It blows my mind that founders still equate marketing with advertising. But then, once I’ve calmed down, I remember. I used to think that way too.
If all you’ve ever done is build stuff (or perform an operational role at an established company) you tend to assume that the product is the starting point…
Tell some friends and they’ll tell their friends. (How could they resist?)
Next, go and ‘market’ your product, i.e. buy some ads.
Once your product has gone viral, topped-up by ads, you’ll be get funded by a VC.
With the VC money, you can ramp up your ‘marketing’ by hiring a PR company to do it all for you.
Light the touch paper, stand back and watch the money roll in. Right?
Sorry but no. It doesn’t work that way.
It makes my head hurt. Putting myself into my old mindset, and that of so many founders.
The fact is that without marketing, you won’t build the right product in the first place, no-one will know about your product (even in the unlikely event you guessed correctly what to build), no-one will use your product, no-one will refer your product, no-one will buy your product, you’ll get no funding and have no revenue.
Without marketing, the most you’ll have is an expensive hobby, not a business.
David Bailey reflects on his own failures to start marketing early enough and 5 startup marketing myths:
Myth 1 – Just focussing on building awesome products for users is enough
Myth 2 – Marketing starts after launch
Myth 3 – The key to marketing is finding the right mix of hacks: growth hacking
Myth 4 – Marketing too soon is deadly
Myth 5 – Communicating a product effectively requires an exhaustive knowledge of the product and business model
As David says: Marketing starts “from day 1. Not after launch. Not during some PR campaign. Every day. Building a great product is hard. Great marketing is hard too. And you absolutely need both in order to win.”
Image: A Syn
Inbound in 2017
HubSport CEO, Brian Halligan along with his co-founder coined the term inbound marketing. You know, whereby you set things up so that potential customers come to you. He’s notes how the game has changed and recommends founders and marketers do these things in 2017: 1) Invest in video, 2) Be social: forget B2B vs B2C, businesses sell to humans, 3) Accelerate your content with paid marketing, 4) “Buyers expect to be able to buy on their timeline with either minimal or no human contact.” Yes, what used to be called B2B included. Let them.
2016 SaaS Round-up
I was going to do a 2016 round-up on SaaS in 2016 but then I came across this from Hiten Shah. He groups them into several themes: 1) SaaS is more crowded than ever, but you can still grow fast, 2) It’s all about the customer, 3) Self-funded SaaS is being created for every niche, 4) Technical knowledge about SaaS businesses is widely available for free, 5) People have been sharing more about what’s coming next in SaaS.
Start with the Exit
Steve Little suggests that focussing purely on revenue growth does not optimise for exit value. He makes the point that by exploring exit options and priorities we’ll end up with a higher company valuation. Makes sense. Maybe something to factor in to 2017 goal and priority setting.
European VC changes in 2016
Yannick Roux surveys the 2016 European VC scene and extrapolates a positive 2017. 1) 33% more capital raised, 2) More late stage capital, 3) More new funds and new money being reinvested than ever, 4) More specialised funds offering the prospect of better-fit capital and support, 5) More capital being invested in more countries outside of just UK and Germany. 6) “At least 26 out of 68 funds (38% by number and 45% by value) announced in 2016 had a national or European governmental institution as a LP.” Good news all round.
Premature Seed Funding
Many startups rush to get seed funding ASAP. Hunter Walk explains why this can be a big mistake.
VC funding is not right for every startup. Ben Jorgensen walks us through a bunch of alternative ways of raising money for your startup.
Retail Banking in 2017
The Financial Brand collected insight into strategic priorities from over 900 organisations. In descending order of importance: 1) Removing Friction from the Customer Journey, 2) Use of Data, AI and Advanced Analytics, 3) Supporting Integrated Multichannel Delivery, 4) Testing Open Banking APIs, 5) Partnerships Between Banking and Fintech, 6) Expansion of Digital Payments, 7) Responding to Regulatory Changes, 8) Exploring Advanced Technologies, 9) Emergence of Challenger Banks, 10) Investment in Innovation. MUST READ
Top Financial Services Issues for 2017
pwc sum up their findings: “The competitors facing asset and wealth managers, banks, and insurance companies aren’t who we thought they were. Emerging technology presents incredible opportunities—for someone else. And change is fast. The customers seem to be changing their minds about what they value most.” Their top-5 are: 1) Artificial intelligence, 2) Blockchain, 3) Brexit uncertainty, 4) Competition from nontraditional market players, 5) Cost containment. MUST READ
William H. Janeway explains the trilemma whereby, “If we want to push globalization further, we have to give up either the nation state or democratic politics. If we want to maintain and deepen democracy, we have to choose between the nation state and international economic integration. And if we want to keep the nation state and self-determination. we have to choose between deepening democracy and deepening globalization…” BRILLIANT
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