Tag Archive | marketing

The Path of (Un)Certainty is Certain

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Story-Based Marketing

Yes. Storytell.

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It Can Wait

Deep from the trenches of startup marketing we hear voices. We hear voices that tell us if we just send one more email, draft one more press release, test one more variation on a landing page…that we’ll hit gold.

What we sometimes forget though in this process is our mental health and our team’s strength and stamina. And while I will (still) say most startups fail from lack of effective marketing, I’d also venture to say it’s because the leadership team burns out. They push until they start spinning, losing sight of what really matters.

I’ve been going hard with startups on and off now for over ten years. And the flame of the midnight oil often just burns brighter because as I/we see success, it persuades us that working hard(er) pays off and can (or should) replace our personal time.

It. Can. Wait.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in the past six months is that racing for the gold has its value. But not at the expensive of regularly eating dinner without always multi-tasking (working), or failing to read a bedtime story to my son several nights in a row, or repeatedly sparing sleep to get a few more projects done late at night. If anything, my/our work quality begins to degenerate and our prowess for seeing the more finite details becomes blurred.

Most projects can wait another 24-48 hours. (Let’s be honest – few of us are saving actual lives with our work.) In fact, people and projects are surprisingly forgiving to allow a little extra time for sleep or a family dinner which re-charges our brains and produces extended creativity.

An impressive addition to this topic was a little book on by Rick Beyer. Though I’m still working my way through all the fun stories like who really invented the lightbulb; the greatest, most inspiring section thus far was the introduction. The intro highlighted that many and most great scientific discoveries happened serendipitously.  That in the less forced, casual moments we often have our biggest break-throughs.

So to that – I’m not suggesting myself or others stop working all-together to achieve major break-throughs. But I do recommend more lunch breaks sans checking email, a 30 minute run every day, a happy hour meet-up here and there, and an exerted effort to learn something new (not work related) every week like a language or the history of Medieval Times.

It’s the unique facets of being human…of catching up with a friend for a few minutes, taking a walk outside, of pushing our physical and mental limits through exercise, or simply seeing things outside our 9-5 work zone that allow us to truly innovate and go from good to great.

It. Can. Wait.

Running the Gauntlet: Startup Tips to Live or Die By

Simpler said than done, or maybe it is just that simple?

Find out how a scrappy, focused approach to (startup) marketing will unleash your potential and strengthen you for the fight ahead.

Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Jeffrey Hayzlett

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Think Big, Act Small Interview: Making the Complicated Simple for (Startup) Marketers

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. – Charles Mingus 

HubSpot is the quintessential example of simplistic, creative tools for (startup) marketers. HubSpot also practices what it preaches, having grown revenues to $50M+ since 2006 by following the same principles below.  Mike Volpe, an original collaborator for ebook  and HubSpot’s CMO, shares with us his tips for startups to achieve the same success that HubSpot has had.

Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Mike Volpe
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Marketing to a Scanning Society

Today we are –
a society that embraces, even participates, in more topics and conversations than ever before — but, when distilled to our basic human nature (and brain power), do we actually only remember and truly care about a handful of things?

Just how much do you, or they, remember?  

*As published on

Q-Tips or AMEX: The Top 80 or Bottom 20

In startup land, “building to scale”  is a hot button. Everything must scale. If it doesn’t it dies.

So when building to scale, which percentage of a prospective audience do you build your business model around? The top 80, or the bottom 20?

It’s a valid argument on both sides of the fence. The top 80, theoretically, is attractive to the larger masses. It’s a product or service that many, many people need. It’s just short of being a household utility. Like . The top 80 needs them. It’s satisfies an assumption that most everyone will need to clean their ears. And it isn’t even short-lived. It’s a necessary evil that needs (almost requires) a product to step in on, every single day.

Whereas the bottom 20 can potentially monetize well, but well, isn’t something that everyone needs. It’s like and the Centurion Card. Yes, there is a market for this high-end, exclusive credit card. Someone, even many will benefit. But is the average credit card bearing citizen able to qualify? No. Nor is that the intention. It’s a product specifically designed for the top 20 (or maybe top 1%, in this scenario).

But worth noting is that AMEX didn’t start in credit cards, or even Centurion. They started with express mail, then moved to railroads, financial services, investment banking and eventually had built such a strong (and elite) following that they launched the Platinum card on the heels of the Card, which then transpired into more business and mainstream consumer credit cards. Short story – AMEX was an evolution that started with mass appeal, then moved to a profitiable niche.

So whether Q-Tips or AMEX, “Don’t Leave Home Without It”. (a.k.a. provide value to the many versus the few)

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Think Big, Act Small Interview: What’s Your (SeeMail) Story?

Today’s “Think Big, Act Small” interview is a story within a story. A startup marketer’s story about how storytelling has evolved from firesides to cave murals, to books and newspapers, to magazines and billboards, printed postcards and television commercials to mobile apps that we hold in the palm of our hand. See, speak, share. Get your story on.

Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Kent Speakman 

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Think Big, Act Small Interview: What’s Your Kred?

This week  joins the “Think Big, Act Small” interview series to explain why social entials matter. , versus , is unleashing (social) information that spells more than a four letter word. Learn how can, and should be, the foundation for establishing your industry footprint. The secret is in the data, even for SMBs and start-ups.  

Interviewer: Michelle Fitzgerald
Interviewee: Shawn Roberts

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