Many Tech-Startups start spending and focus heavily on Marketing and Sales activities early on, while their product/services platform suffers because of lack of features, and iterative improvements based on customers feedback. Some start marketing the product even when it has not reached the MVP level.
Marketing is necessary evil! And, it should be handled simultaneously. The argument here is – what if startups focus more on improving the product, making it more user-friendly, intuitive, and engaging - allowing it to grow naturally with minimal effort on marketing and sales activities.
I believe that ‘Word of Mouth’ publicity is more valuable in the early iterations; it attracts new customers to the platform and retains them for a longer period. In this highly competitive and quick evolving landscape; Customer engagement and retention is the key to success. If customers find a product/platform valuable, engaging, with superb UI/UX, and usable, they will most likely reuse it, pay for it and recommend to their connections of the world to use it.
Purpose of building a product/platform for a customer fails if they cannot use it due to complexities or bugs in the system. Our inherent trait is, we do not ask for help unless in dire situation. Similarly, If customers cannot figure out how to use the product for themselves, then they would be reluctant to ask for help. Few adventurous/experimental types may contact help-desk. Besides, you need to allocate more time and valuable resources on keeping a large team of customer support executives to provide help to customers, or to complete the process on behalf of them.
I think, instead of increasing the Marketing/Sales/BD budget and effort; startups should focus more on agile (fast-paced) improvement of their product to make it more usable than their competitors. They should hire more Tech Personnel (programmers, testers, and designers) to fast-track the iterative improvements of the product to make it more usable; instead of hiring more Marketing/Sales/BD people to sell vaporware.