Lean Marketing for Early Stage Startups - lecture for Technion BizTec Entrepreneurship Competition

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What are the typical mistakes technology startups make, and how can you avoid them? This and more are discussed in this lecture presented to nearly 100 students and faculty members at the Haifa Technion as part of the BizTec Entrepreneurship Competition BizSchool seriers.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance

Lean Marketing for Early Stage Startups - lecture for Technion BizTec Entrepreneurship Competition

  1. 1. Lean Marketing for Early Phase Start-ups Rebecca Steinberg Herson Presented to: BizTec Entrepreneurship Competition April 30, 2012 www.theleanmarketer.com Copyright © 2012 Rebecca Steinberg Herson 1
  2. 2. A bit about me• Led global marketing for over a decade in tech companies & non-profits• 3 high-growth Deloitte Fast 50 companies• Primarily B2B, some B2C• Today: principal at The Lean Marketer, providing outsourced CMO services• Fan of the Boston Red Sox & Celtics www.theleanmarketer.com 2
  3. 3. So this is marketing… www.theleanmarketer.com 3
  4. 4. Our ambitious agenda• Getting to know your potential customers• Getting to know your industry ecosystem• Lean product management• Segmenting your market• Defining your message• Increasing your influence• Calls to action• Promotion• Identifying what’s working (calculating ROI) www.theleanmarketer.com 4
  5. 5. Getting to Know your (potential) CustomersYOUR SOLUTION SOLVES A PAIN.WHO SUFFERS FROM THIS PAIN? www.theleanmarketer.com 5
  6. 6. Your Customer is Not You www.theleanmarketer.com 6
  7. 7. How to get to know your customer • Old days – Focus Groups – Phone surveys – Analyst Reports – Trade Shows  Today www.theleanmarketer.com 7
  8. 8. Market Surveys • Use surveys to – test product ideas – confirm your instincts – refine your message – discover new potential customers • Google docs - its completely free – Can be edited collaboratively (whoever you allow) – Lots of available designs, or embed in your own web page or blog • LinkedIn Polls – Survey your own network for free – Survey specific demographics for a fee (~$1/response) www.theleanmarketer.com 8
  9. 9. How to get people to fill out the surveys• Post on groups, update your status, tweet, repeat• Beg your friends and beg them to beg their friends• Incentivize them – free ipod/amazon gift certificate/ coffee with the founders… – early access to your beta• Reach out personally – you can send a message to anyone LinkedIn member in the same group as you – Inmail also works but has to be very enticing www.theleanmarketer.com 9
  10. 10. Paid Survey Audience Solutions• B2B: – http://www.thinkspeed.com/ $3 - 5K/ survey depending on the audience• B2C: – SurveyMonkey Audience http://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/audience/ – $3.00 per finished response for standard demographics (gender, age, income, education, employment, location. Requires professional plan (~$20/month) www.theleanmarketer.com 10
  11. 11. Some results from our survey 11 8 14 www.theleanmarketer.com 11
  12. 12. IDENTIFY 3 QUESTIONS TO SURVEY YOURPOTENTIAL CUSTOMERS IN ORDER TO ACHIEVEBETTER PRODUCT-MARKET FIT www.theleanmarketer.com 12
  13. 13. Don’t forget, polar bears can be sneakyEXPLORE YOUR ENVIRONMENT www.theleanmarketer.com 13
  14. 14. Your Environment• Narrow it down to the relevant: – Sales Prospects TechCrunch Disrupt is – Competitors not the relevant – Potential Partners – Journalists/bloggers launchpad for every – Industry analysts startup – Marketing channels  – Industry events – Etc. www.theleanmarketer.com 14
  15. 15. Free tools for Web research• Identify industry events, active companies, potential partners, competitors http://www.google.com • Identify market trends over time, estimate potential volume and geographies http://www.google.com/insights/search/• Estimate traffic volume, cost of acquisition, find related keywords https://adwords.google.co.il/o/KeywordTool• Identify your competitors keywords: http://www.keywordspy.com/• Get your questions answered: http://www.quora.com/ www.theleanmarketer.com 15
  16. 16. Don’t Know? Post a Q on Quora www.theleanmarketer.com www.theleanmarketer.com 16
  17. 17. Jump in to Social Media www.theleanmarketer.com 17
  18. 18. Identify key people in your industry• Search Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook for relevant people, groups, comments, companies• Follow, read their tweets, check their blogs• Retweet relevant content – people appreciate it and it builds your credibility• Tweet your own thoughts – be authentic• Join relevant groups on LinkedIn, Facebook• “Lurk” for a while before you jump in – think cocktail party• Then, start discussions (LinkedIn)• Correspond with people who enter the discussion• DM influencers (Twitter)• Reach out to people – they are people, and most want to help Become part of the conversation www.theleanmarketer.com 18
  19. 19. Learning @ LinkedIn www.theleanmarketer.com 19
  20. 20. Copyright (c) 2010 Rebecca Steinberg www.theleanmarketer.com 20 Herson
  21. 21. Copyright (c) 2010 Rebecca Steinberg www.theleanmarketer.com 21 Herson
  22. 22. Trade Shows – a concentrated learningtool• If you attend, do your homework• Check on twitter what people are saying about the event, tweetups planned• Review all the exhibitors and speakers – who do you want to talk to? Do you want to meet the exhibitors or the attendees?• Most of the people in the booths are sales reps – is that who will be most useful for you? Some companies also send executives, but they don’t hang around waiting for visitors; you need to book an appointment• The Press are also there. Don’t bother with them unless you already have a customer they can talk to• Look up the people you want to meet on LinkedIn and memorize what they look like – you just might run into them in a hotel lobby www.theleanmarketer.com 22
  23. 23. IDENTIFY 3 PLACES (ONLINE OR OFFLINE) THATWILL HELP YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT YOURENVIRONMENT (COMPETITORS, CHANNELS…) www.theleanmarketer.com 23
  24. 24. LEAN PRODUCT MANAGEMENT www.theleanmarketer.com 24
  25. 25. Test Early and OftenThere is no substitute for watching real people try (and fail) to use your product www.theleanmarketer.com 25
  26. 26. Testing Tools• Your brain• All the survey & social networking tools mentioned earlier• http://pickfu.com - $10 for 50 opinions – Use for A/B testing – Gauge popular opinion – Determine consumer preference – Predict consumer behavior www.theleanmarketer.com www.theleanmarketer.com 26
  27. 27. WHAT ARE 3 LEAN TESTS YOU CAN RUNBEFORE YOU RELEASE BETA? www.theleanmarketer.com 27
  28. 28. SEGMENTING TARGET MARKETS www.theleanmarketer.com 28
  29. 29. Identify your ideal customer(s)Build marketing personas• Customer company size / end-user demographic• Vertical industry – finance, medical, retail, automotive, etc.• Geographic location• Who is my potential buyer? What is his/her job title?• Who are my influencers? What are their job titles?• What is the total addressable market?• Who competes in this market already? www.theleanmarketer.com 29
  30. 30. Segmenting the market• Different segments will require different marketing strategies• May require slightly different product features• Try to limit yourself to the quickest acting segment at first – for first customers• Later, focus on the most profitable segment www.theleanmarketer.com 30
  31. 31. WHO SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST TARGETSEGMENT? WHAT CHARACTERIZES THEM? www.theleanmarketer.com 31
  32. 32. DEFINING YOUR MESSAGE www.theleanmarketer.com 32
  33. 33. Value Proposition, Elevator Pitch• The unique value you offer to your customers• Boil it down into a very short, medium and long statement• Literally try saying it in the elevator – it’s hard• Test it out on others, especially outside your company• Polish this before you start officially promoting, to maintain consistency www.theleanmarketer.com 33
  34. 34. Elevator Pitch TemplateFrom: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/30/startups-give-us-your-best-one-sentence-pitch/ www.theleanmarketer.com 34
  35. 35. WHO IS YOUR (INITIAL) TARGET AUDIENCE?WHAT PROBLEM DO YOU HELP THEM SOLVE? www.theleanmarketer.com 35
  36. 36. INCREASING YOUR INFLUENCE www.theleanmarketer.com 36
  37. 37. Why you need a blog (or FB Page, or Vlog,or Tumblr, or Twitter feed, or…)• It’s the second thing people will look at when they want to understand you and your company• (the first is your LinkedIn profile)• Great for SEO• It becomes your own media channel - who needs ComputerWorld anymore?• Gives you more credibility with the mainstream media – you can become a source for them• Gives you something to tweet, for people to retweet, and for them to comment on – gets you into the conversation• Of course, you need to have something to say www.theleanmarketer.com 37
  38. 38. Start your blog (or X…)• Blog can be your own personal blog, that is, if you have enough to say on your own• If you open a company blog, you will have more options for contributors• Facebook pages have lots of blog-ish options; main drawback: not searchable• Be authentic• Talk about issues in the industry• Comment on newsworthy items• Offer advice• Blog at least 2 months before you want to publicize it – This ensures you know what you’re getting into and can maintain it – You will have archived content from day 1• If you’re vlogging, include keyword-heavy descriptions for each video• Include CALLS TO ACTION in your blog or near your posts• Don’t know what to write about? http://blog.kissmetrics.com/topic-generation-machine/ www.theleanmarketer.com 38
  39. 39. THINK OF 5 IDEAS YOU CANBLOG/VLOG/TWEET ABOUT www.theleanmarketer.com 39
  40. 40. THE CALL TO ACTION www.theleanmarketer.com 40
  41. 41. Calls To Action• Sign up for our newsletter• Visit our web site• Download this white paper• Enter this contest• Meet us at this event• What do you think about X? Tell us in the comments• Register for our free version• View this webinar• Answer our survey• Call our hotline… operators standing by• BUY!!! www.theleanmarketer.com 41
  42. 42. www.theleanmarketer.com 42
  43. 43. www.theleanmarketer.comwww.theleanmarketer.com 43
  44. 44. www.theleanmarketer.com 44
  45. 45. WHAT ARE 5 DIFFERENT CALLS TO ACTION YOUCAN USE TO MARKET YOUR SOLUTION? www.theleanmarketer.com 45
  46. 46. MARKETING PROMOTION www.theleanmarketer.com 46
  47. 47. Promotion Social Networking MIT Sloane School Marketing Management Course Lecture www.theleanmarketer.com 47
  48. 48. Public Relations• Keep track of articles that cover your industry – these are most likely the journalists you will want to contact when the time comes• Journalists look for newsworthy stories: – Timely – Conflict – Unexpected – Meaningful• Craft your “pitch” based on what you’ve learned about the journalist – what kinds of stories does s/he write?• Try for the less obvious publications – you may find coverage easier to achieve www.theleanmarketer.com 48
  49. 49. Trade Shows/ Conferences • You don’t necessarily have to exhibit (expensive!!) – try visiting the first time, and making appointments – great research tool • Apply for speaking engagements even if you don’t exhibit • Check with the organizers if they have any matching-type services to bring relevant people to you • Request the press list in advance and reach out to relevant journalists before you get there • Tweet that you’re going; update your LinkedIn profile; Facebook • Don’t expect the relevant leads to show up just because you are there. You need to make the meeting happen. www.theleanmarketer.com 49
  50. 50. HOW TO KNOW WHAT’S WORKING (ROI) www.theleanmarketer.com 50
  51. 51. How to Measure What’s Working?• SALES (of course)• What if you’re not selling? Divide your pipeline into specific stages, and track opportunities as they progress Traditional Enterprise Product: Social/ SaaS: 1-Qualified suspect – meets our 1-free trial registrant criteria 2-spent time on site/app 2-Initiated contact 3-populated personal profile 3-Interest expressed – potential 4-asked support question opportunity identified … … 8-signed up for 1 month paid 9-Verbal commitment to purchase 9-Renewed for 1 year paid Closed Won Closed Lost Stalled/Postponed www.theleanmarketer.com 51
  52. 52. Sample Pipeline by Lead Source 14 12 Trade Show London 10 Twitter 8 6 Google Ads 4 Webinar 2 Articles 0 Stage Stage Stage Stage Sold 6 7 8 9 www.theleanmarketer.com 52
  53. 53. Measuring Conversion Rate 4700 Email blast sent 1175 Invitations Opened 25% open rate 94 Unique page views 2% of invited 41 Respondents 44% page conversion 58 Attendees Attendees > respondents indicates WOM www.theleanmarketer.com 53
  54. 54. Iterate, Iterate and Iterate Again• Build in feedback models – A-B testing – Track opens, clicks, event attendance, registrations, etc.• Do it better the next time• Adjust your message• Adjust your demo• Adjust your home page• Adjust your marketing channel• Try to improve the # of leads coming into the funnel• Track and improve your conversion rate at every step in the funnel www.theleanmarketer.com 54
  55. 55. WHAT SALES STAGES ARE MEANINGFULFOR MY BUSINESS? www.theleanmarketer.com 55
  56. 56. That first (second or third) customer• Revenue is important, but in the early stage these are even more important:• Feedback that can help improve the product• Testimonial - a customer approves a quote for your web site or other marketing materials – “This product is great because it solves such & such problem…”• Case study – customer goes on the record with before/ after data and quotes• Reference – customer agrees to talk to other potential customers, journalists or analysts about how great you are www.theleanmarketer.com 56
  57. 57. Useful Marketing Resourceshttp://theleanmarketer.commarketing resource list in right column, scroll downHighly recommended reading: www.theleanmarketer.com 57
  58. 58. Thank You! Rebecca Steinberg Herson rebecca@theleanmarketer.com +972-54-444-2372http://il.linkedin.com/in/rebeccaherson www.theleanmarketer.com 58

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