The top five behaviors in startups that reduce the effectiveness of marketing:
1. Edit the marketing to death until you are perfectly happy with it. This the fastest way to create yes-man marketing that jumps, jumps, jumps to your demands yet brings few breakthrough ideas to the marketing process. The result is marketing that is only as good as you are at marketing, which may not be your strongest suit. Unless the marketing is technically incorrect, leave the responsibility to generate response with the person responsible for marketing. Set goals and measure results. Leave the part in the middle to someone else. The marketing gets better very quickly that way.
2. Only do what can be measured. Demand generation and clicks can become the only defensible marketing in a data-driven environment. There are many other activities that will generate a lead but not directly measurable from the campaign. Publishing thought leadership articles is one. Video is another. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “not everything that is important can be measured, and not everything that can be measured is important.”
3. Do too much in-house. Is the DIY model best for marketing? Agencies, designers, mail houses, SEO specialists, AdWords specialists, copywriters, social media specialists are all out there waiting for you to tap their expertise. You’ll free up enormous amounts of time for better strategic thinking, planning for growth, analysis of data, hiring and operational improvements.
4. Become the black hole. Marketing is always on deadline and new opportunities arise on a moment’s notice. Marketing emails and messages to you are ignored until 5 pm, the magical time when marketing issues are decided, material in process gets reviewed, and new projects assigned. In 20 years of marketing consulting to startups, I’ve found the busiest time of the day begins at 4:55pm.
5. Initiate the fast-slow-fast project. Then repeat. Speed and urgency are key components to many successful startups. Experienced marketers can move very quickly to meet a deadline- I like to say it takes 20 years of experience to come up with a solution in 20 minutes. But a super-rush marketing project that needs an overnight solution will tend to languish in the approval process and then require extra rush work (and rush charges if it involves printing) to meet the deadline. The fast-slow-fast project causes no end of problems to everyone involved. Keep the project moving at a fast pace. Make the approval process a priority. Your marketing will be better for it.