Seth Godin says about Marketing:
Marketing is the name we use to describe the promises a company makes, the story it tells, the authentic way it delivers on that promise.
Fred Wilson wrote a few pieces on ‘Marketing’ this weekend and it set off a meme and some great comments on his blog. I will link to them all at the end of the blog post, but here are my deep thoughts on marketing.
If you have a physical product, remember the 4 p’s. In today’s global world, I would add an H and an S, ‘Speed’ and ‘Hustle’ because things just move faster.
In my first investment/entreprenuerial job out of grad school, we sold Gripps and this old blog post has the story.
We had a product that needed to be sold by the touch and so it was years of tradeshows and free samples. A freaking grind, but we were young and the experiences I would not trade for anything. The product sold itself for a long time, but you had to put it in people’s hands and let their imagination do the selling. Our customers came up with the ‘private label’ market for us and the rest was history. Today, 27 million plus units have been sold. For a while, price did not matter. Than it DID.
The ‘idea’ of marketing has changed a lot in the 7 years of heavy internet investing I have been a part of. My first large investment was in GolfNow.com (acquired by Comcast). GolfNow is the Expedia of tee times. I argued with the management team daily about marketing, promotion and even price. We had the capital, why not go faster into new cities and social features? Management was very conservative and did not want to spend on these line items. I had stumbled onto TechCrunch and thought the world had changed. In my frustration at the lack of community efforts by GolfNow, I started Wallstrip.
Wallstrip sold before GolfNow and we could argue all day about nuances but I felt that in 2007, web properties were being bid up on community value than financial metrics. One could argue that in today’ startup world, network effects are where the real valuation power remains.
At Stocktwits, we have just begun to have line items for marketing, trade shows and advertising. We are starting our third year. It is scary to spend hard capital on advertising on marketing. To me SEO is a casino and so I am skeptical but it must work for some businesses. Radio seemed the silliest, but our audience is very easy to find and the initial radio tests brought in the most users for the dollars spent.
We are testing, not blowing our brains out. I will continue to report on the progress of our marketing and advertising efforts as we test and learn.
Most importantly, in the era of the web, one can’t underestimate the power of having the talent at the company that can create, deploy, test and measure your marketing and advertising efforts. The good news is the tools to do all this are at most start-ups fingertips.
PS – Here are Fred’s Posts and on from SEOmoz: