Startups: Don't Hire a PR Agency
I hope my PR friends won’t hate me after this post, but the point needs to be repeated: Startups should not hire PR agencies. It seems not a week goes by without hearing about young companies blowing huge wads of cash on “marketing” they’re not ready for. Some entrepreneurs get in this fix because they fail to distinguish between PR and other marketing tactics. They know intuitively or are told they ‘need marketing,’ but the first thing they think of is PR. As I’ve mentioned before, PR <> Advertising <> Word of Mouth <> Social Media, etc.
Before you hire a PR agency or even consider PR, the first thing you need to understand is what you are trying to accomplish, what is your objective. Second, you should consider whether that objective is right for the stage of your business. If you are an early startup, pre Product-Market fit, or even pre “Sales and Marketing Roadmap,” you should not hire a PR firm.
Natural Experiments in Product-Market Fit: How to know you don't have it.I attended the most recent Startup2Startup event and after the presentation, the discussion turned to how one might define Product-Market Fit and what might serve as a proxy for Product-Market Fit, given various types of business models. The Sean Ellis 40%...
Your Business "Driving Force"
In Andrew Chen’s recent post, “Does every startup need a Steve Jobs?”, he discusses IDEO’s “product framework for Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability.” Chen’s descriptions of business-, engineering-, and design-focused product perspectives reminded me of the work on companies’ “driving force” popularized by Michel Robert in his series of business strategy books. Understanding your “driving force” is critical to understanding what products to build and who to build them for. The driving force helps shape technology choices, importance of design, market segment, and business model as well as company culture, growth plan and exit strategy.
The basic point, is that while all companies employ technology, sell products or services, employ technology, market to specific segments and use certain distribution methods, one factor dominates (or should dominate) the others in terms of business strategy.
one component of the business is the driving force of the strategy — the company’s so-called DNA. This driving force, in turn, greatly determines the array of products, customers, industry segments, and geographic markets that management chooses to emphasize more or emphasize less
Here is a subset of driving forces Robert discusses:
I Don't Know
Three beautiful words. When used together, one of the most wonderful — if not most underused — phrases in our lexicon. Am I being hyperbolic?
Modern culture dictates that we claim to know, so we spend a lot of time knowing stuff. We expend much effort displaying our expertise. If we personally don’t know something, we rely on designated “experts,” who tell us they know (despite their unimpressive track record). We know where the stock market is headed. We know how countries will respond to “liberation.” We understand the ins and outs of other cultures. In relationships, we do not hesitate to state unequivocally the others’ thoughts, intentions and motivations. At some point in the past, we have “known” the world is flat, the sun revolves around the Earth and that spontaneous generation exists. Collectively, we know both that “God Exists” and that it doesn’t. We know that the people in our tribe are more intelligent, moral, and civilized than in theirs. Of course, they say the same thing.
Entrepreneurs: Know Thy Marketing!I don’t know who is more exasperated, entrepreneurs flummoxed by marketers or me, upset that another entrepreneur has been flummoxed by marketers! People, language is for communication and marketing terms, abused as they are, fall somewhere within the scope of...
The Truth About Evil MarketersA technical CEO learning marketing is the equivalent of a sales/marketing CEO learning development engineering. Not. I am not a developer. If push comes to shove, I can code in PHP, or develop shell scripts, and truth be told, I did take a couple of ECE courses in...
Elevator PitchNote: Originally published at SANDIOS. Everyone has heard of the “elevator pitch” and all entrepreneurs know they need one. Right? I’m talking about the ability to tell your business story in the time it takes the elevator to get the floor where your...
How to find early adopters
The toughest part about practicing customer development is getting started. You already know that customers are not going to magically find you because you have a great product, work hard and are good looking. Now that you’ve realized how big the world is and that using a megaphone from your roof top is a poor method of user acquisition, what’s next?
Presumably if you are committed to the principles of customer development, you are already committed to “getting out of the building.” Before you can interview potential customers, however, you have to find potential customers to interview. Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets. This is painstaking work. Just as with other portions of the customer development model, to find early adopters you make assumptions, test, and iterate. If you are having trouble getting started, try these steps: