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Start-Up School 101: Lessons For Big Brands


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Big brands have a lot of things that they can learn from start-ups that have marketing budgets of zero and focus on engagement and community. These are some of the most important lessons.

Published in: Business, Technology

Start-Up School 101: Lessons For Big Brands

  1. 1. Start up school 101:Lessons for bigbrandsConfidential and Proprietary © 2012 Gravity Partners Ltd. 1
  2. 2. Digital networks - Except for how marketing & advertising agencies market products and build brands have changed everything
  3. 3. ...and Companies are struggling “ Marketing is a $450 Billion industry, and we ...mak[e] decisions with less data and discipline than we apply $100,000 decisions in other aspects of our business. Instead they repeat old plans, depend on TV, hand off the planning process and focus on reach rather than behavior and intent Peter Stengle GMO Procter & Gamble
  4. 4. Start Up School101
  5. 5. Successful start ups do things differently “ Earlier in your start up, you need to acquire your customers for free Fred Wilson Union Square Ventures
  6. 6. Thus requiring a completely different approachConfidential and Proprietary © 2012 Gravity Partners Ltd. 6
  7. 7. Lesson #1 -Focus on the value of every customer interaction
  8. 8. Since start-ups don’t have marketing budgets, theydon’t have to put focus on decreasing the cost ofcustomer acquisition .... move from traditional to experience-enabled marketing view marketing view decrease increase the cost the value of customer of each customer acquisition interaction
  9. 9. How would your businesschange tomorrow, if your call centre wasn’tconsidered a cost centrebut a relationship centre?
  10. 10. Lesson #2 -Build your organizational structure from the community out
  11. 11. Start-ups focus on community as their core blurring the lines between PR, customer care and marketing, allowing community managers to deal with all three Public Relations Community Engagement Customer Marketing Care
  12. 12. “ You don’t start communities. Communities already exist. They arealready doing what they want to do. Thequestion you should ask is how you can help them do that better Mark Zuckerberg CEO Facebook
  13. 13. If you helped and supported acommunity from the beginning rather than it being an after thought, howcould you work with that community to build your brand, products and services?
  14. 14. Lesson #3 -Don’t just build a product, build an ecosystem
  15. 15. Start-ups try to enable and facilitate ecosystems by encouraging the connections between customers, creating open API’s so others can help grow their systems, and watching for emergent opportunities on an on-going basisConfidential and Proprietary © 2012 Gravity Partners Ltd. 15
  16. 16. If you believed that you were actually part of an ecosystemrather than outside it or managing it, how would your organizational philosophy change?
  17. 17. Lesson #4 -Your customers are your creative team
  18. 18. Customer feedback, community forums, beta groups, behaviouraldata - given to you freely by the world’s least expensive creativeteam, your users
  19. 19. If you saw your customers as part of your creative team vs. an army of free word of mouth marketers, how would your advertising efforts change?
  20. 20. Lesson #5 -Make connections between people not products
  21. 21. Consider how your products and services could createconnections, not only to your products and services but betweenyour customers
  22. 22. oh and refer a friend?... doesn’t count
  23. 23. If your brand enabled connections between people, how could it leverage that knowledge and information to grow and nurturedeeper relationships with customers over time?
  24. 24. Lesson #6 -Getting it right is better than getting it
  25. 25. With community and customer at their core, successful start-upsfocus on the overall user experience above all
  26. 26. On dropbox’s popularity “ After I left Syncplicity, I ran into the CEO of Dropbox and asked him my burning question: "Why dont you support multi-folder synchronization?" His answer was classic Dropbox. They built multi-folder support early on and did limited beta testing with it, but they couldnt get the UI right. It confused people and created too many questions. It was too hard for the average consumer to setup. So it got shelved. Issac Hall CEO of Simplicity - a Dropbox Competitor source: now deleted comment from Quora
  27. 27. We only use about 10% of our brain,and funnily enough, we tend to onlyuse 10% of features built into most software. What if we only focusedon being brilliant with the top 10% ?
  28. 28. Lesson #7 -Make people happy
  29. 29. It sounds almost too simple – make people happy – but if youhave them engaged, if they feel they are being listened to and ifyou focus on the things that make what they are doingseamlessly easy, they will be happy
  30. 30. On why Wesabe lost to Mint “ Mint focused on the user doing almost no work at all...and giving them immediate gratification whenever they could... Instead, I prioritized trying to build tools that would eventually help people change their financial behavior for the better....Changing people’s behavior is really hard  Mark Hedlund Founder Wesabe Source:
  31. 31. What if happiness was part of your business model?
  32. 32. Lesson #8 -Focus
  33. 33. Trying to be all things to all peoplemeans you end up being nothing to anybody.Facebook didn’t start as the social network for everyone, it was the social network for people with addresses
  34. 34. How much focus does your organization have? How wouldthings change if you didn’t try to be all things to all people and instead you were brilliant for key groups?
  35. 35. Lesson #9 -Everything you (think) you know is a hypothesis
  36. 36. There is an overwhelming desire to ‘have all the answers ’ at bigorganizations. Start-ups are often a best guess and ‘beta it and see’ cultures. It opens themselves to emergent opportunities on an on- going basis
  37. 37. “ The two fatal guesses for startups on day one is….I know what the customer problem is, I know what to build Steve Blank Author & Entrepreneur
  38. 38. What would change if youaccepted that you don’t have all the answers? What kinds ofprocesses and people would youneed to be open to the constant possibility of change?
  39. 39. Lesson #10 -Culture drives everything
  40. 40. Many VC’s and entrepreneurs don’t put much stock in the concept ofbrand. But some of them are the bestat building them. Why? they focus on creating culture at the heart of their DNA. It starts with Founders vision and is built one decision at a time.
  41. 41. “ The culture of a company informs every decision that a business makes. Once that culture takes root --- its values, folklore, principles, savoir-faire, style, manners, consideration, work ethic --- every decision thereafter is colored by that culture JLM Entrepreneur & AVC Community Member Source: entrepreneurs.html#comment-195329057
  42. 42. How would you characterize yourcorporate culture? Do you believe it supports where you want to go as an organization and brand?
  43. 43. The Recap 1. Focus on the value of 6. Getting it right it better every customer interaction then getting it 2. Build your organizational 7. Make people happy structure from the community out 8. Focus 3. Don’t create products, 9. Everything you (think) you create ecosystems know is a hypothesis 4. Your customers are your 10. Culture drives everything creative team 5. Make connections between people not products
  44. 44. Final thought “ A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding Marshall McLuhan Media Theorist
  45. 45. The start of something that changes