T: @DuaneBrown

The Importance Of Over Communicating As You Grow

When your company is a single person. There is no need to worry about communication as much because there is no one else to talk to. Maybe you have external clients to talk with by phone and email but that’s a different type of communication. It’s similar to doing the marketing for your company to the outside world.

When you’re two people or any number under 10. You’ve to almost make sure that you keep in mind what you say and how you say it to the team because these are the people who are going to communicate your brand and help grow your culture.

However, you’ve to remember how you act and the non-verbal signals that you send because those are almost as important, if not more important, then what you say. 90% of communication that is given is non-verbal. You don’t want what you say and do to be out of sync. You also don’t want to create a place that is do as I say and not as  I do. This creates an environment of resentment for your small team as there looks like there are two sets of rules in the working environment.

A leader, or one in training who wants to lead a company, should lead by example and show their team what is expected everyday of the week and when you’re not in the room because you’re hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in a balmy August summer.

As I get ready to on-board my second team member, I can’t help but keep on thinking about what I say, what I do and how I say things to each person. If there is one major lesson after living in the UK for two years…it is this: over communicating important tasks/ideas/vision is ok and encouraged. You want to do it until the other person tells you to stop. If the other person asks you to stop, ask them to explain back what you’ve been saying to make sure they truly understand. You can never say something important to much because usually saying it once or twice isn’t enough. If you’re not over communicating right now… you should change that.

13 Tools To Help Market Your Startup In 2017

Startup Marketing Bullhorn

Working in the performance marketing space for 8 of the last 10 years has been amazing. I’ve been able to use many tools and services to do my job better (and faster). Maintaining quality should always been number 1.

I also believe in automation not repetition where possible. You should know how to do the task manually before automating anything (and why you’re doing it).

Below are some of the tools I use each week (some daily) to get my job done. A couple I’ve been using for 8 years now. They have stood the test of time.

Automation
Zapier – The software helps you connect two programs together that don’t have an official integration. e.g. importing a Twitter list into a Slack channel, so it’s searchable later by your team. I did this recently for a Twitter list I had based on research publications. Zapier’s recipe library.

IFTTT – It’s is a web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Dropbox, Instagram, and Craigslist. Seer Interactive put together a great list of IFTTT recipes for marketers.

AdWords Scripts – Provide a way to programmatically control your AdWords data. You can use scripts to automate common procedures or interact with external data in one to many AdWords accounts. A couple cool scripts I’ve been using over the last year are URL Link Checkers and Keyword Performance. Brainlabs also has an AdWords script library that is a great resource if you work in the commerce space or have a ton of different inventory and SKUs type clients.

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Pricing Your Agency Services in 2017

Pricing is a sensitive subject because often talking about money is taboo, in some people’s eyes. However, you’ve to want to get paid and you’ve to want to talk about money if you’re going to run your own company. Once you’re comfortable talking about money then you’ve to honestly figure out the harder question of…

How Much Am I Going To Charge?

This isn’t as easy as it seems. Traditionally people said you should take your costs for the year and divide by 2,000 hours. The reason people said 2,000 hours was because it was assumed you’d take 2 weeks of vacation. Plus 50 weeks X 40 Hours/Week = 2,000 hours. Lets not forget that predicting your costs for the year is wildly inaccurate most of the time.

1. What happens if an emergency comes up?

2.What if you want to take 4 weeks vacation?

Plus by selling hours to your clients, means you can only make more money if you work more hours each year. This usually means you work more hours or you hire someone to help out. When that person is maxed on hours you start the vicious cycle all over again. A twist on selling hours is adding 10% or even 20% on top for profit.  This can work but again you’re still limited by hours and you’re assuming you’ll bill 2,000 hours/year. Plus it incentivizes agencies to work as many hours as they can to max billable hours each month. There is no reason for them to be effective and then efficient with your account.

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How To Accelerate Your Startups Marketing For Profitable Growth

The Problem
2016. There are more startups than money, talent or consumers can support or even VC money can fund. We’re reaching a point where the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction for startups to be profitable. I mean profitable beyond just on a cash flow bases. This should always be a goal from day one with your startup. Spending more money  then you make to acquire a customer is a losing business model.

The question then becomes; how do you build a startup marketing engine to fuel your growth? Over the last 10 years I’ve worked around the world from Toronto to Sydney, Melbourne to London and now I’m back home in Canada giving Vancouver a run. One phrase that keeps coming up is how different I work then some of my colleagues in marketing over the last decade. I thought I’d share some of my thinking and how I work.

The Answer
Answering how you fuel your growth can be the difference between being number one in your space and being dead last. Though you don’t have to be number one in your space to win. You could be number two or even carve out a niche focus within an industry that attracts customers to your brand. This isn’t a question of out spending your competition like Uber does because that’s not the reality of most startups in the world. Plus Uber is spending money to subsidies their customer’s purchases. Being number one or a leader in your space is a question of doing the following:

  1. Focus Your Marketing
  2. Position Your Brand
  3. Foundation: Build That Basement
  4. Customers: Know Them. Love Them

These are the areas in marketing that is going to separates A+ work that is going to shift your business from small startup to a rocket ship growth. Otherwise, you’ll have average or worse yet, mediocre marketing that most startups do and think they just have to outspend to win the war. Having my last startup, mopp.com, exit with an acquisition after I came on board after 9 month earlier is a testament to my process and data informed approach to marketing.

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What Makes A Great Marketer In 2017?

There are 3 traits I think every great marketer needs to have. They are courage, curiosity and hands-on experience.

A marketer in 2017 needs to have the courage to try something new, to be ok when an idea or campaign fails and not be afraid to champion an opposite point of view. They need to have the curiosity to ask why and dig into the data to see what happens. However, this curiosity also needs to extend externally and make them want to talk with customers and understand what makes them tick, what makes them buy and most of all what makes them happy.

A person can have some or all of the above but if they don’t have hands-on experience then it’s all for nothing. Being in the trenches and understanding how marketing fits into a company and how to use the tools to create a feedback loop for your work is key. Hands-on experience lets you understand why and not just what you’re doing. That lets anyone be more effective at their job and not just more efficient.

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