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Creating & Implementing a Web 2.0 Marketing Plan (Sean Ellis, Startonomics SF 2008)


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Presentation by Sean Ellis,, on how to create & implement marketing plans, channels & campaigns for consumer internet marketing startups.

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Creating & Implementing a Web 2.0 Marketing Plan (Sean Ellis, Startonomics SF 2008)

  1. Web 2.0 Startup Marketing Plan Planning for the Most Important Marketing Execution in the Life of Your Startup Sean Ellis Go To Market Advisor for Startups Email: sean (at) Blog:
  2. This Plan Has Evolved Over 5 Startups And it’s a work in progress that will continue to evolve. Startup When My Role Description Stage Uproar 1996 - 2001 VP Marketing Leader Online Games NASDAQ IPO in 2000, Acquired by Vivendi Universal LogMeIn 2003 - 2008 VP Marketing Leader Remote PC Access Filed for NASDAQ IPO in Jan 2008 Xobni Jan 2008 - Current VP Marketing Interim, Advisor Leader Email Contact Profiles VC (A) – Khosla Ventures, FRC Eventbrite Aug 2008 - Current Go To Market Advisor Event management VC (A) – European Founders’ Fund Dropbox Sep 2008 - Current Go To Market Advisor Virtual Drive VC (seed) - Sequoia
  3. Format is Like Most Marketing Plans 1) Situation Analysis: Discover Users & Metrics 3) Projections: Budget, Team, Sales 2) Marketing Strategy: Sync across company But early stage startups require more discovery and experimentation
  4. Situation Analysis: Check Assumptions Discovery - Interview/survey prospects frequently to validate or refine assumptions. Solutions Comparison Problem Message That Motivates Target Users with $
  5. Situation Analysis: Key Metrics <ul><li>Most important metrics  Allowable Acquisition Cost </li></ul>Lifetime Value Allowable Acq. Cost <ul><li>Other important metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit-to-registration rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Or visit to download rate) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Registration-to-trial rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trial-to-transaction rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average transaction size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transactions per customer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Months per subscriber </li></ul></ul>Lifetime value must exceed acquisition cost
  6. Strategy: Get Free Users Early <ul><li>Start early with free marketing channels </li></ul><ul><li>SEO (self), blog, beta sites, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop viral features </li></ul>Acquiring users for free is definitely within the allowable acquisition cost Early user flow essential for discovery and optimization.
  7. Strategy: Optimize Biz Economics Increase size and frequency of transactions 30% 8% <ul><li>Increase funnel conversion rates </li></ul><ul><li>Visit-to-trials </li></ul><ul><li>Trial-to-transaction </li></ul><ul><li>Expands viable paid marketing options </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces adoption barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases allowable acquisition costs </li></ul></ul>
  8. Strategy: Now Start Testing Paid Channels <ul><li>Test paid channels and optimize individual funnels </li></ul><ul><li>PR : Great for “innovators” </li></ul><ul><li>Demand harvesting channels (great for “disruptors”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create unique onramps for each usage and user type </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEM, directories </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Demand creation last (challenging and expensive) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get ideas by monitoring competitors and overall trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Widgets, webcasts, sponsorships, banners, radio, trade shows </li></ul></ul>Test user acquisition channels most likely to have easy, positive ROI first (start with lowest hanging fruit )
  9. Strategy: Demand Creation Sequence <ul><li>For demand creation, start with target that is motivated to try and buy solution as is </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronize targets with sales and product teams </li></ul> Target Message New feature needed Begin targeting Market Segment 1 Message 1 N/A Start Oct 2008 Market Segment 2 Message 2 Feature 1 Start Feb 2009 Market Segment 3 Message 3 Feature 2 Start May 2009
  10. Strategy: Dave’s Recommended Channels Dave McClure has some great slides on acquisition channels worth revisiting.
  11. Dave’s Other Great Slide on Channels
  12. Projections: Planning Budget <ul><li>Start Spending to Discover and Optimize </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with many small test buys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize or cut money losers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Later focus most budget on proven ROI campaigns </li></ul>But reserve at least 20% of budget for tests each month.
  13. Projections: Budget For Max ROI Spend <ul><li>Budget for highest realistic positive ROI spend </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spend below budget if not enough testing opportunities and scalability in proven channels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scale beyond budget if proven channels can scale beyond current budget </li></ul></ul>During planning, agree with CEO on process for increasing budget and need for flexibility
  14. Projections: Hire for Faster Testing <ul><li>Hire to increase velocity of tests </li></ul><ul><li>Hire to fill bottlenecks that slow testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early marketing roles to consider: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Web Designer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Copywriter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Data Analyst </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Database Analyst </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SEM specialist </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Product Marketing Director </li></ul></ul></ul>Don’t try to hire someone to “figure things out”
  15. Projections: User/Sales Growth <ul><li>Build initial user/sales growth projections based on planned budget and metric assumptions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial projections are always inaccurate because no historical data to model. </li></ul></ul>Predictable growth begins when 80% of budget focused on proven ROI campaigns
  16. What to Take Away <ul><li>Discover who needs it and why </li></ul><ul><li>Track your key metrics early </li></ul><ul><li>Optimize business economics early </li></ul><ul><li>Micro test customer acquisition channels </li></ul>Sean Ellis Go To Market Advisor for Startups Email: sean (at)