Startups: Managing the Company & Marketing

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I gave a talk at the December Seattle Tech Startups event. The talk was on: Analysing your business model, fund raising, managing a company, and how marketing is handled in a startup.

The video is here:

Slide Deck:

Dave McClure has the master slide deck on marketing for Startups:

I have built the “10x” philosophy by liberally copying the work of Guy Kawasaki’s ‘Art of the Start‘ book, Positioning work in marketing, Branding work in marketing, and Seth Godin’s book ‘The Purple Cow‘.

Here are the higher level points I would make between my slides and Dave’s slides.

Point #1: CPC Marketing is a Base-Line
CPC gives you a) Qualified visitors, b) A reasonably low cost, and c) traffic at scale. Trying to acquire customers less expensively will often cause a problem in the scale of the traffic, the visitors not being qualified, or require too much human labor to accomplish.

Point #2: Business Model Planning
When you are planning a business model for a concept of a company, use CPC as a guideline. If you can be profitable with CPC costs, then that will be your marketing solution. (Until later when you can slowly build out alternatives)

Most B2C companies need a much lower CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) than CPC can provide. The impact is that when going into such a business, the founders should worry heavily on how they will acquire the quantity of customers at the CAC levels need to make a profitable business.

Point #3: SEO
In my model, SEO is part of organic traffic. SEO for most companies has a ceiling. All companies should get as much milage out of SEO as possible, but after a while you are likely to reach a ceiling. It can’t be scaled on demand to solve all customer acquisition needs.

Point #4: Viral, Widgets, etc.
Some companies try these advanced methods. These are a long shot for them to make up the bulk of acquiring customers. It is great for the few companies that can make these work.

Point #5: Email Nurture Campaigns
Email Nurture campaigns are very important. Often free accounts will convert into paying accounts after an email nurture campaign in month two or three. All marketing (especially CPC) should use these campaigns to close sales from their marketing spend.

Point #6: Small & Early Startups
Dave McClure’s slide deck will show every possible method of marketing. Companies that are small and early often don’t have one or more dedicated people who can perform these extensive marketing campaigns. These companies should see CPC plus email nurture campaigns as their mostly automated marketing solution. This will enable them to focus on the product and serving their customers. It will also give them scale as long as the business model supports the CPC acquisition costs.

I could give another entire talk on marketing, however the above points are a good summary for very small companies who don’t have the people to do the full range of Dave McClure marketing.

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