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Startup Marketing: Rules for Revolutionaries


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TiECON Midwest Conference
Ritz Carlton - Dearborn, MI
October 23, 2009

Published in: Technology, Business
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Startup Marketing: Rules for Revolutionaries

  1. 1. Startup Marketing: Rules for Revolutionaries Michael Gaiss Senior Vice President [email_address] Twitter: @MichaelGaiss
  2. 2. Workshop Agenda <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Frame of Reference </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology Startup Stages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Old School versus The Digital World </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Startup Marketing “Rules” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More like suggestions on how to approach things </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Nasdaq: VPRT $120,200,000 Internet-based printing $295,000,000 Acquired by Lucent Switching equipment   Acquired by Staples Specialty retailer Nasdaq: ODSY $54,000,000 Hospice care provider  $355,000,000 Acquired by Tellabs Optical access solutions  Nasdaq: NXCD $120,000,000 Online credit provider  $5,400,000,000 Acquired by Terra Networks Global internet network     Nasdaq: LULU $32,760,000 Specialty apparel retailer Nasdaq: CKFR $86,4000,000 Electronic bill pay systems   Nasdaq: BFRE $67,200,000 Performance-based online marketing Nasdaq: AVID $56,000,000 Video editing systems Nasdaq: ASKJ $42,000,000 Online Search  $567,000,000 Acquired by Cisco Systems Broadband VPN solutions Nasdaq: CONR $78,000,000 Acquired by J&J for $1.4B Drug eluting stents Nasdaq: EXAS $65,000,000 Genomics-based technologies  Nasdaq: HLCS $48,600,000 Developer of instruments for DNA sequencing  $1,100,000,000 Acquired by AOL Advanced mapping solution Nasdaq: SYBS $49,600,000 Relational database management software $325,000,000 Acquired by Cisco Systems Web-enabled call center Nasdaq: STAR $126,000,000 Infrastructure Products
  4. 4. My Background <ul><li>Highland Capital Partners (since 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Various Tech Companies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gentia Software/Planning Sciences (Boston/UK) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IQ Software (Atlanta) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unisys (Minneapolis, New Zealand, Blue Bell, PA) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>University of Michigan (Engineering) </li></ul><ul><li>University of St. Thomas (MBA) </li></ul><ul><li>TiE-Boston Charter Member </li></ul>
  5. 5. Technology Startup Stages <ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key element is creating the basic value proposition and testing it in the market </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key element is product development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business focus is researching potential market opportunity to refine the business model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product is raw but customers are using it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Early </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key element is market adoption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proving that customer are willing to use and pay for your products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business focus is sales & marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whole product is complete </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key element is scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business focus is accelerating market adoption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product line extensions to address new market opportunities </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Changing Paradigm Communities Target Audience Powerful Networks Powerful Media Real Time Deadlines People & Relationships Institutions Build Community Tell Your Audience Informal & Conversational Formal & Instructive Influence & Persuade Command & Control Advocate Preach Engage & Participate Transmit The Digital World Old School
  7. 7. Startup Marketing “Rules” <ul><li>Immerse Yourself in the “Flow” of Your Industry </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace Thought Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Get Creative for Early Customer Access </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a (Far) Superior Online Presence </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Media Relations to Project Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Harness Word-of-Mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Scale Smartly </li></ul>
  8. 8. 1. Immerse Yourself in the Flow Immerse Yourself
  9. 9. Immerse Yourself
  10. 10. Google Alerts Immerse Yourself
  11. 11. Google Reader Immerse Yourself
  12. 12. TweetDeck Immerse Yourself
  13. 13. 2. Embrace Thought Leadership A thought leader is a person/organization that is recognized among peers and the industry for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights. A distinguishing characteristic of a thought leader is “the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader marketplace in which it operates.” Thought Leadership
  14. 14. The Real Opportunity <ul><li>Intellectual capital that distinguishes your position as a knowledge resource and subject matter expert </li></ul><ul><li>Point-of-view platforms to shape and influence market perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Objective is to ultimately establish yourself as a trusted client advisor </li></ul><ul><li>IMPORTANT NOTE - Being a thought leader requires that you have actual leading thinkers in your organization. </li></ul>Turn your organization activity (your content development and deployment strategy) into: Thought Leadership
  15. 15. How to Accomplish? <ul><li>Establish a differentiated and compelling position </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s your vision, perspective and insight? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it relevant, knowledgeable, compelling, provocative & unique? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it deliver value to your marketplace? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Package into messaging, content & points-of-view (POV) </li></ul><ul><li>Engage the industry “influencers” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Industry analysts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Partners </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Incorporate feedback, refine and build buy-in </li></ul><ul><li>Articulate and further communicate it </li></ul>Thought Leadership
  16. 16. Thought Leadership
  17. 17. 3. Get Creative for Early Customer Access <ul><li>Relentlessly work assets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Board of Directors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential Investors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Network contacts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stack the deck </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product Advisory Councils </li></ul></ul>Early Customer Access
  18. 18. <ul><li>Product definition well defined but 9 months from going live </li></ul><ul><li>Brought on inside sales person to validate their assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Established Product Advisory Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Walked through value proposition, pitch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicited feedback and input </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Signed up nearly 1,000 members </li></ul><ul><li>Primed the sales pump </li></ul>Early Customer Access
  19. 19. 4. Establish a (Far) Superior Online Presence <ul><li>Smart website architecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content management system (CMS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Database management system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Professional look-and-feel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look like the “big guys” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Own the “Golden Triangle” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compelling content strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO, SEM, Social Media </li></ul></ul>Online Presence
  20. 20. What’s the “Golden Triangle”? Pay Per Click ($$$) Natural (Free) Stats - 85% click on “natural” (unpaid) results - 72% of searchers click on the first link of interest - 25.5% read all listings first, then decide - Position 7-10 in natural listings = top 4 PPC slots on the right hand side of the page Online Presence
  21. 21. Compelling Content Strategy <ul><li>Content is “King” </li></ul><ul><li>Create highly relevant site content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thought pieces / White Papers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News & articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer case studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts/Videos/Webinars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs – under right conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Offer value that draws visitors </li></ul>Online Presence
  22. 22. Exploit the Architecture of the Internet <ul><li>On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Title Tags, Meta Description, Keywords </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant Body Content with keywords worked in </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Add Headings Tags, ALT text to images </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Off-Page SEO </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linking strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directories </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Marketing (SEM) </li></ul>Am I present everywhere people discuss my industry? Online Presence
  23. 23. SEO & SEM All Starts with Keyword Optimization <ul><li>Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm from messaging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant to your target markets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Analytics (how are people currently find you) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive analysis (meta keywords tags) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Selecting keyword phrases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search volume (goal = high) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance (goal = high) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competition (goal = low) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Types </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Core competitive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Long-tail keywords </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Segment into multiple lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Primary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary </li></ul></ul></ul>Online Presence
  24. 24. On-Page SEO Techniques <ul><li>Title Tags – HTML element that displays the title of a web page in your web browser and in the search results. </li></ul><ul><li>Meta Description – HTML element that summarizes the content of your web page and enforces your marketing message. </li></ul>Source: Todd Friesen Online Presence
  25. 25. On-Page SEO Techniques <ul><li>Body Content – must be readable and contain your key phrases. </li></ul><ul><li>ALT Tags – HTML element describes images in the page. Alt tags boost relevancy as well as provide a new avenue of traffic from image searches. </li></ul>Source: Todd Friesen Online Presence
  26. 26. On-Page SEO Techniques <ul><li>Heading Tags – an HTML element that provides structure and tells search engines which parts of your page are most important. </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Linking – proper linking leads to better indexing. Using your keywords in your internal links helps boost relevancy. </li></ul>Source: Todd Friesen Online Presence
  27. 27. Off-Page SEO Linking Strategies <ul><li>Competitive Intelligence – Analyze the backlinks of your competitors. Try to get links from the same sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google/MSN Search: “” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Submit to Quality General Directories </li></ul><ul><li>Submit to Verticals/Topical Guides </li></ul><ul><li>Search Ad Networks – AdBrite, AdWords, Blog Ads, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Blogs and RSS – Google loves blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Create Podcasts/Screencasts – Bloggers love posting them </li></ul><ul><li>Buy Text Links – But be careful. Google doesn’t like it </li></ul>Source: Todd Friesen Online Presence
  28. 28. HubSpot’s WebSite Grader Online Presence
  29. 29. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Paid Search Organic Online Presence
  30. 30. SEM Process Define Your Goals <ul><li>Campaign Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campaign Structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Match Type Refinement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bid Strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Execution & Testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Landing Page Testing </li></ul></ul>Test & Monitor KEEP Keywords PRUNE Keywords O p t i m i z a t i o n Online Presence
  31. 31. Google AdWords Online Presence
  32. 32. Pursue Social Media Channels Online Presence
  33. 33. Resources <ul><li>SEO/SEM Website Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HubSpot’s </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keyword Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google AdWords keyword tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HubSport’s KeywordGrader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WordTracker (advanced) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free Link Research Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google & Yahoo’s Site Explorer - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Netconcepts’ Link Checker - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WeBuildPages’ Neat-o Tool - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO For Firefox - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TouchGraph GoogleBrowser - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tattler - </li></ul></ul>Online Presence
  34. 34. 5. Leverage Media Relations to Project Credibility <ul><li>Establish direct connections and personal relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on trades </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be opportunistic with beat reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Another channel for your thought leadership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contributed articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expert commentary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feed with news flow </li></ul><ul><li>Stay focused and watch costs </li></ul>Media & Credibility
  35. 35. Additional Resources <ul><li>PR Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheaper news release distribution channel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimized for SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HARO – </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow key reporters </li></ul></ul>Media & Credibility
  36. 36. 6. Harness Word-of-Mouth <ul><li>Build referenceable constituencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the hard work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it part of the culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Turn them into communities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory councils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extranets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LinkedIn Groups </li></ul></ul>Word of Mouth
  37. 37. More on Word-of-Mouth <ul><li>Give them something to talk about </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Align with their vision and be a resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring them together with other customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop promotions that encourage referrals and benefits your existing customers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leverage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer testimonials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networks </li></ul></ul>Word of Mouth
  38. 38. 7. Scale Smartly <ul><li>Build repeatable lead gen engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Webinars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newsletters (automated) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Optimize landing pages </li></ul><ul><li>Own more in the sales funnel </li></ul>Scale Smartly
  39. 39. Landing Page Optimization & Testing <ul><li>An effective landing page results in better conversion rates </li></ul><ul><li>Landing pages must correlate with campaign keywords and ads in order to remain relevant to customers </li></ul><ul><li>Streamline your visitor’s experience by avoiding multiple steps to finalize their request </li></ul>Don’t direct traffic only to your main page. Your landing page should be as specific as your searched keywords. Scale Smartly
  40. 40. Own More in the Sales Funnel
  41. 41. Recap – Startup Marketing “Rules” <ul><li>Immerse Yourself in the “Flow” of Your Industry </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace Thought Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Get Creative for Early Customer Access </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a (Far) Superior Online Presence </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Media Relations to Project Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Harness Word-of-Mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Scale Smartly </li></ul>
  42. 42. Startup Marketing: Rules for Revolutionaries Michael Gaiss Senior Vice President [email_address] Twitter: @MichaelGaiss