Building a marketing foundation for your startup or small business.

Building a marketing foundation for your startup or small business.

Once you hit product-market fit, one of the most important things to set up is a solid marketing foundation for your startup or small business. In my time as a consultant, I’ve worked with startups where it was a complete breeze – the company provided me with fundamental product and marketing, we would have a comprehensive chat – everyone was on the same base, and we would easily get to work.

Yet other times, we would run into companies who as I like to call it, have a misunderstanding of self, or an identity crisis, if you will.

They don’t know what their mission is, what their long term vision is, they lack their base marketing fundamentals.

Hopefully, this post will help remedy that. Reasons being two-fold.

There is no innovation at major agencies like Ogilvy or BBDO?

There is no innovation at major agencies like Ogilvy or BBDO?

There’s a saying. Innovate or Die, and boy has it rung true in the past few years. Barnes & Noble, AOL, MySpace, and you have to wonder who’s next? Hollywood? Your global Advertising behemoths? Could be. What happened to innovation at major agencies? Why have product shops won? Or will Management consultancies come out on top?

Ogilvy & Mather has just pumped a bunch of cash into bringing people on for their new unit [email protected]. Well needed, but it begs the question if it’s not too little too late. Social has been an integral part of marketing for a few years now, and young vibrant agencies willingly sprung up left and right over the past couple of years in order to capitalize on the large gaping hole left in the market by the more traditional consolidated big boys. By this I mean your BBDO’s, Grey’s and WWP’s.

While I may be wrong in my assertions, it does feel however that the globals see Social, as something inherently belonging to the youth, the teens, and tweens of today who will inevitably “like” a brand if we tell them to. This form of thinking is not only naïve in my opinion, but wrong on the many accounts.

The likes on Facebook / G+ (if you’re a google employee or Robert Scoble) brand pages are still by many accounts inherently mundane pieces of digital space, in fact a waste of electrons if you’ll allow. It’s what you do with them that makes them inherently sexy beasts. The problem that I find however is that the more established agencies struggle with just this, they don’t know how to to effectively actualize this social real estate to drive engagement and word of mouth.

Every day as you walk the streets of Manhattan you see the same intent lacking executions, broadcast posters, with little FB/TW buttons placed somewhere on the bottom of the ad, with the ever present “follow us” call to action.

Innovation at major agencies?

But let’s dissect this for a minute and look at the agency’s intent in trying to get you, dear consumer to follow their client on FB/TW.

We’re in Manahattan, Brooklyn, well, NY where people walk, rapidly, and often lack that precious resource called time. If these same ads are in more automobile prolific cities, such as say, Los Angeles, the broadcast will work. But the follow us on whatever is lost in the moment of passing.

Now say we have the same situation here in NYC, the follow us call to action is more prevalent to someone walking by then speeding past in a car, but I beg to ask, how many people will actually stop, open up their FB apps, search for “Brand” and then follow said brand. I reckon not many, yet, these efforts and ones like them are working at least to a degree, HESS has 250k people “liking it on twitter” Quiznos, 450k. (Just a few randoms I follow for research.) But what if they approached the broadcast model and on it facilitated a call to act that was actually engaging, interactive and offered the consumer an actual experience? Or even just simplified the “linking” process.

Why dear Watson, the world would go wild. But more on this in a future post.

Kids and the young are not the social net, those 35+ account for more than 25% of facebook users, 26+ over 50%. Yet hires at the big boys focus on the youth markets. Why?

Why is it that larger agencies focus primarily on the youth market when it comes to social media, and why hire into this space? I don’t buy that it’s data driven, and it definitely can’t fall on purchasing power. So why?

You could argue that youth will influence older generations in terms of product adoption, and then see a dispersive behavior in that influence to older generations, and while that is certainly true for products, and especially in technology, can the same be said about Quiznos or HESS Petrol? Doubtful.

Yet Flurry a mobile analytics and ad platform has found,

“The study shows that men and women between the ages of 18 and 34 are predictably most desired by advertisers.”

Influence? Not really, direct relation between age / and eCPM, with the 18-34’s costing the most, and advertisers believe that these users will wind up driving the most spending, with the 34+ demographics dropping in eCPM spending to below 13-17 year olds.

Is this because there are more kids online than their 35+ adult counterparts, or is it because digital advertising has largely omitted to understand the older market? Or is the older market just less inclined to influence? My bets are on the former; brand perception will change regardless of age.

So the question is, how do you foster innovation in the space, and tap into the “older” consumer? Simple, listen.

Cheap TV Advertising for the Startup

Believe it. Google has more recently than not launched a new service allowing for next to anyone to buy ad airtime on TV, and it’s part of AdWords. Google TV Ads works very similarly to the current AdWords, you log in with your existing Google account, upload an ad 15, 30 second, etc… name your price, place it in a network and time slot, and boom there you go. Your home made ad is now on TV.

Of course getting your advertisement during a top rated show such as the Simpsons, South Park, or similar is going to cost you a heavy penny as you’ll be competing for airtime with large advertising companies, multinationals brands, etc… and in all as a startup, it’s probably not the most effective manner in which you can spend you ad dollars, but nonetheless, an ad during off peak may be just what you’re looking for.

Though we can’t really vouch for the effectiveness of the service, in the video that we’ve included from from SlateV on using the new service, they explain that from the one million people who saw the advert only about 1000+ actually typed in the address, making a click through of 0.1%, and for the $1300 they spent on the ad campaign, that makes a potential customer acquisition cost of $1.30. Worth it? Perhaps not for SalteV, but all the same it was just a test ad, and I’m sure that if a company were to offer a service that the TV viewer could use there and then i.e. price promotions, etc… the customer retention would in fact be higher.

Do note though, that “Google TV Ads are available only to advertisers located in the United States who pay in U.S. dollars. We can’t take advertisers from outside the U.S. just yet, and we can’t offer direct debit or prepay as payment options. In addition, advertisers must set up billing prior to initiating a TV Campaign. – Google

How do you send out a press release? +20 Free PR Sites


How do I send out a press release? When should I send out a press release? If you’ve had these questions keep reading.

If you’re a Coca Cola, or a Microsoft, you get your PR department to do it, but if you’re the little guy, it’s not so clear. If you’re thinking social media, great, it’s a good way of getting to people to follow your website and actively engage you – but all the same depends on your business. If you’re a company that makes a new type of ultralight environmentally friendly piston for lawnmowers a facebook fan page will probably not do you too much good.

So chances are you you think you need to publish a press release but don’t really know where to start. OK. First thing’s first do you need a press release? Ask yourself why your company is putting one out, did you jut secure financing, did you just develop a new product, was there a major change in the company somehow.

The second is how do you go about getting your press release out there? If you have friends at PR agencies invite them out for a coffee and discuss how you could get the most exposure, chances are they’ll know someone who just started their own PR agency and is looking for clients. This is a great way to tap into industry specific news. But what if you don’t know anyone or can’t hire a PR guy due to a general lack of funds.

Well in this case you’re stuck with a free press release distribution website. Clearly the benefits of using one of these is that they’re “free”, however free also means the quality of service just won’t be as good. With that – also remember – that utilizing a press release websites you’ll need to consider keywords, SEO and all the other web-type stuff. A good checklist for press releases online can be found here.

Once you’re done with your press release, visit any of these websites, sign up with some non-pivotal email i.e. [email protected], as we’re sure you’ll receive some spam, and send them out, don’t be shy – send your press release to all of them.

Press Release Distribution Websites

: 24-7 Press Release
: 1888 Press Release
: Click Press
: Express Press Release – From the onset looks U.S. only, and limited to major states
: Free Press Release
: Free Press Release Center
: i-Newswire
: Newswire Today * – recommended
: PR Inside – German & English
: PR Buzz
: PR Leap
: PR Log
: PR Urgent
: Press About
: Press Method
: Press Release Point
: The Open Press

E-commerce Only
: Ecommerce Wire

With that done, you should also consider contacting bloggers with your industry focus, they often have active large readerships and will undoubtedly help spread the word on whatever it is you’re releasing to the press.

With that we have a request of our community. If you could provide us with press release distribution websites in languages other than English, we would be very very grateful.

The Benefits of Using Twitter for Business

The Benefits of Using Twitter for Business

While twitter is nearly everywhere these days, many people still consider themselves naysayers. These individuals don’t really understand what the platform can do, most people will just assign a basic social network narcissistic assumption to twitter, and sure there are millions of people who use it for nothing more than to tell the uninterested world about the lack of a C in their alphabet soup, but what Twitter truly excels at s information distribution, network building, and conversation. Using twitter for business means capitalizing on what it’s good for. Let’s start with the conversation.

Simply look at the impact it had in Iran a month back, information was relayed in seconds across the globe, I think at one point in time a notable western news and media outlet just told people to head to Twitter for updates and news, then look at the death of Michael Jackson, the first to know were twitterites and facebookers. It’s information gone global.

And what a business tool this little platform is coming out to be, at this month’s Drink Tank – I met an interesting fellow, Jason Barett from TwitJobs – a company that distributes job postings via twitter; effectively an internet company they’ve been profitable since day one, which assuming some of you who read this will understand is quite the task.

So what am I saying? This platform is turning out to become quite the business tool, from sharing information regarding links, benefits, contests, to anything that will grab the user’s attention, and if you’ve got your company, or are thinking about starting one, use it! It helps, it works, and most importantly it will bring you traffic, and make you money, so use it. But remember, like anything you can use it right, and use it wrong.

Five tips on how to use twitter for business

1. Make your followers want something, create a desire. Updates are useless.
2. Be constant, have something flowing naturally.
3. Provide interesting content, links, and services.
4. Monetize it. How? Google search it, but you can always sell ads via your twitter account as well
5. Don’t overdo it. Twitter can be addicting, focus on your main business, unless of course, your main business is twitter based, then focus on that.