Execute Tactics More Strategically

Execute Tactics More Strategically
Use what you know, or can infer, about your customers’ behaviors to help you make better marketing decisions. Check out this brief video for ideas on becoming more precise in how you execute your marketing...

The Top Reasons Startups Fail

The Top Reasons Startups Fail
I recently came across some research done by CB Insights about The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail. They’re data aggregators backed by the National Science Foundation and other heavyweights, and they regularly read startup post-mortems and compile an aggregation of why startups fail.  The first thing that really stood out to me was that HALF...

Smarter Marketing for Smaller B2Bs

Smarter Marketing for Smaller B2Bs
Background: Earlier this month, I met with Mark, the founder of $100K B2B cabinet hardware company. His five product lines consist of colorful knobs and handles, and he’s just about to launch two new lines in neutral colors. Like most companies in this space, the bulk of Mark’s business comes from showroom sales to interior...

The Care and Feeding of Your Brand Ambassadors

The Care and Feeding of Your Brand Ambassadors
One of the Techstars companies I mentored this summer, Pak’d, delivers healthy custom lunches to your door. Targeted at moms, Pak’d has had a lot of success using a “Mombassador” program in the Chicago area as part of its launch. I was recently having lunch w Rebecca, one of the co-founders, when she asked me for advice about managing and...

Five Favorite Marketing Hacks

Five Favorite Marketing Hacks
There’s no greater marketing challenge for a startup than a budget that is almost non-existent. Whenever I work with entrepreneurs who are in a low to no-budget situation, one of the first things I ask them is: How much skin are you willing to put in the game? Because in the entrepreneurial world, passion and scrappiness are going to be...

Learning About Your Customers For Free

Learning About Your Customers For Free
I had coffee a few weeks ago with an investor. One of his portfolio companies is having some growth problems and he’s been thinking that maybe they need to spend money on marketing help. The company is a farm-to-market retail store in a somewhat obscure location without much customer foot traffic. Because the company is small, can’t...

Netflix: Building a World Class Brand

Netflix: Building a World Class Brand
Earlier this month I facilitated a two-day marketing team offsite for a technology client that went public about a year and a half ago. The company is in the midst of building their 2016 marketing plan so the CMO wanted to bring together her large, geographically diverse leadership team in one location for team building and brand strategizing....

Startups: 5 Easy Creative Partner Hiring Tips

Startups: 5 Easy Creative Partner Hiring Tips
Reaching out to friends and colleagues for creative resource recommendations is a great starting point for any agency search, whether you’re a start up or not. But unlike larger, more established companies, startups don’t often have the resources to hire an agency, so a friend’s positive recommendation might very well be the only assessment...

Dollar Shave Club’s Viral Video: Behind the Scenes

Dollar Shave Club’s Viral Video: Behind the Scenes
Google recently told one of the startups I advise, ZipFit, that they should consider adding a YouTube video ad to their online mix to increase their overall click through rate. That’s easy for Google to say, but ZipFit has almost no budget for marketing of any kind. However the ZipFit team figured that if Dollar Shave Club could throw...

Three Research Pointers for Beginners

Three Research Pointers for Beginners
Earlier this year I wrote a three-part series on the Top Ten Entrepreneurial Research Mistakes. One of my favorite market research professionals, wrote to me and suggested adding three additional points: 1) Don’t assume you know how to ask the right questions. Get a book on research questioning or find a friend in the field. That is the...