Marketing

What I’ve Learned From Startup Consulting

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of filling in for a marketing class at The Startup Institute.

At one point during the class, one student told me, “You should start a marketing agency!”

I smiled.

“I did,” I replied.

It’s true. Quietly over the past year, I’ve done marketing consulting for almost a dozen startups.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of this year, and the one year point sounds like a decent time to share some of that. So grab some popcorn and a cozy seat. Here’s what I’ve got: (more…)

Techy People Google Things Too

A few months ago my friend sat down with me to figure out a website issue I’d been stuck on for weeks.

Long story short: After weeks of Googling, watching screencasts, and getting lost in a seemingly endless trail of forum threads, I still couldn’t figure out how to fix this on my own.

We sat down at a coffee shop and he helped me out.

When he got started to get stuck, he Googled to figure things out. (more…)

How to Pick the Right Audience for Your Product

Oftentimes, you look at a startup’s website and you see them describing themselves as being “The _____ for everyone.”

I have to admit, I really hate this approach. But I appreciate how hard it is to narrow down.

The reality is, the goal shouldn’t be to focus on everyone. The goal should be to tightly focus on a big audience. (more…)

How to Pick a Name for Your Startup

My big accomplishment this month: I changed my company’s name from House of Betsy to Cube Riot, so now you can find us at CubeRiot.com and as “CubeRiot” on all social media channels.

Transitioning away from something that overtly called out the Made in the USA thing (Betsy = Betsy Ross, maker of the American flag) was tricky for me. But after a lot of thought, it felt right.

I worry about the garment industry becoming “green washed” the way that the organic food movement has. For a mainstream audience, the quality and fit of the product matters most. The fact that something is made in the US or uses organic fabric is usually an added bonus, not a core feature. (more…)

How to Effectively Express an Opinion at Work

My political opinions generally sway to the left, but more than anything they are based on the facts I know about just a few topics. It’s a big, confusing world out there. So, I sink my efforts into knowing the hell out of a few things and vote accordingly.

This also impacts how I talk about politics. If I don’t know a ton about a topic, I’m less inclined to take a strong opinion about it if it comes up in conversation. (more…)

How to Focus on the Right Metrics for Your Startup

Lately I’ve been helping clients set up metrics-driven processes for marketing.

This is different for every company, of course, but the more I go through this the more I firmly believe one thing – You have to be careful what metrics you track.

I say this because what you measure determines how you spend your time and how you perceive your progress. These are two very important things for an employee and the company that employee works for.

Little Rocks and Big Rocks

Increasing the open rate on your startup’s newsletter by 20% sounds great. If there are ten people on that list, who cares? (more…)

Do Early Stage Startups Need Marketing?

This op-ed by Jessica Livingston about why startups should focus on sales, not marketing, has gotten a lot of chatter recently. Given that I’m working with several early stage startups on marketing right now, I figured I should offer my perspective.

My hope is that for founders, this post helps you decide if you should hire a marketer. For marketers, I hope this helps you decide if you should accept a job offer as a first marketing hire, and helps show you what you should focus on. (more…)

Progress

To catch you up if you missed my post from last week, I’m off into a new career direction of consulting.

I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the messages of support, and somewhat surprised to hear from many others that they struggle with similar “self-branding” issues.

In my last post I promised to share my process with you. I tried a number of different methods to refine my offering, and some worked better than others.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. (more…)

How to Get Better Feedback at Work

Whether it’s just another quick set of eyes on a blog post or a deep conversation about your career direction, getting great advice can be really helpful. It can even be life-changing. At first blush, feedback may seem like something you take as it comes to you. But there are some things you can do to proactively get the help and advice you need to improve your work.

1) Distance Yourself From The Work

Taking ownership and responsibility is much different than taking everything to heart and associating your self-worth with your job. This is essential for startup employees in particular to understand. To join a startup, a certain level of passion or at least personal interest is necessary in order to choose a risky, fledgling business over stable corporate life. But to incorporate people’s feedback into the projects you do at that startup, you need to balance your heart with your head and take an objective approach. A mental distance between you and the work impacts how you ask for feedback and how you receive feedback. (more…)

Career and Life Update, the Sequel

As you could tell from my last post, I was in a career transition mode in December. I’m excited to share that I officially joined One Mighty Roar to lead marketing for our Internet of Things platform, Robin.

One Mighty Roar began as a digital marketing agency. Through client work we developed a few different products. One of the products was technology for connected experiences, so now we are rolling those capabilities out into a spin-off Internet of Things platform called Robin. We launch this spring and you can sign up for our beta here, although I think the audience that reads this blog would be more interested in just learning about the Internet of Things and subscribing to our blog. (more…)