Marketing

For Startups at the Scaling Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Scaling Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the Growth stage. This blogpost is focused on the Scaling stage. The startup is selling something. It is moving to a growing venture in terms of products, customers, and employees. It may have the opportunity to get more significant funding through angel groups, and perhaps even A-round funding with venture capital investors. Significant investments in product development and support, marketing, and sales may follow. It likely now has a board of directors as well as one or more advisory boards. It is trying to accomplish extraordinary growth, or become a “Gazelle” (check the glossary in the book to find out more). Scaling requires moving from experiments to having known processes to escalate sales. Once again, the biggest challenges change across our Oceans of debtbergs…

For Startups at the Launch and Growth Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Launch and Growth Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the MVP stage. This blogpost is focused on the Growth stage. The startup is selling something and has moved from one to a number of paying customers. Hopefully by now, there is a team in place and an advisory board. It may even be seeking some type of outside funding. At this stage, the startup is balancing making progress in the Human, Marketing, and Technical Oceans simultaneously. So, the biggest debtbergs now include…

For Startups at the MVP Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the MVP Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the Pre-Revenue stage. This blogpost is focused on the MVP stage. As a reminder, at this stage a startup has begun building its management team, is developing an MVP (Minimally Viable Product), and is engaging with customers for proof of concept. But, it probably is self-funded or has friends and family for financial support. Now, the biggest debtbergs to avoid have changed from the Pre-Revenue stage…

For Startups at the Pre-Revenue Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Pre-Revenue Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

Our goal in The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups is to help startups steer around hidden debts, or debtbergs, on their path to success. These debtbergs arise because there are decisions startups have to make where the best possible path is uncertain. And, the consequences of these choices are like icebergs in that they are only partially visible. In the book, we detail 33 different debtbergs a startup might encounter, across the four Oceans of Human, Marketing, Technical and Strategy choices. As we’ve started using these materials with different audiences, we’ve recognized that the biggest, most dangerous debtbergs vary based on the stage of the startup. So, this blogpost and the next three detail the biggest debtbergs to manage at each stage of a startup. Check out the biggest debtbergs at the Pre-Revenue stage…

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. 

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.

Target Marketing 101 for Startups

Picking a marketing strategy is a lot harder for startups than it sounds. Why is that? Basically, it means making three inter-related decisions (that is, the answers to #2 and #3 change as #1 changes):

  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 to be dealt with.

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

But notice, the first key decision is “Who is the target market?”