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“Selling stuff is easy. All you gotta do is give away stuff that makes people happy …and then sell ‘em stuff that makes them even happier.” That’s not my quote, but one from internet marketing copywriter, Frank Kern. Is it really as simple as that? Certainly a model for many services and products across the web is, ‘Free now, subscribe later’. We get hooked by the brilliance of the offering (think Spotify for instance), but then are attracted to the ad-free Premium version, or other enhancements not available in the basic offering. Selling is therefore clearly still a huge driver for all businesses, but is it the only driver, or for that matter even the most important driver?

Think about things differently

Sales mean income, and we are all interested in the bottom line. However from the dotcom bubble onwards, a different paradigm has emerged, where even a business which is negatively trading can attract the dream of many startup...

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Digging for diamonds

In the late 1930s a new word entered American English: Dumpster. It was a shortened form of the name of a large trash container called the Dumpmaster, made by the Dempster Brothers manufacturing company in Tennessee. Dumpsters soon became the almost universal way of collecting large amounts of waste, and somewhere along the way the redistribution of that waste became known as ‘Dumpster Diving’. Yes, people would walk past a dumpster and see a perfectly good chair in there, climb in and reclaim it. Or books, or lamps, or anything. Now in cities around the world, dumpster diving is the way many street people get their daily meals.

Also along the way, journalists, private detectives and anyone interested in exposing secrets, learned that dumpster diving was also a prime source of useful collateral. Offices would throw out files of private client information, and the trash of Hollywood stars would be raked through for interesting correspondence to sell to the tabloid...

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Looking for The Base

audience marketing startups Sep 19, 2019

Successful people know who their audience is, or as the advisors to Donald Trump call it, ‘The Base’. Successful companies are the same: they don’t just scatter gun the market hoping that they will hit someone who is interested in their product. Instead they research and drill down, to really get to know who they’re dealing with. Knowing your audience is one of the most essential rules for any startup, except it’s kinda difficult: How do you know your audience if you’re only just beginning? Perhaps your product or service isn’t even fully up and running, so what can you do to attract people to something that doesn’t even exist yet?
Well, you can, and you must attract an audience. Included in that audience are your investors.

A typical startup will delay the moment they have to get to grips with finding their audience. Why? Because finding an audience feels difficult, and “No-one knows how to do it.” Well actually there are...

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Love is in the air

fans marketing startups Sep 12, 2019

Ask most company Founders what they need most in the early days of their startup, and they’ll look at you like you’re some kind of fool: “Money of course!” And where is that money going to come from? “Investors of course!”
So startups focus on the endgame of getting some cash into the business, and the last thing they consider is love.
Say what! What’s that Zaborszky character talking about now? Yes, I know that love is probably not on the To Do List of most companies, but it’s hugely important. Let me explain.

The Friends and Family approach to raising seed money is a very natural route when many Founders are first getting started. Our friends and our family are essentially investing in us, not necessarily in the concept of the new company. They are putting a little bit of their money behind us because they believe in us and want to see us do well. On a wider stage, the same feelings of warmth towards an enterprise mean that...

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Say cheese - convincingly

marketing startups story Sep 02, 2019

Being instantly ready to tell the story of a startup to investors, reporters, or a video camera, is an essential skill that all core team members must master.

Telling a great story about your startup is an absolutely vital part of the Marketing process. You need to catch the attention of your potential audience, hook them and reel them in - to borrow the analogy of fishing. Your story must be powerful and engaging, with an arc of beginning, middle and end. Your story must also be true of course – we are not in the business of catching our audience by making claims that we cannot back up. This doesn’t mean that our story should be dull however – quite the contrary.

So, let’s say that the startup team have put in the hours to refine the story to the point where it is now really Shiny and ready to be taken out into the world. There are meetups to attend, potential investors to speak to, some media appearances, and so on. Up to this point either everyone has...

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So you want to raise some money?

Money makes the world go round and without doubt it’s a prerequisite of all business startups. What are the initial models which will help get a business up and running?

Silly question right? Of course you want to raise some money. Money is the oxygen which will help your new enterprise live. Lack of money will stop your enterprise in its tracks, even before it has started rolling. So thinking about money from the get-go should be at the very forefront of all new startup planning. Here’s the surprise: it generally isn’t.

When you believe that your new gizmo will change the world, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the world maybe doesn’t want to change, or even worse, that no-one thinks your brilliant invention will be of very much use. It then comes as a shock to discover that while the planning for the product launch is going rather well, thank you, there are bills and wages to be paid, and a ton of costs coming down the line. Money is needed, but...

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What’s the point of Marketing?

marketing sales funnel Aug 16, 2019

We all recognize the moment of triumph when a sale is made. So is marketing of secondary importance, and just ‘making a noise’?

For most startups the most significant time is when the sale gets made. This can mean when investors are attracted at the right level, and with the right amount of money, and it can also mean when the product or service reaches the end-user. Money is countable and quantifiable.

Until the time that the money rolls in, the enterprise should be busily attending to their funnel. It used to be called the Sales funnel, but now most experts understand that Marketing and Sales work together so completely that unless they’re hand-in-glove, success is unlikely. In fact we now more often refer to the process as the Digital funnel, because it’s in the digital domain where most of our activity and efforts are concentrated.

So it’s a continuum, with the narrow end of the funnel being the sale, and the wide end being the start of ‘all...

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The Digital Marketing Funnel

funnel marketing startups Aug 08, 2019

What exactly is a Sales Funnel, and why is it important? We’ve all heard about the philosophy of funnelling, but the definition seems a little imprecise. In this short article I set out to clarify some points.

The idea of funnelling is always to push something to an inescapable conclusion, like filling a can with fuel. The funnel directs the liquid, or the process towards the desired result. Once upon a time, businesses were very focussed on Sales, and the Marketing part of the equation really only occupied the wider entry point of the funnel – the awareness and interest of the product or service. After that Sales took over, propelling a prospect to the inevitable moment when they said ‘Yes’. At least it was hopefully the inevitable moment.

Now, things are different, because Marketing runs all the way through the funnel, and in fact in the Digital Marketing Funnel, the functions of marketing and sales blend together. This is exactly how it should be to...

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Elevator pitches

marketing pitch startups Jul 08, 2019

Practicing Kissing

I’m currently advising a financial startup that is what I’d describe as being ‘highly engineered’. The Founders have thought of everything, and if their Whitepaper was an actual physical document, I guess it would be the size of an old telephone directory. Believe me, it’s comprehensive! The problem is that it’s too comprehensive for the initial reader. There’s a reason why news programs begin with the headlines – so that we can immediately understand what the main points are, and whether they are important to us. Only then do we decide if we want to watch, or read the detail.

The KISS principle was proposed by an engineer named Kelly Johnson back in the 1960s when he was working for the US Navy, and rapidly spread through the American armed forces. ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ is the idea that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. For ‘systems’ you can also...

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Coaching

coaching marketing startups Jul 08, 2019

Crossing the finish line

I’m very interested in success, and a lot of what I do is about helping my clients to realize the success of their projects. The 6 Steps approach that I have developed over the years is designed so that it can be applied to every sort of business startup, no matter what the product or service on offer is. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that their startup is pretty much like any other in the challenges it faces. How can a tech company be the same as - for instance - a food company? My reply is that in raising money and gaining market attention, there’s almost no difference, and that in order to assure success, the step-by-step approach is the only game in town. And yet many startups around the globe decide that they are the exception to the rule. Their talents and uniqueness will win through, and obviously their offering will soon be racing towards the finish line. Big mistake.

So while I’m very interested in success,...

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