let’s call her Sarah, is a passionate baker with a burning desire to share her creations with the world. But her dreams are fading as she struggles to attract customers. 

You see, Sarah believed that simply opening her bakery and offering delicious treats would be enough to draw in crowds. 

However, she failed to recognize that MARKETING plays a crucial role in the success of any business.

As Sarah watches her competitors thrive with their strategic marketing campaigns, she can’t help but wonder what she’s missing. She’s been promoting her bakery through word of mouth, relying on the occasional local newspaper ad, but it’s not enough. Her beautifully presented pastries are being overshadowed by the noise of the digital world. Sarah desperately needs a lifeline, a guiding hand to show her the path to success.

And that’s where marketing comes in. Marketing professionals understand the challenges faced by businesses like Sarah’s. They see firsthand the devastating consequences of poor marketing choices, or worse, no marketing at all. But they also witnessed the transformative power of strategic marketing done right. Every business has the potential to thrive and make its mark in this competitive world.

So let’s delve deeply into why 90% of startups are failing in 2023. The importance of strategic marketing in 2023, the significance of adapting to changing consumer behavior, and the need for effective branding and positioning. By sharing insights, experiences, and expertise. 

Importance of Strategic Marketing in 2023

Lack of Market Research

Imagine embarking on a road trip without a map and zero sense of direction. That’s precisely what happens when businesses neglect the crucial market research step. In their eagerness to launch a product or service, entrepreneurs often overlook the invaluable insights that market research can provide. 

There’s a reason successful companies start by creating a business plan, which includes a marketing plan. A marketing plan allows businesses to assess what’s going on with potential competitors, and at the same time understand what goes on in consumers’ minds. 

By understanding their target audience’s needs, desires and pain points, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. Market research helps identify gaps in the market, determine the competitive landscape, and make informed decisions that set businesses up for success.

Failure to Embrace Digital Transformation

In an era dominated by technology, businesses that fail to adapt to the digital landscape are setting themselves up for failure. The world has become increasingly interconnected, with consumers relying heavily on online platforms for information, communication, and purchasing decisions. Businesses that refuse (or don’t understand the importance) of establishing a solid online presence miss out on countless opportunities to reach their target audience effectively. Digital marketing, social media engagement, and e-commerce strategies are essential to any successful marketing plan.

Ineffective Branding and Positioning

In a sea of competitors, businesses that fail to differentiate themselves through effective branding and positioning struggle to capture the attention of their target audience. 

Your brand is more than just a logo or a catchy tagline; it’s an emotional connection you establish with your customers. Indeed many marketers would argue that behind a successful marketing plan is psychology–using psychology to appeal to potential customers. Successful businesses invest time and effort in understanding their unique value proposition and communicating it compellingly. Companies can build trust, loyalty and a strong customer base by telling their brand story authentically and consistently.

Insufficient Marketing Budgets

It’s a common misconception that marketing is an expense rather than an investment. In their quest to cut costs and maximize profits, businesses often overlook the crucial role that marketing plays in driving growth and success. Insufficient marketing budgets result in limited reach, diminished brand visibility, and missed opportunities to engage with potential customers. Savvy entrepreneurs understand the value of allocating a sufficient marketing budget to execute effective strategies and stay ahead of the competition.

An example of this is large companies like car companies, sports apparel, and fast food. Despite their millions (even billions) in annual sales, they continue to market to their target audience. They don’t rest just because they’re successful. And neither should you! 

Neglecting Relationship Building

In pursuing short-term gains, businesses sometimes overlook the importance of building long-lasting customer relationships. Now more than ever, having just come off nearly a year of lockdowns, in 2023,, consumers crave authentic connections and personalized experiences. Successful companies prioritize customer relationship management and invest in strategies that foster loyalty and customer retention. By understanding their customers’ needs, responding to feedback, and exceeding expectations, businesses can cultivate a loyal customer base that acts as brand ambassadors and generates positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Lack of Availability and Adaptability

The business landscape is constantly evolving, driven by changes in consumer behavior, market trends, and technological advancements. Businesses that fail to adapt and embrace change find themselves left in the dust. Agility and adaptability are essential qualities for navigating this fast-paced environment successfully. By closely monitoring market trends, anticipating shifts in consumer preferences, and being willing to pivot their strategies, businesses can stay relevant, seize new opportunities, and avoid the pitfalls of stagnation.

Adapting to Thrive

It’s becoming increasingly evident that consumer behavior is transforming rapidly. These changes reshape the business landscape and companies that fail to adapt, struggle to survive. Let’s dig more into it to know how changing consumer behavior impacts business survival in 2023 and beyond. 

The Rise of Digitalization

Digitalization has revolutionized the way consumers interact with businesses and make purchasing decisions. 

In 2023, consumers are more connected to social media than ever. Relying heavily on digital platforms and online resources to research, engage, and buy. Businesses that fail to recognize and embrace this digital shift risk always face challenges later. Establishing a solid online presence, leveraging social media, and offering seamless e-commerce experiences have become crucial for survival in this increasingly digital world.

The Influence of Personalization

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing approaches. In 2023, consumers crave personalized experiences that cater to their unique needs and preferences. They expect businesses to understand them individually, and offer tailored recommendations and solutions. 

Companies that successfully gather and utilize customer data to deliver personalized experiences will stand out. Whether through targeted advertising, personalized product recommendations or customized communication, businesses must prioritize personalization to thrive in 2023 and beyond.

The Demand for Authenticity

Consumers have become more discerning and value-driven. They seek authenticity in the businesses they support, favoring companies that align with their values and demonstrate transparency. Businesses that engage in purpose-driven marketing uphold ethical practices, and communicate their values authentically are more likely to earn the trust and loyalty of customers. In contrast, companies that engage in greenwashing or fail to live up to their brand promises may face backlash and reputational damage.

The Power of User-Generated Content

Consumers no longer rely solely on traditional advertising messages when making purchasing decisions. In 2023, they turn to their peers and online communities for recommendations and reviews. User-generated content, such as customer reviews, social media posts, and influencer endorsements, shapes consumer perceptions significantly. Businesses that actively encourage and leverage user-generated content can harness its power to build credibility, foster trust, and attract new customers.

The Importance of Omnichannel Experiences

Consumers expect seamless experiences across multiple touchpoints and channels. They may discover a product or service through social media, research it on a company’s website, and purchase it in-store or online. Businesses that provide an integrated and consistent omnichannel experience will gain a competitive edge. It requires aligning messaging, branding, and customer service across various platforms to create a cohesive and engaging consumer journey.

The Influence of Social Responsibility

As societal and environmental issues gain more prominence, consumers are increasingly drawn to businesses that demonstrate social responsibility. They seek out brands that actively support causes and positively impact the world. In 2023, businesses that integrate sustainability practices, support charitable initiatives and prioritize corporate social responsibility will likely resonate with socially conscious consumers. Failure to address these concerns may result in losing customers to competitors who prioritize purpose-driven initiatives.

As the average consumer becomes more aware of issues that affect them (be they political, ideological, environmental, ethical, and/or social), they’re more likely to buy from brands whose missions mirror their own. According to Pepperdine University Business School, among the few positive things to come from the pandemic is that consumers no longer buy into a brand just out of loyalty. 

Consumers are taking the time to educate themselves about which companies are embracing true social and corporate responsibility. And they can discern who really has a conscience and which ones are being performative. Not taking a position is no longer working. Consumers want to know their favorite brands are leading with a conscience. 

Changing consumer behavior serves as a powerful catalyst for business transformation. Embracing digitalization, delivering personalized experiences, demonstrating authenticity, leveraging user-generated content, providing omnichannel experiences, and embracing social responsibility is no longer optional. 

It’s All in the Marketing

One thing holds true in the captivating realm of business in the business world, where dreams and aspirations come to life: understanding and adapting to ever-changing consumer behavior is the secret to unlocking success in 2023. 

Personalization becomes the magical ingredient, sprinkling each customer experience with an enchantment that resonates deep within their hearts. Authenticity becomes the thread that weaves a tale of trust, forging lasting connections. And when customers become storytellers through user-generated content, their voices blend harmoniously, creating a symphony of praise that echoes across the digital landscape.

Remember, adapting to evolving consumer behavior is not merely a strategy but a testament to your unwavering dedication to understanding and serving your customers’ needs. As you navigate the exciting challenges and opportunities, let empathy be your compass and innovation be your guiding star. 


By Adrienne Greenwood

Adrienne Greenwood is a seasoned global executive publicist, founder of a bespoke PR Agency, and author of “Unleash The Hidden Titan, Publicity Secrets For Modern Business”


Continue Reading

Copyright © 2022 Disrupt ™ Magazine is a Minority Owned Privately Held Company - Disrupt ™ was founder by Puerto Rican serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Delgado who is on a mission to transform Latin America using the power of education and entrepreneurship.

Disrupt ™ Magazine
151 Calle San Francisco
Suite 200
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901

Opinions expressed by Disrupt Contributors are their own. Disrupt Magazine invites voices from many diverse walks of life to share their perspectives on our contributor platform. We are big believers in freedom of speech and while we do enforce our community guidelines, we do not actively censor stories on our platform because we want to give our contributors the freedom to express their opinions. Articles are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by our community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Disrupt or its employees.
We are committed to fighting the spread of misinformation online so if you feel an article on our platform goes against our community guidelines or contains false information, we do encourage you to report it. We need your help to fight the spread of misinformation. For more information please visit our Contributor Guidelines available here.

Disrupt ™ is the voice of latino entrepreneurs around the world. We are part of a movement to increase diversity in the technology industry and we are focused on using entrepreneurship to grow new economies in underserved communities both here in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. We enable millennials to become what they want to become in life by learning new skills and leveraging the power of the digital economy. We are living proof that all you need to succeed in this new economy is a landing page and a dream. Disrupt tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real-life experience. Disrupt Magazine was designed to give the world a taste of that.