I’ve been approached recently by a number of early-stage startups looking for help with marketing.

In many cases, they’re interested in media coverage to attract more customers. For entrepreneurs, this exercise makes sense because coverage it’s exciting, something that is tangible and, theoretically, good for business.

At the same time, this isn’t really marketing, but entrepreneurs looking for a short cut.

Here are some questions that startups need to ask when they exploring the idea of marketing:

Why do we want to do marketing?

What are our objectives from marketing and how can they drive the business forward?

Is there a problem that need to be solved?

What are rivals doing with marketing? Is it giving them a competitive edge?

What are the best ways to reach potential customers?

How can marketing support our sales activities? What would make our sales efforts more effective?

How much time and money are we willing to invest in marketing?

Do we have the people internally to do marketing, or are we willing to hire external marketing partners?

Answering these questions is a good way for startups to pragmatically explore whether it’s time marketing and, more important, if they’re ready for marketing.

 If you’re looking to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen. I recently published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides strategic and tactical guidance to entrepreneurs looking to embrace the power of story-driven marketing.