Category: Marketing

5 Unconventional Sponsorship Ideas

Design-oriented companies like Invision should be sponsoring designers who post frequently on portfolio sites like Dribble. Halloween costume stores should sponsor cosplayers and great amateur costume artists. Spotify should be sponsoring playlist creators – great way to incentivize and reward user curation. Food trucks and outdoor vendors (which tend to aggregate around parks and public […]

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What Startup Marketers Can Learn from Peter Thiel’s Zero To One Principle

To create outsized value, you must choose to do the things that create the most marginal value: value created minus effort paid. I think one of the most promising mental models is Peter Thiel’s idea of zero to one innovation, as expressed in Zero To One. He argues that most wealth is created by companies […]

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Marketing Campaigns (Like Products) Should Launch Fast and Iterate

There are two poor ways to launch a marketing initiative – and I’ve been guilty of both: 1) Make a good launch plan (good) but fill weeks or months with expanding scope or overplanning instead of launching (bad). 2) Launch a first iteration quickly (good) and fail to ever learn or follow up with a […]

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A Brand Awareness Hack for Your Next Conference

How do you stand out as a vendor when you’re walking a conference floor full of companies trying to sell their stuff? Over my few years of startup marketing experience I’ve started to pick up the habit of seeing unconventional opportunities for brand exposure that don’t cost much – if anything. At one event, that […]

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The Adventure of Enterprise Software: Salesforce, Mascots, and the Heroic Customer

Is your software cumbersome and complicated? Does it require months of training to use and years of experience to master? Make the challenges into an adventure. Salesforce does. If you’re not a sales or marketing person, you should know that Salesforce is the world’s #1 customer relationship management software. Being #1 doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to use […]

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Break the Event Exhibitor Script

I’m spending the weekend tabling at a hackathon for my company, so I’m thinking a lot about tabling right now and how to do it right. The common script for an interaction between an event sponsor/exhibitor and attendee is as follows: “ATTENDEE: What do you do?” “EXHIBITOR: This is what we do. Want to buy/work […]

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Great Brand Wisdom in 24 Bullet Points (Amazon.Love, or the Bezos Commandments)

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 6 of that challenge.  I keep one of my favorite lists of brand-building commandments by my desk. These points were first written in a short memo (with the subject line […]

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4 Low-Cost Hacks for Better Event Tabling

Conference marketing has become a bit uninspired over the years. Companies tabling at events will collect business cards for generic giveaways, ask people to sign up for generic email lists, and give away branded promotional items. It’s boring, and it’s not clear that it’s effective. As I do more work in the event marketing space, […]

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Don’t Talk To Strangers – How In-Person Relationships Should Drive Early Social Media Growth

If you’re starting out with social media (as a personal brand or company), it can be a long climb to build up a base of people who will engage with you, your questions, and your content. Too often on social media you can start out by addressing audiences you haven’t met, don’t know, and haven’t communicated with […]

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Ideas for Leveling Up Your Marketing Team: #1 – Share (Almost) Everything You’re Doing

Being questioned is hard. When other departments or employees in a company start to question our marketing teams, a natural response is to curl up into defensiveness mode. We assume that other teams just don’t understand us or our brilliant plans, and consequently we further block the flow of information about what we’re doing. This is […]

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To Make Better Startup Decisions, Tolerate More Pain

If your company gets a negative review, or a journalist pans your company, or a customer stops using your business, it’s going to hurt. In a small company, people notice these things even more. It’s no small matter for a customer to leave you, or for an average user to take the time to write […]

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Write Your Way to Clearer Business Decisions

Software enables companies to move faster than ever. And that’s great. But now companies can make mistakes faster than ever, and they can do it at scale. Disciplined, thorough thinking has never been so important (or in such short supply). On net, you’re going to have a much easier time of things if you can back up […]

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The Restaurant Business Is the Romance Business

No, not that kind of romance. This kind: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. Restaurants are in an industry with low margins and lots of competition. They can’t afford to just fight other restaurants on the basis of food quality or price. The smart ones know they have to compete on […]

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Advertising Isn’t Just About New Customers

Recently I’ve been surprised to see a bunch of billboards for ridesharing app Lyft popping up around Atlanta. The brand’s pink is unmistakable, and the messages are especially memorable for Atlantans. We spend a lot of their time in traffic or in search for parking, so “The better the event, the worse the parking” clicks […]

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4 Idea-Rich, Mediocrity-Free Podcasts for Busy Marketers

  More marketing podcasts exist than you could possibly listen to in one lifetime. Fortunately for you, you have podcast reviewers like me to separate the wheat from the chaff. And fortunately for me, I have a much longer commute than I had last month. The following are all podcasts that have brought me some unique value […]

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Practicality: 1, Theory: 0 – A Marketing Lesson

There’s a figure of speech we have in the software world: eating your own dog food. It means you use your own software. There’s some added credibility to your software if you’re going to be screwed by your own software bugs and mistakes. Your customers have more reason to trust that they can use it. The […]

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