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Many of you have in the past, or continue to now, work with employers who do not understand the opportunity inherent in a good startup marketing program, or those that continue to think that anything using social media is essentially “free.”

I was in that situation a couple of years ago when I presented a marketing plan to my management. The company I worked for was an “older” company and had not really done anything with social media, demand generation or anything they would consider “new marketing.”

I basically had to start from zero, explaining how marketing should be working to fill the top of the sales funnel with leads, then they would need to be nurtured with the right content at the right time. We would score leads based on their behavior so when we passed leads to the sales team, they would be well-informed and ready to continue.

I presented a matrix that would be used to guide our content creation/curation process and present a relevant piece of content to our contacts at the right time and for the product they were interested in. All of this was well and good to management, but it had to be done “as cheaply as possible.”

Fortunately, I was able to get a marketing automation system approved because that was going to be key to my efforts. For the rest, I had to go back to the drawing board and revise the budget to remove any additional personnel, outsourced content creation and the bulk of the industry events and advertising that I had originally planned on.

While I like the idea of outsourcing the creation of content, it probably actually worked out better to not go that route. The portfolio I was marketing was a very specialized set of products for a fairly narrow market. I took charge of creating all content and recruited subject-matter experts within our organization to assist. This saved time and produced a better product overall.

Instead of attending industry events in-person, we turned to webinars (which was another expense I was able to get approved, thankfully) to engage with prospects as “in-person” as possible. This was another area where in-house SMEs were used, as well as customers who had engaged positively with us in the past.

It would have been very helpful to have additional personnel or tools to do things like monitor social networks more closely and help with all the ongoing tasks, but it was not to be.

I worked with what I had and took solace in the fact that the efforts I was making were beyond anything the company had done before. We were beginning to move in the right direction.

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