Archive for Kent Lewis

The Collaborative Economy: What Big Brands are Learning from Disruptive Startups

Posted by Kent Lewis on October 23rd, 2014 at 6:05 pm

The final session of the day at Startup Marketing Conference focused on the collaborative economy and how large brands are learning from disruptive startups. Ben Kaplan from PR Hacker hosted the session and mentioned how brands like GE and Virgin are learning from and collaborating with startups. Kaplan also mentioned Meow Mix CatStarter as a recent example of leveraging a passionate community willing to innovate.
Matt Kaufman, President at CrunchBase, kicked off by sharing an example of how Nestle is working with startup to stay ahead of the game. From his experience, Kaufman believes brands aren’t exactly sure what they want. That means agencies can get into a trap of selling what they know instead of what agencies need. It also increases the chance the brand won’t buy something they are not sure they need, even if they can afford to pay.
Michelle Regner, CEO and Co-Founder of Near-Me.com, discussed how big brands look to her company for help in understanding the customer journey. For example, Cisco wanted a better way to sell used routers and Near-Me created a marketplace for the partners to use. She also mentioned Hallmark creating an Etsy-type marketplace for customers to interact, and Hallmark gets the benefit... Read more

The Future of Search: Drive Big Profits with Competitive Intelligence

Posted by Kent Lewis on October 23rd, 2014 at 5:27 pm

In the second to last session of the day, Michael Sticker, Director of Marketing for SEMrush, stepped up to discuss competitive intelligence and search marketing. The first topic Stickler covered understands the value of organic traffic and how to put a dollar value on it. Of course this is what his platform does and as a customer, I can tell you it is a powerful competitive intelligence tool. He included links to helpful reports that outline how much Fortune companies spend on paid search that will be available on SlideShare soon. He cites Patel’s generously detailed blog posts with insights, most recently on how he grew traffic 174 percent with is latest startup. He spent a good deal of time walking through the SEMrush platform and recommended a few other tools like MOZ FollowerWonk.
Jamie Smith with EngineReady and iSpionage followed Stickler to provide perspective from the paid side of search in regards to competitive intelligence. Smith outlined seven spying strategies to dominate your competition. For starters, there are four components to measure:

Visibility: impression, rank or position)
Creative: click-through rate (CTR) or conversion rate
Continuity: CTR, bounce and conversion rate
Conversion: conversion rate, cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS) or return... Read more

Startup Marketing Conference: Running A Marketing Organization That Supports Sales At All Levels

Posted by Kent Lewis on October 23rd, 2014 at 4:51 pm

For the mid-afternoon expert panel session at Startup Marketing Conference, an esteemed group of marketers and technologists discussed how to manage a marketing organization that supports sales at all sizes of business. Panelists included:

Adam Metz, VP BD, Pandadoc (host)
Mike Berger, Director of Product Marketing @ Marketo (SMB)
Mikita Mikado, CEO, Quote Roller (startups)
Martyn Crew, Founder and CEO, Bootstrap Marketing (enterprise)

The first question related to each of the panelists first marketing objective and how they each nailed it. Mikado’s objective was signups and it took him three months to gain 4,000 users, but very few converted to paying customers. Crew’s enterprise background meant marketing supported sales and the key objective was deal flow. Berger’s primary objectives related to fueling the demand generation engine, putting in a system of measurement that correlated with business outcomes and creating a compelling story that differentiated the brand (messaging and positioning).
The next question: In the last five years, what was the single worst investment you made in marketing? Crew stepped up and led with general feedback from clients who were asked that question and the answer was universally “feel good” marketing campaigns (colors, fonts, and other fun stuff). Mikado’s thought was on hiring talent you don’t need... Read more

Startup Marketing Conference: Storytelling Rules Marketers Need to Know

Posted by Kent Lewis on October 23rd, 2014 at 3:32 pm

At the Startup Marketing Conference, the early afternoon panel on social media and storytelling included the following experts:
Colleen Pettit, Digital Media Manager, DoubleClick (panel host)
Todd Wilms, VP Digital, Neustar
Olivia June Poole, Director of Community Development, RocketSpace
Brewster Stanislaw, CEO and Co-Founder Inside Social

The first question related to content being king and how important it is overall. Stanislaw guided startups to focus on who the content is being produced for and how it can best be distributed. Poole reminded everyone that storytelling is more difficult when you don’t have an existing users, so it is important to get the stories out there early. Wilms took a more jaded approach, and cautioned against content for content’s sake. Take the time to find your voice before ramping up content.
The second question related to finding your story as a startup. Poole suggested interviewing early adopters to find out why they appreciate the product. Sans users, focus on education and thought leadership to start to build your story.
The third question addressed the conundrum of outsourcing content development to agencies or others vs. building it in-house. Poole indicated that agency partners are a luxury, so use them wisely (learn from them then do it on your own).... Read more

Startup Marketing Conference: 5 Low-Cost, High-Impact Ways to Grow Your Brand

Posted by Kent Lewis on October 23rd, 2014 at 2:51 pm

At the Startup Marketing Conference, Shira Abel, CEO of Hunter & Bard (and soon Muskateer) shared her thoughts on marketing on a budget. For starters, do not waste money marketing until you have a great product (or close to it). The next step is to focus on consistently thrilling the customer. The five low-cost, high impact ways to grow your brand are outlined below

Great product (word of mouth has a 70 percent trust rate)
PR (earned media, exposes you to large markets and has a 40 percent trust rate)
Content (owned media)
Email marketing (it has the highest ROI of all digital marketing, according to Shira)
Behavioral engineering (social proof for an achievement-oriented culture)
SEO, advertising & affiliate marketing (ad trust rate is 14-17% trust rate)
Relationship marketing

When it comes to doing PR for your brand, there are a few key steps:

Identify, connect with and engage industry influencers and media
Give them valuable information and build trust
Offer them initial beta product to test in exchange for coverage
Keep your ask short and reach out on a slow news day

Content can be cost-effective but time-consuming. That means you need to decide, as a startup, where your time (and money) is best spent. Content builds the brand and a relationship... Read more