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.
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:
Focus Your Marketing
Position Your Brand
Foundation: Build That Basement
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.
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.
The adjective data–driven means that progress in an activity is compelled by data, rather than by intuition or personal experience. It is often labeled as business jargon for what scientists call evidence-based decision making.
compelled by data… yeah that’s not happen. There seems to be this uptick in people who think they are data driven and yet they can’t even understand some basic data points that are clearly labeled and given to them by someone.
If you think telling me average time on site is data drive, it’s not.
If you think telling me I feel this is right about campaign is data driven, it’s not.
If you think telling me your personal opinion is data driven, it’s not
If you can’t understand basic data points in a spreadsheet, you’re not data driven.
If you can’t pull anything from Google Analytics or MixPanel beyond the basics, you’re not data driven.
If you can’t create a compelling hypothesis from data given to you, you’re not data driven.
There are too many C and B marketers out there who think they have a mature marketing mind and are data driven. They are not. They need to recognize this and increase what they know about data, gathering information and understand what’s going on. It’s 2016.
After my successful post last year about tools I use to market and get the job done. I decided to make it a yearly tradition.
After working in the performance marketing space for 10 years now around the world. I’ve been able to use many tools and services to do my job better (and faster) while maintaining a higher quality of work. The quality of your work should always be number one. When quality suffers… so does performance in the long run.
I try to automate my job as much as I can and become more effective with what I do. Being efficient isn’t enough because if you’re efficient on the wrong process you won’t move the needle on your business. Somethings I don’t automate as I know it helps me to do it by hand and understand my business better. My weekly reports are one such area. You should know how to do the task manually before automating anything.
Below are some of the tools I use each week (some daily) to get my job done. A couple I’ve been using for 10 years now as they have stood the test of time over and over again
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. 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…really solid list.
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.
A few day’s ago I was doing some indirect competitor research and came across a double listing for 99Designs. They served me a .com & .ca paid search ad…which is wasteful at best. Not sure who runs their paid search but that person or agency should be doing a better job.
However, it got me thinking about what if every brand started showing a .com and a local TLD for ever search results related to their brand name. With right hand side ads being extinct, this would be a smart strategy to gain more SERP real estate with the only down side being wasted impressions on one of your accounts.
This could be a mistake on 99Designs part but maybe this is a bold new strategy they are trying with the new reality of the search world we live in.
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 […]