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Startup Marketing

Swarming the goal
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Not long ago, I had the distinct pleasure of joining an incredible group of Austin entrepreneurs through AUSOME (Austin Online Marketing for Entrepreneurs) for a discussion of the Art of Startup Marketing. Thanks to David Vogelpohl, founder of Marketing Clique and Tapfire Mobile, I finally took a few minutes to put pen to powerpoint to outline the model I’ve used to help launch startups such as Zvents, Outright, Fliptop, and others in Silicon Valley and now, here in Austin, Cospace, NOOM, SwimTopia, and SocialGood.TV.

Of course, a good presentation is only good when presented so while you can review the slides here (or at the end of this post), we wrapped up that evening concluding that an article on the subject would be most helpful. Finally, I’m getting around to that post.

The Art of Startup Marketing

As a father of three kids under 8, I can’t help but start with an analogy from my own recent experience. I love playing simple games with my kids, those games that make them think, help us work together, and foster some creativity. One such game is that one that’s been around for ages: Spot the Difference.

Playing your role in your business Swarming the goal

Not much of a challenge in this case is it?

The challenge is in identifying what this has to do with marketing or growth hacking (growth hacking an almost more accurate term for what it is that we/I do: focus on scalable growth by manipulating and measuring each aspect of the customer funnel); particularly scaling early stage businesses or small businesses in which resources aren’t readily available.

On the left we find a team of kids who appear to be playing the game as we’d prefer. Each in their position, learning plays and moving the ball around the field. I liken this image to that of a corporate organization; each plays their role and individuals are scolded for going beyond their responsibilities: only the goalie can touch the ball, only the forwards can play downfield (or is it upfield?).

The problem with doing things the way they seem to be done effectively is that companies are established, experienced soccer teams are just that – experienced. On the right, we see what usually happens at this age. Young kids, those without experience, those still learning what works, swarm the ball. They focus on their near objective AS A TEAM and work together to achieve their goal.

The funny thing to experience as a parent is how frustrated coaches (CEOs?) and some parents (management?) gets when kids fail to play like we see on the left. Too bad, the kids have more fun and are generally more productive (at this age) by playing as you see on the right.

I want you to hold these images in your head as you continue to read and ask yourself, are you playing like the kids on the left? Should you be? Do you ALL know what you’re doing?

Words To Live By

  1. Fail, fail fast, fail frequently
  2. Collaboration and focus create synergy
  3. The results that matter are not the results that matter

In some respects, I’m an investor. While I launch startups, working with them to scale, develop partners and business, find customers, and raise capital, I am putting my own resources on the line for your business. I’m investing in you and your idea. Why? The adage that it’s possible to sell refrigerators to Eskimos really isn’t true – some ideas, some entrepreneurs, some teams, some models, and some cultures are doomed to fail. Venture Capital investors haven’t figured out how to avoid those companies, and neither have I, but I have found some tried and true philosophies I expect business owners to live by; essentially, if you don’t live and breath these 3 tenets, you will fail. These techniques, my help, the most brilliant PR agency in the world, the brightest CTO, won’t be able to save you. You know the companies I’m talking about… you’ve heard about some incredible new app, an amazing new technology that’s going to revolutionize the world, only to find it disappear months later. Startups fail all the time. In my experience, those that fail, fail to embody these core beliefs in their teams.

Fail, fail fast, fail frequently
I’m going to try to be brief so we can get to the meat of the method (ha! if you know me, I can hear you laughing). Companies that chase success, reward what works while ignoring (or worse, punishing) what doesn’t, aren’t trying hard enough. If you find a technique that works, put it in market and move on. Your competition is right behind you and they WILL discover the same opportunity. Keep trying new channels, new stories, new user experiences, new support services, etc. Never stop. And NEVER discourage the failures. In fact, reward them. One of the most successful startup cultures with which I was involved spent every Friday morning as a company with everyone sharing what they had screwed up that week. The failures were applauded, jeered a bit, and ultimately the most significant failure was awarded. The companies that encourage their teams to try so hard they are more likely to fail than succeed, are the companies that find incredible opportunities. Most importantly, because they learn and fail fast.

Collaboration and focus create synergy
Many years ago, I shared the idea that our definition of search engine optimization as a marketing technique was doing a terrible disservice to everyone working online. Rather, SEO is really performance architecture as the most significant impact you can have is when your entire organization architects your website (and your business) for search. This requires the singular focus of your entire business – not just your web designer, social media contractor (you don’t really have one of those do you??), your marketing director, customer support team, and business development executive but YOU, the business owner or founder – doing your part. We’re not going to get into my thoughts on SEO here (we will a bit here), my point is that you will be most successful when you hire a marketing expert to help drive the organization as a team; you will fail if you hire someone because they claim (or you hope) they can do everything for you.

The results that matter are not the results that matter
This is where I hope to really throw you off. You are probably looking to hire a marketing professional to get you more customers: more foot traffic, more sales, more downloads, etc. Whatever your business goal, you need a young, motivated, advertising or lead gen resource – NOT Marketing. They’ll capably get your more customers, as any of us in Marketing can, and ultimately, you will fail. You will be disappointed, they’ll run out of opportunity to grow the business, or your competition will do the same and more – and put you out of business. I hate it when I can’t explain something better than Wikipedia but it is what it is:

Marketing, significantly scaling your business, is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers. Marketing might sometimes be interpreted as the art of selling products, but selling is only a small fraction of marketing. As the term “Marketing” may replace “Advertising” it is the overall strategy and function of promoting a product or service to the customer. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

In short, what are you really trying to achieve? Marketers help you deliver your mission. Startups are looking to raise capital not (just) acquire customers. Mobile apps are looking for downloads but WHY? Small to medium businesses are usually looking to grow to the next stage or explore opportunities to sell the business. Local restaurants are probably looking to stay in business 😉 Until you appreciate that the job of your marketing team is to help you accomplish those goals and not just sell more, you will fail.

Foundation, Function, and Finesse

To help you do that, effective Marketing develops that process through a foundation, functional advertising and lead gen, and some finesse. Ask your team now if they’ve put this architecture in place for your organization and if they haven’t, seriously consider investing in more focus as such. Because this is how we really scale new ventures.

How We Scale Startups

Your Foundation

A house doesn’t stand without one, a skyscraper can’t be built without the ground work to dig one, and your business will fail to grow significantly without an investment in your foundation. At the very least, your foundation includes:

  1. Analytics
  2. Design
  3. Technical SEO
  4. Optimization
  5. Lead capture and email

Frustrating for many business owners looking for short term growth and immediate return is that these efforts will not deliver that. And yet, without doing these, any marketer worth their salt will laugh in your face when you try to hire them if you aren’t willing to invest here and expecting your marketer to own these programs.

Google Analytics – $0 / month – $500 investment
As I explore each of these programs with you, I’m going to start each the same with, with a recommended platform or service, your monthly cost, and what you need to expect to invest for it to really work. In this case, Google Analytics. Period. I know, you’ve heard about this incredible new intelligence tool or your CTO really wants to put in place the hottest analytics app. Bottom line: Google Analytics is free, it’s integrated with AdWords, it has A/B testing built in, and when set up properly, it is the most valuable technology on the market. There’s the catch, you have to use it. Not just your marketing team, EVERYONE has to understand it, demand of it, and use it. That investment, as such, is about what it takes to get someone who knows what they are doing to ensure you’ve set it up right. Make sure you have Goal and Event tracking set up. Spend some time enabling Social Analytics. Use Segmentation – liberally! You can track the impact of even Word of Mouth in some incredible ways if you spend time with Segmentation. Understand funnels, reverse goal paths, and assisted conversion reports. Make sure you strategically develop your use of Campaign Tracking and don’t just throw up parameters that seem to make sense. Finally, set up Dashboards for EVERYONE in the organization and expect them to report out in your team meetings FROM those reports – make them use them and don’t waste your time with presentations and charts.

Theme Forest – $250 / month – $50-2000 investment
Here I’m undoubtedly going to piss off a bunch of website designers. Tough. In the same breath that I’m going to tell you NOT TO HIRE AN SEO AGENCY (or a social media consultant), I’m going to point out that you should have an incredibly well designed, gorgeous website, for about $300. Build your website in WordPress. Stop, I know what you want to ask… what about Drupal or… Stop. WordPress is used by, I don’t know, something like 60% of the ENTIRE internet to power everything from blogs to eCommerce sites. It’s supported by millions of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs. It’s largely free. Use WordPress. Now, head to Theme Forest and pick a theme for about $50. Hire a WordPress developer who can design if you must but I can almost guarantee you don’t need them. There is a design for almost everything and you can pay thousands to get your own site designed exactly as you want it or you can pay hundreds to have something just as incredible, more likely more effective, and save your money. If you can’t figure it out, hire a local to launch it for you (but only if they can outline what they are going to do for you SEO, Social Media, Lead Gen, Analytics, etc. AND that they are going to turn over EVERYTHING to you – including hosting). If you need something more technical built, WordPress developers overseas are around $10 / hour – NO, don’t just hire them blindly as yes, the horror stories are usually true – find someone who works with them and hire them to benefit from that efficiency overseas (ask me). Why is design so paramount? Good design increases your conversion rates, reduces bounce rates, improves word of mouth, and generally boosts the performance of your business – see why it’s part of the foundation? I’m not running a search marketing campaign for you if your website sucks.

Technical SEO
Your Developers – Part of your culture – $2000 investment
What the heck is Technical SEO? Odds are, you’ve hired an “SEO Agency,” or been told copy, keyword optimization, and link building is what it takes. LIES. Report those people to the Better Business Bureau and do you part to help clean up the economy. Getting your site effectively indexed by search engines starts with great site architecture, an understanding of navigation and user experience, an appreciation of bounce rates and how to deal with them (hint: see my section on Design), and appreciating the significance of social media. Essentially, building a website that works and a website that works for your business has to be built and managed by your business. Of course, you can, and probably should get a platform (a Content Management System or eCommerce platform) on which to build the site but the effectiveness and quality of your site is so paramount to business that it shouldn’t be outsourced.

Google Analytic’s Content Experiments – $0 / month – Part of your culture
Have I written so much that you’ve forgotten why I reinforced Google Analytics over other intelligence tools? Optimization testing is part o the package. Formerly known as Website Optimizer, unfortunately, Google removed the more valuable multivariate testing capabilities of the platform but this is still a solid A/B testing platform that puts the responsibility of optimization in everyone’s hands. Test: messaging, buttons, calls to action, forms, colors, etc. NEVER stop testing. Have every department (who now has access to Google Analytics because they have a dashboard – right?) responsible for optimizing their part of the site from Business Development down to Customer Service. Still wondering why GA is so much more valuable? When doing this testing, Google Analytics has already built in source referral tracking, keywords referrals, visitor location, click stream, events, conversion goals, etc. You can optimize based on an endless number of variables and not just the sale.

Lead Capture and Email
MailChimp – less than $100 / month – $500 per month
A monthly cost and an investment? Yes. What I want you to start appreciating is that email leads and marketing are as much a source of market intelligence as they are communication tools. First, ensure that your site is designed and built to enable EVERY opportunity to capture an email address. Store every email address in your email marketing platform – no, you can’t email to all of them unless they opt-in – but you can capture and maintain them all. Segment your email database by location and context so you can effectively leverage those addresses in other ways. Certainly email those you can, twice a month at least. Make sure you test plain old text email from you personally vs. that marketing newsletter from a generic email address – you’ll be surprised how much more effective that personal note is than advertising via email. Now, the first source of intelligence about those email addresses (all of them), check out Fliptop (MailChimp has it built in) – Fliptop will give you a social profile of everyone they can – where they live, name, their social network profiles, etc. While you can’t email, you can learn about and connect with everyone.

Functional Marketing

With that foundation in place, we can get to the programs for which most business owners try to hire. Don’t misunderstand that we (marketers, sales, and business development professionals) know you really only want to pay for more customers so let me characterize the importance of that foundation this way: You can spend $5 to acquire a new customer; say, through search engine marketing, OR, you can spend the same $5 to acquire 3 new customers, 2 new partners, 10 email addresses for various reasons, and understand how you influenced other search behavior and acquired a few more leads through your organic search results. Of course, you’re telling yourself, you’re already doing the latter and of course that will happen regardless – the point of the focus on the foundation first is that I’d bet dollars to donuts (what does that mean anyway??) that you aren’t doing it well, sufficiently, or effectively and you are leaving money on the table. When you hire someone to do your SEM, they may get 2 customers instead of the one, perhaps a new partner, of course some email addresses, etc. Unless your entire organization is rigorous about time and energy invested in that foundation, you aren’t doing enough to ensure your functional marketing programs will work.

How then do you fail if you’re getting positive results?? Because someone else IS doing that. My two favorite mantras I often hear from business owners?

We’re growing 20% year over year. What can you do for us?

What if we can’t afford what our competition is bidding on keywords?

In the first case, if you can’t prove to me that your foundation is humming like a well oiled machine, 20% growth is a failure and your competition will crush you. That second thought helps validate that for me – search engine marketing is purely performance based: We pay what we can afford relative to the results delivered. If your competition can afford more, you’re doing something wrong.

Functional marketing starts with:

  1. Search Engine Marketing
  2. Affiliate Marketing
  3. Marketing Automation
  4. Direct Mail (wait… what?)

Search Engine Marketing
Google AdWords – Usually $1000 / month ($2000 with help) – Performance based investment
Remember why I said you should only use Google Analytics?… Okay, I won’t go there again. Start Search Marketing simply: your brand terms and product names. But wait Paul! I’m not paying for for clicks on my own name! I have the first result because of my website! In the first place, this is starting simply and making an investment where we know it will return. In the second place, if you don’t bid on your brand names, someone else will. In the third place, are you seriously telling me you won’t pay for traffic that likely results in sales?? Yeah but won’t my competition screw with me there? No. Google fixed that years ago. Ultimately, we’re starting here so you can build a foundation to your program so that it performs well – effective search marketing is about contextual relevance between the keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns that you are running. We’re starting with your own brand terms so you can appreciate how that works – you don’t run ad copy promoting Product A on a key word for Product B. NOW, work into category and industry terms by adding new campaigns and ad groups as needed to keep that context as relevant as possible. When I was at HP, we had hundreds of campaigns and ad groups; if you think a word or ad should have it’s own group, it should. Next, ALWAYS BE OPTIMIZING. Never stop removing bad ad copy and trying new (remember, your site is doing the same so you are constantly improving performance). Lastly, appreciate the indirect benefits of Search Engine Marketing as much as the sale – if you are investing in future bids only based on a sale – you will fail. SEM increases the performance of organic search, it drives awareness, it prevents competition, it helps partners find you, it helps customers solve problems. AND the search data itself (keyword search volume, trends, click behavior and patters), is invaluable.

Affiliate Marketing
Share a Sale (or Zferral) – Performance based cost – $1000 investment
If you think Affiliate Marketing is for eCommerce sites, hang up your hat right now and go home. Affiliate Marketing is about nurturing relationships with potential partners, influencers, bloggers, etc. and compensating them for their support. Indeed, this is heavily done in eCommerce as its a clear and established marketing channel but it can and should be done for just about everything. If selling a product, start with Share A Sale as it’s turn key, low cost, and simple. It isn’t Commission Junction but then, the idea that an affiliate marketing platform is going to get you sales and therefore you need the big one is hogwash – the platform is just that; the technology that enables what you’re doing. Ultimately, YOU need to make affiliate marketing work. Favor content producers who are going to write about your business and not just put up ads or product listings – that content will serve to create more awareness for your business than those ads. Compensate well, REALLY well, because you only pay for a closed sale (unlike SEM where you pay for the click), do the calculation to figure out how to pay that affiliate as much as possible – much more than other marketing channels might cost. Why? You have a new customer, you have their name, email address, future business, and referrals; guaranteed. That affiliate isn’t being paid for any of the advertising they are doing beyond that closed customer and you can be sure that advertising is yielding other customers through Direct traffic to your business, searches, etc. (remember what I said about Segmentation in Google Analytics – you can track this!). Affiliates will promote whomever rewards them most for their efforts so pay well and work those relationships. With some affiliates, a solid relationship can be the foot in the door to a partnership.

What then is Zferral? Check it out as an alternative for non-commerce based businesses. It’s a great way to support evangelists and compensate individuals who might support your business.

Why does Affiliate Marketing have a performance based cost and a fixed investment while Search is the other way around?? In Search, if you aren’t paying enough to tell Google that you are serious, it won’t promote you; you can’t just pay the minimum possible to test the water – you have to invest in a monthly commitment. That doesn’t mean you’ll SPEND that budget, SEM is performance based, but you have to be willing to commit it. More than that, you probably want a search marketing professional helping you out so you have a monthly cost allocated to running that program (if you can, don’t outsource to an agency! You’ll lose way too much intelligence from search). On the other hand, Affiliate Marketing only pays out on sales so you don’t really have a budget, rather an operating cost. The upfront investment in Affiliate Marketing is allocated to ads, copy, and other collateral you need to run a good program.

Marketing Automation
Net-Results – At least $500 / month – Variable investment
As of the time of my discussion with AUSOME, Net-Results was a favorite for being reasonably priced; for whatever silly reason, Marketing Automation entrepreneurs missed the boat on the wave of web services that are drastically reducing the costs of technology so they still charge thousands for this. Net-Results was reasonable, so reasonable, you could set it up for free… Since that presentation though, it seems they’ve outsourced Sales to a third party and now the set up process is annoying. Alternatives I’d recommend but can’t distinguish: Office Autopilot, Infusionsoft,, LoopFuse, Gold Lasso’s eLoop. Which to use? Not certain so please, comment on your experience below so we can benefit. Here’s the bottom line… Marketing Automation is about tracking all known individuals as they interact with your site. This allows you to do a few things like scoring email addresses for your Sales or Business Development teams so they know where to prioritize their time, automatically emailing people based on what they do, or automating some customer support efforts. Automatically emailing?? I thought we couldn’t email people who haven’t given us permission, right?? Right. As a company. Individuals do it all the time. Use Marketing Automation to send a personal email from you (or your Sales person) to them to set up a call. But from where do you get the email addresses so that you “know” these people? – Marketing Automation isn’t nearly as valuable if you don’t have the email addresses with which to identify people (though it can still be helpful in identifying traffic from companies – based on IP addresses). Recall our foundation? You are capturing EVERYONE in every way you can and putting them here. Now ask yourself (or me), how might you get your hands on more email addresses?

Direct Mail
Jigsaw – $300 for a few thousand names – $1500 investment
Seriously?? Direct mail. Yes. But not in the way that you think. Sending post cards and sales or flyers with deals is about as archaic a waste of money as there can be but send a personal thank you or invitation and you have the highest open rate (to use the email marketing term) you can imagine. Work with a print designer who can manufacture such letters, notes, and invitations in bulk (not design them, print them), and make sure they are personalized. Your investment is in that print work and to acquire target contacts and addresses via a platform like Jigsaw. (side benefit: Jigsaw also has email addresses).

The Finesse

Perhaps you’ve grasped that your foundation is a bit of a fixed investment and a shift in your culture. Your functional marketing consists of programs, largely performance based, that can often be outsourced but are usually better served by hiring someone with experience. Now it’s time for the finesse and I want you to go into these ideas constantly considering where and how domain expertise really pays off – because while expertise is invaluable here, this is work best done in-house.

  1. Marketing SEO & Content
  2. Public Relations
  3. Social Media

Marketing SEO & Content
Raven – $500 / month – $1500 investment
Before I explain my reason for crossing out the platform suggestion, let’s get into what we’re doing here. You and your business need to think like your audience. Hang on to your hats: Google does. That’s the big secret in SEO. All that science, that algorithm, those ranks, the optimization…. it’s all about creating a technology that thinks as much like a person as possible. Weeding out the junk and promoting the right stuff. You don’t need to understand much more than that. Take a look at your website, assuming you handled your Technical SEO properly your URLs (addresses), navigation, links, and calls to action should all make sense to you. You should be able to look at the address of a webpage and know exactly what it’s about. Think like your audience. If you haven’t yet accomplished that, get started. We’ll wait for you…

Marketing SEO is really about intelligence. Track every imaginable keyword related to your business. Not just product, brand, industry, and category names but track your partners’, competitors’, sponsors’, and employees’. Track them all through an analytics tool that gives you insight to the demand for those terms, how you perform, where you appear, and the trends and changes in those words. Lucky for me, at the time of my presentation and discussion, my favorite tool, Raven, was in the process of abandoning these reports to favor search engine marketing analytics. I can’t fault them for the decision too much, they want to focus on profitable reporting capabilities and focus (makes sense, right?); except, I don’t know why you would want a 3rd platform when AdWords and Analytics do that quite capably and at the end of the day, the value in a search analytics tool is the comprehensive view of everything going on in search (most of which is organic). Their justification? Where you rank in organic search results is really irrelevant (pay attention to that statement because it’s true and very important to understand) – the problem with that thought is that the change in where you rank is still relevant. Their reasons aside, the abandonment gave me the opportunity and distinct pleasure of chatting with Whoosh Traffic and while Whoosh doesn’t yet provide everything that Raven had, they are working quickly to deliver that reporting AND they are true entrepreneurs, exploring innovating and invaluable ways of providing such intelligence.

Let’s digress… With that data in place, create pages, static pages (not “landing pages”) for key concepts, locations, products, and services in which you have opportunity. Develop relationships with bloggers in your industry and work with them to tell unique stories about those themes (consider starting with those affiliates we’ve nurtured). Ultimately, think like a person; don’t write optimized headlines or try to game how this works – Google is trying to provide results like a person so you will reap the greatest reward if you simply write for that audience.

Public Relations
DIY – $500 / month – $2500 investment
Note, this is really important, Public Relations or PR, does not refer to press. In the same sense that Marketing is not JUST advertising for sales, press is but a small part of the finesse of public relations. That said, starting with the press, deal with them directly. Put a reminder on your calendar to call key, local and industry reporters once a month. The press covers things that are top of mind; your press release, your sudden need for coverage, your desire for a story does not put you top of mind – your relationship with the press does. What does the press cover? Notable business news (not your latest product or feature release but stories of growth, significant hires, fund raising, etc.) or industry stories in which you could be featured as an interview or source of information (HARO is a great place to start). Ever wonder where those industry interest pieces come from?? It starts with you.

With that in mind, keep in mind that Bloggers are often more valuable than press. Bloggers generally better understand SEO, social media, and they take the time to link to and promote you; press all too often doesn’t. While the press might have greater reach, a well placed blog post will often yield greater indirect impact.

Now, a word about “PUBLIC” relations. Your strategy here needs to most appreciate that second core tenet: Collaboration and focus create synergy. Everyone in your company is dealing with the public so don’t leave this stuff to an agency or marketing department. Is your Business Development team sharing your story? Does Customer Support report reactions and enable social media conversations? Are YOU blogging on your own site and supporting your business through you Facebook account? Is Sales speaking your language or simply doing whatever it takes to close a sale? Yes, you might want to hire an agency, but realize that you are hiring their ability to craft and tell a story – NOT their ability to write and publish a press release, their connections in the industry, or the change they can make on how your organization deals with the public: that needs to happen from within.

Social Media
DIY – $500 / month & $75 per post – $1000 investment
Are you one of those businesses or business owners who has tried blogging and think it’s a waste of time? Go home, you’re going to fail. Social marketing is about telling stories and it STARTS with a blog. If you are trying Facebook or investing in Tweets without first sharing or telling those stories on your blog, you are wasting an opportunity. Remember the point that Google thinks like a person? What do people do these days? They validate things through their friends (Facebook and Twitter), then they turn to content to confirm, learn more, or engage an idea, and that influences their decisions. Google does the same. Without a blog, that content isn’t YOU.

If you think a blog, or Facebook, or Twitter, is going to get your customers, go home, you’re going to fail. Not directly anyway. You are in social media to establish yourself in your industry, create awareness, and generate excitement for what you’re doing. Stop trying to tweet your latest deal, share your new product, or blog about your holiday sale – no one cares. Blog about innovations in your industry, potential partners, business news, and exciting developments so that you can capture Google and the audience that’s looking for that insight. You want to be the brand delivering that information. THEN share it with your fans on Facebook and Twitter, remember to @ all of the parties involved in the story so you get their attention, and appreciate that your fans are the individuals most likely to spread such stories on your behalf – they aren’t likely to tell all their friends about your latest sale. In many respects, think of social media as business development more than marketing as the ability it has to develop your reputation and create awareness with other businesses is tremendous – far more valuable than trying to sell something therein.

Putting it all together

Startup Marketing PyramidAnd so… we come to the end. Still with me? I’m impressed, I do hope, in particular, that you’ll share some thoughts in the comments below; tell me I’m wrong, share your experiences, suggest a better tool, criticize one that I’ve favored (heck, the pace of innovation means that my suggestions will probably be out of date by the time you get to the end here); just don’t go this far without supporting the cause.

That cause is that you should now have a marketing strategy that is easily visualized like the pyramid on the right. Start with the foundation, build with some functional programs, and top it off with some finesse.

Startup Marketing SynergyAnd yet, that pyramid should probably look more like the one to the left. The left represents the impact each of those efforts will now have. Without your foundation, without the functional programs, a story in the media or a blog tweeting stories will fall flat. Without the foundation, your work on a search marketing campaign will yield misleadingly positive results at best and missed opportunity at least. With this pyramid approach to your marketing strategy, your finesse will blow away the competition as they continue to struggle with sales and lead gen alone. If I can help you accomplish this, let me know.

Page Summary
Article Name
Startup Marketing
Who to hire, what to budget, and what to expect in marketing your startup: fail, fail fast; collaboration creates synergy; and focus on the right results.

4 Responses to “Startup Marketing”

  1. Justin Scribner says :

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this info Paul. I really enjoyed the MeetUp that you spoke at. It helped solidify quite a few things that I have been “preaching” for some time. Now it’s time to practice what I preach and begin the setup process myself. 
    Any business in this day and age would be remiss not to take your advice on the approach outlined above. Especially the “Foundation” being a pivotal point in the success of a startup or any business. 
    Looking forward to future posts and talking with you again soon. 
    Justin Scribner

  2. seobrien says :

    @Justin Scribner justscribner Thanks Justin, you know, it’s clear to me we really need to sit down and chat.  There is a group of marketing, business development professionals, and sales people in Texas trying to figure out how to enable entrepreneurs that think big and want to scale to find resources with experience in this regard.  Let’s find some time.

  3. justscribner says :

    @seobrien  @Justin Scribner  justscribner I agree Paul. Can you do something Wednesday possibly?

  4. tasha says :

    This is a REALLY good post. Someone shared it on twitter and I really love all the information you shared. I have been trying to get a better understanding of Google Analytics for years. I know google has office in Austin. So I will see if they offer classes like the Atlanta office use to do. I feel if I get a better grip on that it can help my businesses tremendously.

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Startup Marketing

by SEO'Brien time to read: 23 min