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Playing moneyball in startup marketing
How to not get blinded by budget cuts
Tech startups get reckless in bull markets.
They come across a little funding and start spending in all different areas. Hiring more people than needed, promoting themselves where their ideal customers won't even come across, and throwing events to talk about themselves rather than creating experiences for people.
But once the fed raises interest rates 1% or even mentions the word recession, they panic and cut as much as they can.
And the worst part is they expect marketing to reach those same goals from the bull market with half the resources.
But the bright side is these type of markets let you focus and spend more efficiently. To completely cut out what's not working and meet your potential customers where they are and cater to them in how they want to buy.
If you're having trouble with marketing bringing in revenue and not just impressions, you'll only waste more money with the more budget you have.
More money won't solve your problem
Cutting certain marketing channels can be a good thing because it opens up opportunities to create success in the aggregate.
Marketers need to figure out what the problem is exactly (and it's not replacing channels or adding budget).
It's finding gaps in the market that the competition is overlooking.
This scene in Moneyball explains it perfectly.
For example, most startup marketing isn't done right on social platforms. It's more direct-response sales to people who are mindlessly scrolling through their feed looking for an escape.
No one is going to be scrolling and come across your brand for the first time, see a free trial or demo ad, and think to themselves "You know what?! I got time today, let's check out this offer!"
The goal of marketing is to create demand
You won't create demand by talking about yourself all day, which is what most companies do in their content, either through features or company updates.
You'll want to become a media company, where your content can be a trusted source for your ideal customers to help them learn and get better at what they're trying to accomplish.
Then to get them into your website, email list, podcast, or anything else they can subscribe to because they're interested in what you have to say. From there, they can check out everything you have to offer on their own.
Product demos, competitor analyses, reviews, ROI, and founders' stories.
If you're a sales software like Gong, create content around what impacts sales teams. Marketing software like Hubspot, create content for better ads, campaign management, and automation.
But this doesn't happen with the current way startups are marketing.
Usually it's just ads that have a stock photo of people in the work place, a headline + subheadline that isn't really scroll stopping, and a call to action to download an ebook or sign up for a demo.
You'll quickly realize that the route of creating demand is more of a long-term approach and goes deeper than the traditional lead generation efforts.
So don’t be boring, become a media company for your ideal customers, not just advertisers.
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