Start-ups in the running to win $100,000 advertising advice share their biggest marketing challenges

Three start-ups have been announced as finalists in the running to win up to $100,000 in marketing and strategic advice in a competition run by advertising firm Leo Burnett.


Parking app Divvy Parking, online magazine Pilerats and breakfast food company Yoats are in the running, with the winner announced in September


Divvy Parking is an app that facilitates the renting and sharing of parking spots to free up more space. The app is now live in Sydney and Melbourne.


Founder Nick Austin told StartupSmart the competition was a great opportunity for a start-up, as new companies usually can’t afford this level of professional marketing expertise.


“Budget is always the biggest marketing challenge for a start-up. This is a start-up’s dream, it’s such a great opportunity to work with a talented and proven team to get it right from the start,” he says.


As a disruptive app, Austin says his key marketing challenge is communicating how the app works in a way that connects with brand new users.


“We’re essentially a community-focused company that is trying to change the way people commute through community participation,” Austin says.


“Our main challenge is on the face of it, it looks reasonably complex. But it’s actually quite simple, so we need to get the message out that it’s easy and can pay you a regular income to convince them to check it out.”


Yoats is a range of oat-based breakfast-on-the-go products. Founder and sole operator Adam Wilkinson told StartupSmart food start-ups had to be especially careful with their marketing to make sure they could match demand with where they can get their product stocked.

“My biggest marketing challenge is timing and also matching the marketing with our capabilities of where we can get the product,” Wilkinson says. “Also, it’s just me on this business and marketing is really not my area of expertise.”


Wilkinson says the key to food marketing is getting people to taste the product, and having a brand that’s unique.


“I’ve been focused on getting it into as many mouths as possible. We’ve got to get it on the shelves, and also get people to pick it up and try it,” he says. “We just want our brand to be a bit different and for people to associate it with their everyday and morning. It’s okay to be different.”


Pilerats is an art, fashion, music and lifestyle online publication and blog site which also manages national tours and video production for artists such as Skrillex, Illy and Flume.


Director Alex Paioff told StartupSmart the win would enable them to promote their product.


“We’ve invested a lot into the technology so far and we haven’t been able to put a lot of marketing expenditure out there. We need to educate people about what online publications can do and what they’re capable of. We need to get people to move past what they think an online or print publication is about,” he says.


He adds operating a start-up out of Perth gives them extra marketing challenges.


“We’re the most isolated city, but we really want to make sure we have a strong presence Australia-wide, and getting traction over east can be tough,” Paioff says. “Given it’s designed to be a global product, market exposure makes all the difference.”


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