3 things we've learned doing marketing for over 50 startups

Hope your New Year has started off with a bang! We've learned a lot about how companies grow in the 2+ years we've been executing digital marketing campaigns for our clients. As you start dialing up your marketing efforts this year, we wanted to send a couple brief notes on what we've learned.

1) Marketing debt accumulates

You may have heard of "technical debt", and "marketing debt" is very similar. In web development, the idea is that every additional line of code compounds the challenge of changing directions. Sales efforts, for example, don't really have this quality. Make a mistake in a sales meeting, this likely won't impact the next meeting. But marketing debt accumulates like technical debt. Spend the time and money needed to build the right foundations (or re-build). Early decisions can have compounding (both positive and negative) effects.

2) Establish your brand first, then move to strategy (prioritization), then tactics

This is primarily for early stage businesses. It's important that you don't start executing on new marketing initiatives before nailing down your mission/brand and how this is presented to customers. What does your ideal customer look like? What drives them? Why does your company exist? Does your visual identity reflect these things? Does your copy? Then strategize. How much money do you have to execute? In what sequence should you do things? Finally you can determine the tactics needed to move forward. Almost every successful company we see is driven by mission. Consumers (both B2C and B2B) can sense a company that isn't.

3) If your team is small and doesn’t have expertise, focus on one or two channels

If you have the resources to take on everything, certainly do it. Customers are multi-channel and need to be exposed to your brand in multiple places (social, press, email, blogs, adwords, etc). That said, if you’re a small team and don’t have expertise on your team, just focus on one or two of these for now. Trying to do all of it will mean doing none of it well. Focus and effort will get you 90% of the way there in one channel and can drive results. 40% work across 4-5 channels won’t get you anywhere. If you want help determining which channels to really focus on, send me an email, and I'm happy to help you strategize.