A Startup Content Marketing Cheatsheet

A Startup Content Marketing Cheatsheet

In the past year we’ve seen a shift in the way startups are thinking about content marketing. Two years ago most of the content marketing conversations I had with startups started out as discussions about SEO, ranking and keywords. Content quality from a prospect point of view was largely an afterthought. A lot of that thinking has changed both because of apparent changes to the Google algorithm, as well as changes in the way buyers behave online where they are increasingly bombarded with not just too much content, but too much crappy, irrelevant and downright useless marketing content.  Getting found by prospects on the internet is (finally) becoming less a matter of sneaky tricks to game Google and more a battle to provide informative, useful content that prospects seek out, enjoy and gleefully share among their peers. But many startups don’t know where to start. In my experience the best way for a startup to begin building a content library is to put themselves in the minds of their prospects and think about what content is needed at different stages of the buying process. Understanding the Buyer’s Journey One of the most common mistakes I see startups make with their content is that they create too much content that focuses only on one particular stage of the buyer’s journey. For a startup selling to businesses, typically a buyer will move through a set of stages on the way to making a purchase. This is increasingly not a linear journey as a buyer may move back and forth between actively researching solutions, building a short list of possible vendors and actively evaluating a...
What is Startup Marketing?

What is Startup Marketing?

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. What is Startup Marketing? from April Dunford 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...

Extreme Customer Insights: A Startup Marketing Secret Weapon

In my first startup marketing job I was given the task of attempting to call a couple hundred customers to try to rustle up a dozen or so customer references. That task opened my eyes to how important customer insight was for our startup’s marketing efforts. I quickly learned that there we things things we spent a lot of time talking about in our messages that customers simply didn’t care about. I learned that some of our assumptions about how customers made purchase decisions was deeply flawed. And I learned that there were a host of smaller improvements that I could make to our marketing as a result of the insight I gained on those calls. Since then, in every company I worked in, I’ve tried to create programs that helped us as a marketing team develop a “talking to customers” habit. This week I did a talk at Communitech’s Strategic Marketing Peer2Peer meeting and my topic was how to develop this habit, what questions I think marketers should focus on in these interviews and how you can use what you’ve learned in ways that go way beyond the traditional customer case study. Here are the slides (and scroll down for a summary of some of the key points). Extreme Customer Insight: Mastering the Marketing Secret Weapon from April Dunford How Do You Make Talking to Customers a Habit? Startup Marketers are busy folk dealing with shifting deadlines and priorities. Setting aside time to interact with customers and prospects can easily get pushed to the bottom of our priority list. Making customer interaction a habit often involves taking a...

5 Things Startup Marketers Can Teach Big Companies

I did a keynote talk last week at Communitech’s Tech Leadership Conference. The audience for this talk was a mix of big company marketers and startup marketers. My goal was to show the folks at the larger companies how small, agile, high-growth startups are managing their marketing operations. At the same time, when I think about the startups that I hang out with not all of them are doing everything that I talk about in this deck. I decided to post this deck over here to get some feedback from you folks. If you are a startup marketer – does your group operate in the way I’m describing in this deck? If you are at a larger company do you see these types of things being adopted? How do you think this will evolve over time? 5 things startup marketers can teach big companies from April...
Addressing the 3 Root Causes of Bad Marketing

Addressing the 3 Root Causes of Bad Marketing

I did a workshop at Communitech (where I’m currently serving as an EIR a day or two a week) on startup marketing and in particular how you would design a marketing plan and programs in a more strategic and less tactical way to address the 3 root causes of bad marketing. If you have been following my presentations over the past year you will recognize some of the content here but are some new additions and refinements from previous decks.   Startup Marketing: A Systems Approach from...
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