Weekend Startup Marketing Reading April 20

I’ve been on vacation this week and spending more time on the beach than on the internet. That said I did come across a couple of neat posts this week. Enjoy! William Mougayar of engagio had a great post over on StartupNorth this week about his lessons learned over the past 3 years. I agree with a lot of what he has to say here about relationships, the danger of believing your own story if nobody else does and how helping people is important. I don’t agree with him that selling to enterprises is a dead end – but I do agree that it’s very, very different from selling to individuals. (full disclosure, I am an advisor to engagio) Mark MacLeod at startupCFO had a nead post called Vision can Come Later talking about startups that start as services businesses that later transition to product businesses and the resulting domain expertise that comes with that. His thinking is very much in line with mine on that topic – there is no substitution for hands-on market experience. The Content Marketing Institute has a summary of the results of the Brandpoint 2012 Digital Content Marketing Survey with some interesting data around social content, outsourcing and storytelling. Earlier this week I posted about what startup folks are looking for in a marketing hire. MarketingProfs has a related post this week called 7 Traits of an Ideal Marketer. I agree with all of this in particular the desire to have marketers that have had some sort of sales training and also the need for great writing skills. That’s it for this week. I’ll...
6 Skills That Will get you a Startup Marketing Job

6 Skills That Will get you a Startup Marketing Job

I get about 4 calls a week from people looking to hire a startup marketer. The skills startups are looking for in a marketing hire are remarkably consistent. These are the skills I hear about the most and how you might easily get them. Here’s what startups are looking for in a marketing hire: Content creation – Folks that can create engaging, relevant content are in short supply. Most are looking for writing skills but being able to create video, build infographics and create presentations are desirable skills too. Bonus points if you are a decent public speaker and can represent the company well on video (and face to face). Community management – Great social media marketing programs require folks that can work with the community to help build an engaged audience. Social media skills are important here but equally important are good people skills, especially around relationship building. Analytic skills  – Companies are getting better at tracking their marketing efforts through clicks, conversions, impressions, keywords, links, mentions, along with more traditional pipeline stage tracking measurements. Being able to not just gather data but make sense of it is a skill startups are looking for. PR contacts – Later-stage startups might use outside PR help but most are getting the word out to blogs and news outlets on their own. Having a set of relationships with key influencers in a particular market makes you very valuable to a startup. E-mail marketing – Still the cornerstone of most digital marketing programs, email programs are getting smarter and more sophisticated. Marketing automation tools from simple things like MailChimp through to more...

Weekend Startup Marketing Reading

Here’s this week’s batch of interesting stuff for startup marketers. The folks from the startup Pipedrive, a pipeline management tool wrote a great post looking back at how they grew to 1,000 paying customers. The post includes a great discussion about how they learned to say “no” to customers that wanted one-off features, how they ramped up their growth by spending more time with key influencers and removed as much friction as they could in the their sign-up process. This is a great lessons learned post. An older article on Demand Gen Report, “Why Demand Generation Shouldn’t be Focused on Marketing Qualified Leads” inspired this post this week from B2B Digital Marketing called “Looking beyond Sales and Marketing Alignment“. The original article looks at the problem of Marketing’s continued struggle to provide good leads to sales and proposes that the solution to the problem is better orchestration and coordination between Marketing and Sales. We are focusing too much on MQL’s (Marketing Qualified Leads) when in a perfect process all leads should be marketing influenced as well as sales influenced. In the second article, the author takes this line of thinking one step further to make the argument that sales and marketing should just be “aligned” but actually “integrated”. These are two great articles to read if you are struggling with lead generation process issues related to a salesforce. Over at SingleGrain there was a really interesting post on using competitive research to analyze a new market. This post describes the process the writer used to launch a new online business website from a very SEO-centric perspective. He describes the...
Startup Marketing: Does the Competition Matter?

Startup Marketing: Does the Competition Matter?

I have heard people make the argument that startups shouldn’t think about their competitors. I agree that many spend too much time worrying about how their feature set stacks up against another offering’s feature set. On the other hand, prospects are evaluating your solution against alternatives (which may not be products) and communicating how you are better than those alternatives is a key part of great startup marketing. Simply put – you should care about competitive alternatives if your prospects do. Startups are not Big Companies I very rarely see useful competitive analysis done by startup marketers, mainly because they are trying to do it like big companies do it. The big companies I’ve worked for have had departments dedicated to creating large detailed check mark matrices that showed how our feature set compared to competitive offerings. These matrices almost never included any feedback from customers. Needless to say, the products and their markets were very mature. This approach completely falls apart within the context of a startup. Your competitors, from a customer point of view are almost never so easily defined. For startups, your offering is often competing with “do nothing”, “hire someone to do it”, use spreadsheets/documents/paper, or some other solution that might be completely unsuited to the task but is free/easy/what has always been used. Comparing features of one of these alternatives to your startup’s offering to makes absolutely no sense in this context. A More Customer-Centric Approach In the context of a startup the only competitive analysis that makes sense is the one that is happening in side the heads of your prospects. The more you...
Lipstick on the Enviropig: A Tale of Messaging and Manure

Lipstick on the Enviropig: A Tale of Messaging and Manure

We marketers are optimistic by nature. We’re trained to see the most desirable aspects of the products we sell and minimize the potential drawbacks. This optimism can be a problem however if we lose sight of how customers actually perceive our products and start to believe everyone sees them the way we wish they did. In my first marketing job my boss gave me some very wise advice: Don’t get caught smoking your own marketing Which brings me to this example. Here in Canada, the University of Guelph announced a research project called “The Enviropig.” From the site: The Enviropig™ is a genetically enhanced line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability of digesting plant phosphorus more efficiently than conventional Yorkshire pigs. These pigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with the feed as the pig chews. Once the food is swallowed, the phytase enzyme is active in the acidic environment of the stomach, degrading indigestible phytate in the feed that accounts for 50 to 75% of the grain phosphorus. Simply put – this pig can digest phosphorus from pig feed more efficiently than regular pigs. This means the pig doesn’t need to get fed expensive phosphorus supplements and also produces manure with less phosphorus. Phosphorus in pig manure is a major source of freshwater pollution. Hey, less pollution, that sounds pretty good! The site even goes so far as to helpfully point out that raising an Enviropig is just like raising a regular pig: …the technology is simple, if you know how to...
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