Many startup founders don’t fully understand what a startup marketer does or should be doing. When I talk to founders I find they often have a very narrow definition of what startup marketing is and only after they have found a great senior person to run their team do they really understand what a broad role it is.

I put together a presentation that I thought might be useful both for founders that are looking to understand the startup marketing role better as well as marketers that are struggling to explain to the other folks on the team what’s on their plate.

Here’s what startup marketing is NOT:

  • The Cure for a Lousy Product – There are a lot of things that marketers can do but if you have built something that nobody actually wants to buy or something so difficult to use that buyers give up on the product in disgust, well, marketing can’t really help you all that much.
  • Magic – Related to the previous point, we might be good at many things but I don’t believe the tooth fairy leaves money under your pillow and neither should you. Convincing people to part with their hard earned money is difficult to do and there is no simple magic wand that works when we need it to. Like everything else in your startup, it’s hard work.
  • Common Sense –  Just because you are on the receiving end of thousands of marketing messages a day and have an opinion about those, does not mean you understand what goes on behind the curtain.

So what is Startup Marketing?

Lead Generation

  • Inbound Marketing Programs
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Events
  • Sponsorships
  • Paid Advertising
  • SEO
  • Promotions/Contests
  • Email Maketing
  • Webinars
  • Outbound Marketing Programs

Content Production

  • Blogging
  • Case Studies
  • Video
  • Slideshare
  • Articles
  • Data Sheets
  • Feature Guides
  • Checklists
  • eBooks/Whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • Graphics
  • Interactive Demos
  • Calculators
  • Photos
  • Website
  • Content Curation
  • Podcasts

Message & Brand

  • Messaging
  • Storytelling
  • Identity
  • Brand Guidelines


  • Data Capture
  • Dashboards
  • Key Metrics Tracking
  • Analytics

Media & Influencers

  • PR/Media Relations
  • Influencer Programs
  • Public Speaking
  • Analyst Relations

Customer Success

  • Onboarding
  • Cross/Upsell Programs
  • Customer Advisory Boards
  • Renewals
  • Customer Success Marketing
  • Customer Conferences
  • User Groups
  • Support Programs
  • References


  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Others
  • Forums
  • Blogs/Comments
  • Private Communities

Partners & Distribution

  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Distributor Programs
  • Reseller Programs
  • Affiliate Programs
  • App. Store Marketing
  • White Label and OEM Programs

Sales Strategy & Support

  • Sales Training
  • Sales Content Development
  • Call Scripts
  • Marketing/Sales Lead Flow
  • Target Account Programs
  • Lead Nurturing


  • Virality Features
  • In-Product Marketing
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Packages
  • Market Feedback

Market Insight

  • Personas
  • Market Tracking
  • Buying Process Insight
  • Competitive Intelligence

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Even for products where some of these things can be removed (for example where you only sell direct, the “Partnerships and Distribution” things may not apply), it’s still a pretty long and diverse list of things.

Small wonder that great startup marketers are in short supply