Write If You Find Work

Just trying to learn as much as I can about marketing, venture capitalism, start-ups and New York

Start-Up Marketing School: Class 4- Developing a Customer Base

What’s your plan to acquire customers?  It’s the difference between a business and a hobby.


 Talk 1:  Lead Generation and Customer Pipelines in a B2B company.

 Elizabeth  Golluscio    Elizabeth Golluscio – VP, Marketing at Smartling


Talk 2:  Customer Acquisition in a B2C company.
    Samir  Balwani  Samir Balwani – Director of Acquisition Marketing, Stylecaster


Talk 1- Elizabeth

Works for Smartling- B2B, translates websites and mobile apps

B2B marketing is a maze; actually very human- its messy, you get your hands dirty

like in a maze, you need to start backwards

  • end goal is the customer, so start there

think of marketing scorecard as a funnel

  • top part of the funnel: hot leads
  • next is opportunities
  • next is proposals/ quotes
  • bottom, smallest part of the funnel: new customers

items you need to track:

  • visits to your website
  • registrations
  • full service inquiries
  • average key words
  • PR hits
  • assets that you generate
  • costs

some good tools to use:

  • Trada- crowd source model
  • Hubspot

PPC can be a bandaid if you don’t have good SEO

The Marketing Mix

  • Advertising, Direct Marketing, PR/AR, Events, Relationship/ Customer, Inbound

If you hire 1 amazing person, make it an in-house designer

Marketing Strategy

Prospect and Problem Analysis -> Product (consumer), Price (cost), Placement (convenience), Promotion (communication) -> Customer Acquisition

placement includes working with your sales team

Geoffrey Moore- Crossing the Chasm

  • For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity) the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit/ compelling reason to buy) unlike (primary competition) our product (statement of primary differentiation)

know who your market is

whats the alternative to your product?

  • sometimes its nothing, sometimes its stagnation

getting close to the beginning of the maze- value and values

messaging your company’s values

the more we can connect with people on an emotional level

the “value” of your product needs to connect to the “values” of your company

first hand experience should not be underestimated

  • just need a couple of really quality conversations

and at the top of the maze, is you, the researcher

top industry trends

  • marketers: design + tech + communications
  • Smartling: globality, SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile)

lost art- great copywriting

School of Applied Sciences to compete with Silicon Valley

  • we can all get better together
  • marketing should be brought quickly to a start-up

do what you love, love what you do * make good friends * take care of yourself


Talk 2- Samir

Stylecaster- B2C

there is an overfocus on social media

going to present 2 old school, good tactics and 1  brand new tactic


1st tactic- email marketing

nobody focuses on it, but email marketing is huge!

you want someone to do something, email them

use email marketing alongside analytics

  • focus on page views

the idea of putting in a password scares people

  • email newsletter acts like a stopgap

campaign- send out newsletter and then 5 emails of value and then sell on the 6th email

  • first 5 emails are you walking them through the sales process; don’t include an offer in the first 5
  • almost like in-depth blog posts

use MailChimp- why?

  • have larger list platforms
  • integrate well with everything including the free site SocialPro

SocialPro will crossreference email to any public social media

can get specific with people based on their social media preferences

all of our marketing comes from our content

blogs are important to get your content out there

for content consumption- twitter and facebook are great

  • but you can “like” something on facebook without ever actually going to the website and reading the page

have to build your influence on your lists

should email everyday- the more you email, the more likely views

your unsubscribe list will go up, but those people weren’t going to buy your product anyway

duplicate content penalty from Google

  • need to do all original content

white papers or case studies can be repackaged as a guide

best syndication deals are newsletters

don’t give your content to someone else in the same channel

not about the number of subscribers, it’s about the number of people who click


2nd tactic- targeted landing pages

homepage can be a black hole for leads

try to direct PR to sign up pages

landing pages

  • use unbounce.com
  • tool to create landing pages on the fly
  • also allows you to A/B test
  • use landing pages to make partnerships


  • know that incentives devalue your product

adswaps- work with other brands

test everything!

  • optimize.ly
  • visual website optimizer


3rd new tactic- remarketing and retargeting

B2C amazing tool

catches people that come to your site and then follows them around the web

  • they don’t even have to sign up for your service
  • cookie based so will follow you

yet, if you are already a member, it won’t follow you

Lesson- Kiss Metrics developed a cookie you can’t delete

  • spotify uses them
  • registration based
  • now are in a lawsuit for it

Google Ad Words

  • have to have display ads

high conversion on landing pages

need brand consistency- don’t play around with that

working at a start-up requires a lot of resource allocation

Marketers should work on what needs to be done Monday through Thursday and then on Friday just learn, try new stuff, take a class, blog, innovate

“Done is better than perfect”








Start-Up Marketing School: Class 3- Packaging and Distributing Your Story

What are the right tools and avenues to get your message into the marketplace?  Hear two talks on the value of advertising, PR, case studies, customer testimonials and the creation of social media advocates to enhance the impact of your story.


Talk 1:  Building a plan with multiple options and channels

 Heather  Hopkins Freeland    Heather Freeland – VP Brand Marketing at Gilt Groupe
Talk 2:  A discussion of online/offline media options, including email, ad networks, SEO/SEM

 Jaime  Romero    Jaime Romero – Vice President of Marketing at AxialMarket


if you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing


Talk 1- Heather

– startups forced to be smart, efficient, scrappy

marketing is about storytelling

  1. defining your story
  2. writing your story
  3. telling your story
  4. measuring your effectiveness

brand- one of the most important things- need to bring it to life

vision- needs to be able to push/ challenge your team

  • should also provide guidance. vision should be the north star of your company

mission- clear, to the point, everyone in the company should know what it is

values- long term, stick by these

positioning- how are you different from your competitors

brand is all about consistency

chose your ghost writer:

1. agency vs. 2. internal vs. 3. freelancers

  1. agency- really hard relationship between start-ups and agency (corporate culture)
  2. internal- you need to have enough work to keep someone busy full-time or maybe you get a generalist but not a specialist
  3. freelancers- often you have short term needs or very specific needs or revamping. freelancers can be a great way to dial up that expertise

find your voice- what’s your plotline?

talking to customers, and finding key customers can help define you

define your core message- single most important thing you want people to remember

  • define in one sentence or less and be consistent
  • don’t separate visuals from message

always have a clear call to action

  • what should the customers do immediately?

what are you trying to accomplish

  • balance between awareness and action- can’t always separate the two

who are you trying to reach?

  • need to know who are your customers and first influencers right now
  • find them, pinpoint the customers mindset, and what you want them to do

how do you wrap your message around that

consumers need a reason to believe in your company

a good marketing plan doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be efficient (and smart and engaging)


awareness -> social -> action

  • advertising community search
  • events engagement advertising
  • influencer, content distribution, direct marketing

content, offers, and promotions can create embassadors

  • more awareness leads to lower cost of acquisition

PR is key- as important for investors as it is for your customers

  • want to attract good talent and good investors

enlist influential people to speak on your behalf

don’t spend entire budget on advertising

action- know customer economies

  • what do you want to spend; whats your payback tolerance at the present moment, because it will change

testing is mandatory and you need it to learn lessons that you will keep

make sure people can find you when they search for you

acquisition is a science- need to become an engineer of optimization

  • don’t be afraid of new technologies

social marketing

  • “you can’t order social like a deli sandwich”
  • it’s not about picking and choosing

social is a catch all group

need to know what you are trying to accomplish

people will not share something unless they perceive that its worth sharing

social and viral doesn’t always mean fate- need to invest in it

employ your advocates

  • reward your members
  • appreciate and engage them
  • reward them at different steps along the way

creativity is key- easy to forget to be creative

measuring- remember to think about it first

need to get your product in the hands of the influencers

measurement and strategy go hand in hand

need to trust your gut

need to make more informed leaps

  • if it works, do more of it

even if it works now, its going to keep changing, so keep testing constantly and always build upon what you learn


Talk 2- Jaime

create buyer personas

website optimization- free leads

  • focusing on website is very important and testing website is very important
  • optimize.ly, google analytics, crazy egg, chart beat

trade shows need to be engaging and ultra professional

  • set up appointments and always follow up
  • but trade shows can be expensive

email marketing

  • build an opt-in list and house file
  • create one to one communication
  • very cheap but has spam, questions
  • content vs. direct sale

remember to have constant contact

SEO is like building a house, need to start with the foundation

  • keyword optimization, link-building

20% of SEO is foundation- what you control

80% of SEO you don’t control

key to SEO- content- create consistent/ sharable content and keep putting it out there

  • Pros- SEO is essentially free
  • Cons- very hard and takes a long time

title page properly

links- how many people are linked to your website

Digital Advertising

  • more like traditional advertising
  • its completely measurable

CPC for Google- ads on right hand side

  • Google ad sense

intent- right message at the right time

different pricing models- display interruption based

Social Media

  • clear voice and good content but you can’t say everything
  • there’s so much, where do you start?
  • fish where the fishes are
  • really about reach and frequency

there’s really no print in star-ups because there’s no money

Marketing Automation

  • automate drip campaigns
  • lead scoring
  • giving them more value

your brand should be a beacon

60-90% of people do research online first

check out TweetDeck, Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot, content.ly

LinkedIn is a good place for B2B markets

Ad networks

  • sense of targeting
  • get more efficiency but costs going up


Start-Up Marketing School: Class 2- Developing a Brand and Positioning It to Stand Apart from the Crowd

Creating a longstanding and successful brand takes more than a good name and a logo. This session will include two talks on how to clarify the vision of what your business can be and the process of creating the story that surrounds it. (keywords: messaging, value proposition, publicity)

Intro:  Legal Protections for You and Your Brand

     Karen Won – Associate, Cooley LLP

Talk 1:  Creating a great brand strategy
     Michael Duda – Managing Partner, Consigliere Brand Capital

  tai foster   Tai Foster – Senior Manager, Communications at Under Armour
Talk 2:  Public Relations and Creating Your Story. Marketer + Agent + Journalist

     Kevin  KingKevin King – Senior Vice President, Horn Group

     Tami Forman – Senior Director, Global Corporate Communications at Return Path

     Lauren Goode – The Wall Street Journal Digital Network



3 pillars of marketing

developing brand

developing cases and content

developing customer base

vision, messaging, publicity, how you put that story out there


Karen Won on trademarks:

from a legal perspective, not all brands are legally respected/ protected as brands

under the law there are 5 strengths

– fanciful marks- completely made up- examples include Starbucks, Verizon

  • very strong trademark rights

– arbitrary marks- exist in English language but change meaning- examples include Apple, Kayak

– suggestive marks- allude to quality or characteristic- examples include Coppertone, Jaguar

  • protectable under trademark law as long as they don’t blur into the next category

– descriptive marks- describe goods or services- examples include hotels.com, Cartoon Network

  • not legally protectable until your brand gets recognized
  • at least 5 years to prove it to the legal system, invest in brand and cannot hold proprietary rights

– generic terms- name is exactly what it means, cannot be recognized as a brand under the law

completely innovative product that the market has not seen before- need to create a genre of product and unique product name; ex. Xerox and photocopier

legal clearance- search relevant field to see if there are previous, already existing brand names

federal trademark register- clearance gives you valuable info

federal vs. state filing

– go to federal pending


Talk 1

Mike and Tai

Build products with soul

adjust the conversation but stay true to the brand

brand- mission, purpose, story, people, experience

what people say and feel about you

customers control the convo

great stories behind great products

brand matters

  • bond with your customers
  • irrational reason to buy things

brands can help save the company

  • react well in disaster
  • be honest
  • go above and beyond

you should be clear about the brand from Day 1

brand strategy= business strategy

vision, purpose and promise, soul, personality, tell your story, what makes your brand unique- cut to the chase and communicate it clearly

have to know your consumer markets- local, global

publicity and PR in the beginning

need to inspire your employees

start with the story-communicate easily

appease- consumers, wall street, B2B

throw the ball where the receiver is going, not where he is right now

be consistent with your brand

  • messaging might change a little but you need to build a culture that believes in the message
  • employees are biggest brand advocates

amplify the message through all channels

influencers- employees, consumers, celebrities

look for niche markets- where the story would be told

be realistic about agencies

  • you can have two out of the three- fast, good, and cheap

viral is not a strategy

  • can’t control it
  • usually an after-effect

listen and respond, then listen again but have a point of view

can’t spin anything

be transparent- be polarizing but not offensive- nobody talks about someone in the middle

parallel path- product and statement

balance- continually pushing out stuff but not forcing it

priorities- traffic has the experience they came for; blog is only an avenue


Talk 2

Tami- B2B; sell to marketers

storytelling- very important

1. launch a blog

  • update regularly

2. give your customers a voice

3. get help but not too much

if you’ve heard of the company, they’re too big for you


Kevin- all comes back to your objectives

spend less time talking about what you do and more time talking about how you’re doing it

media training helps but someone has to be that “visionary”

figure out what tone you want to take as a young entrepreneur


Lauren- big companies are good to get the word out; also have accountability

what are your PR objectives?

the squeaky wheel gets the grease

good communication strategy is closely tied to your business strategy

make sure its simple and good

too many words in life; cut through the clutter

have your own take, but make it good

the media is also an audience- be open to new world of media

Start-up Marketing School: Class 1- So you’re planning to be the CMO someday?

Perspectives on marketing in a start-up.  How to plan for the unplanned whether you’re bootstrapping your venture or funded to the hilt.  The format will be a panel and town hall discussion, including the views of three people who’ve taken different paths to the lead marketing role in successful a start-up. So what does it take? How do you prepare yourself to build a marketing machine from the ground up?


 Rich Ullman, Former SVP of Marketing at Ripple6

See full size imageDeena Bahri, VP of Marketing at Birchbox

 Jeff Grill, VP of Marketing at Mimeo

Notes from the discussion:

develop brand- content and cases, story, distribution, customer base

look at analytics- how do you measure?

Deena’s advice-

  • started in offline world
  • focus on brand
  • product being the center
  • what makes product different
  • really know your product, get close with product teams
  • website is very important
  • understanding the customer- really talking with them
  • “voice of the customer”
  • focus on the metrics
  • money, head count -> prove ROI
  • measuring and communicating
  • spread the news

Jeff’s advice-

  • started as a media planner
  • ran focus groups- literally talk to customers
  • “the whole world is being rewritten”
  • you are limited by what you work on
  • he needed to learn direct marketing
  • went back to agency world as true integrative marketing
  • in marketing, “always have a hypothesis about why something will work”
  • mimeo- online version of fedex
  • continuously felt constrained
  • too much of a bystander
  • “i don’t trust a marketer that doesn’t actively market”
  • integrative marketing careers are built, they don’t just happen
  • start-ups don’t understand marketing, keep it simple
  • think again if you can’t measure it
  • marketers are not magicians understand what others are doing, what customers are asking for, what you are trying to do


Discussion- Startups and their small marketing budget


  • money equals more options, can test more freely
  • helps if you want to outsource
  • yet you don’t want to get too far from home base
  • haven’t figured out the product-market fit
  • money allows you to be more creative


  • tremendous amount of accountability with money
  • life span of a CMO is 10 months
  • problem comes when you want to test things that are more expensive
  • have to find a balance between spending money and cheap


Discussion- Is it about money or culture?


  • startups by nature are disruptive, no rules, bring ideas to life, passionate
  • there is risk and appetite involved
  • lack of structure
  • can be hard to let go of pieces of your job as your company grows


  • job gets smaller as company gets larger
  • make it up as you go along


Discussion- How do you deal with being the middle hire? Who’s the first person you hire?


  • hire an analyst, brought outside resources in-house
  • better to keep everything compartmentalized
  • with start-ups, sometimes you need to prove certain channels don’t work
  • its always a work in progress


  • always be prepared to adjust
  • bring in copy design- don’t outsource brand identity
  • want to be hands on in all aspects of company’s marketing
  • place a lot of importance on analytics


  • Outsourced results need to be taken with prejudice


Discussion- what are some free marketing techniques?

  • referrals, really looking at what is important to your customers, video
  • what tools? facebook, twitter, youtube dashboards
  • nothings free-spending time, money, effort
  • create content by listening to customers
  • facebook is an avenue to communicate
  • people will stumble upon online


 Q: what is the relationship between content and marketing at Birchbox?

A: very separate. we have our content, then we have selling to beauty products, and selling to the customer


Q:  How should you do offline marketing for online businesses?

A: combine offline media with direct marketing tactics

online has to back up offline

never underspend in a test

there is a myth that online media is unmeasurable

use different channels but always project the same message

sometimes company is too small to handle all projects


Q: is there tension between brands and subscribers at Birchbox? You want customer opinions but also want to sell product

A: don’t manage any negativity

publish to brands, but not everything to consumers on website and forums

peer reviews and comments can be very powerful


Q: do you want specific customers?

A: you want profitable customers

shoppers and referrals can both be very profitable

someone with money vs.someone who tweets a lot

delivering customers something that they are looking for

analytics has to differentiate between new and existing customers


Q: What tools do you use?

A: Google analytics, queries on the database, mailchimp for email, social media platforms individually

need to stay lean

crosstraining people on platforms

friendbuy- drive referral engine, prompted to share

would rather use fewer tools

be careful with any tool that gives you a monthly invoice


Q: When do you look at metrics? How do you check the progress?

A: organize data around your best customers. Check data three times a day- tap into dashboard

have someone look at win/loss customers

align metrics around your goals

KPIs and planning- don’t overplan, plan for action and then immediately put it to use

start-ups change so frequently- stop planning and start doing

have to be “adaptive and adoptive”

look to others, copy what works, keep your eyes open, keep listening to others and understanding new ideas


Q: Are there helpful tests for good product market fit?

A: designing campaigns, experiments with controls- use same demographics, population

easier to do testing control

hard to test buyer experience

marketing doesn’t own any real estate

have a kitchen table focus group

bring in a customer and watch them

use their UI and get feedback

focus group- qualitative research

listen to the passionate focus group member

listen to the emotions

if you can get a good idea about your customer group, then make a focus group with similar demographics

look for the “power users”

everything is now lean and agile

And so we begin. . .

Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.
Thomas A. Edison

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