Marketing Debt

Know thy Competition

Know thy Competition

You have to be aware of your competition in order to establish customer value and differentiate yourself. That premise applies even to books like The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups. So, it’s time for us to take a look at our competition.

Most retailers are a bit of a “walled garden” in that they have lots of data they don’t share with the vendors whose wares they sell. This includes books. What we do know is which are the best-selling books in the categories of “startups,” “new business enterprises,” and “starting a business.” Of course, which specific books are in the top 3 to 10 do change over time. But for the last year, two books have held steady in the top 10, typically at #1 and #2. They are Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and Eric Ries’  The Lean Startup. So, let’s look at what makes our book different from these.

Metrics, Metrics: Which Marketing Metrics Should Your Startup Keep Track Of?

Metrics, Metrics: Which Marketing Metrics Should Your Startup Keep Track Of?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” But after reviewing several dozen startup updates and seeing blogpost after blogpost with lists of metrics, it feels like a founder could spend a significant amount of time just compiling and tracking metrics. Every investor has their favorite metric. So, many startups end up monitoring nearly everything. Or, the opposite – monitoring nothing. 

The Most Important Marketing Iceberg by Startup Stage

The Most Important Marketing Iceberg by Startup Stage

We’ve started doing workshops using key ideas from our book, The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups. The goal of these workshops is to help startups identify which icebergs can be the biggest challenge by startup stage. Because, the primary tasks a startup undertakes changes by stage. So too, do the challenges they face.

It takes a Village…or at least a first Podcast!

Well actually, it takes a venture ecosystem to help startups flourish. Our academic research  explores venture ecosystems and how founders can create positive momentum, even when they don’t have a lot of financial resources. The reality is that founders must rely on the help of many others in the venture community to get feedback

Positioning: What Makes You Different and Better?

Positioning: What Makes You Different and Better?

In an earlier post about marketing strategy, we suggested that there are 3 key questions startups need to answer:

  1. Who are you talking to?  That’s your Target Market.

  2. What are you talking to them about?  This is the Frame of Reference, or the product category, or the group of competitors.

  3. Why should they choose you?  This is your Point of Differentiation.

The Price is Right?

The Price is Right?

Pricing is one of the hardest decisions, for both startups and larger firms. Price too low and there’s not enough profit; you leave money on the table. Price too high and you can’t get enough customers or build traction. Add in that many people see price as an indicator of quality. For those people, pricing too low indicates that your product offering isn’t valuable. What is the target market willing to pay? This question can be hard to answer.

Our Origin Story

Our Origin Story

Like every superhero (#Glass and thanks @StanLee @Marvel), every startup has an origin story. We shared a few pieces in our first blog post, Click to Send - which documented the moment of truth when we actually committed to being done writing so that @MorganJames could begin the publishing process. With the final book on its way, we thought it might be opportune timing to share our own origin story with the genesis of The Titanic Effect idea.

But first, an update on our journey -- last week we received (and signed) our first set of “pre-release” printed books…

50 Ways to Validate Your Startup Idea (Okay, it’s More like 5)

50 Ways to Validate Your Startup Idea (Okay, it’s More like 5)

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – a great startup founder has to be a little humble. Imagine that you see a problem and find a great solution. You get so excited. You envision a cool solution and start building a product. You figure out how much money you are going to need to get the product built and then…

How Startups can Navigate Around the Customer Value Void

In study after study, the number one reason that startups fail is that they do not offer something new that better meets customers’ needs. See the details in our previous blogpost on product/market fit. This same factor is the biggest predictor of new product failure as well. We call this the Customer Value Void– not offering something that is needed, that is a better solution than the current practice, and that is worth paying for…