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With so much a First Marketer can and should be doing to help a B2B tech startup get off the ground, it’s critical to ruthlessly prioritize tasks because you can’t do it all. At least, not all at once. It’s vital to prioritize what needs to get done, marketing-wise, so you can focus and succeed. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck doing what I call “random acts of marketing.” That’s a slow road to Nowheresville. Or maybe a fast road.

Random Acts of Marketing = Slow Road to Nowheresville” #contentmarketing #startupmarketing Click To Tweet

One of the ways I try to approach the daunting workload is to have a mindset of “iteration.” It’s common in startups (especially “Lean Startups”) to create a minimally viable product, or “MVP.” An MVP is faster to develop and, while there are numerous shortcomings, it allows the product team to begin testing the market response to the product, and prioritize development based on the feedback.

In marketing, we think of “lean marketing” where we create the minimally-viable asset just to get something out there and begin getting feedback, attention and leads. Of course, we don’t want to just throw out garbage, so have at least some dignity, ok? 

Lean marketing is about using a feedback loop, data, iteration and validation to build success with marketing efforts quickly. Marketers study results of small, trial campaigns, learn from the results and evolve the elements of the campaign. Lean marketing is about testing a visual and is quite the opposite of the “fire and forget” model that many enterprises and corporations unwittingly employ. Lean marketing is always iterative.


Iterating Marketing Tasks

The principle of iteration applies to marketing campaigns, assets, etc. When you create your website, for example, it’s more important to get the basic site looking decent and published live, than to wait until your fully-functional .net .asp fancy-schmancy website with all the bells and whistles and 100 pages of fully-optimized content is ready to go. 

Then, when you have the basic pieces in place, go back through them all and make the improvements you need to make to move it up a level. 

Staying with the website example, your first round might consist of:

  • Domain created with a hosting account; WordPress or other CMS installed
  • Use a basic theme to create a home page with basic information on your product, your company, etc.
  • Establish logo, colors, fonts, etc.
  • Install Google Analytics to begin gathering metrics

That’s not a lot, but it gets you moving in the right direction. In the next round you could:

  • Create additional pages for your products/services, one about the team, and a piece of “pillar content” describing the problem you are solving, who you are solving it for and what the ultimate benefits are
  • Set up a blog 
  • Ensure graphics are relevant and consistent with your brand
  • Begin keyword research to understand what your target phrases will be
  • Set up dashboards and custom goals in Google Analytics

The next rounds build upon that and go to the next level. They could include things like:

  • Adding specific landing pages for downloadable assets (with integration to your marketing automation system)
  • Posting regularly to your blog
  • Using your keyword research to create and implement an SEO strategy
  • More and more content

Iterating Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns can also begin simply, with a single target audience and a single channel. Then expand that to another audience and use more channels, adding additional elements to extend the campaign in a variety of ways. 

Build, test, iterate, improve. 

Because you are rolling it out more slowly, you have the opportunity to review metrics to see what’s working and build on that. A campaign built this way will become more successful than one that is just thrown out there all at the same time.

Iterating Marketing Assets

I have worked at companies where our first downloadable asset was a Powerpoint presentation turned into a pdf. At some point it went through a full design process to ensure the colors and gradients were correct and we were using the right font. Did it look better? Way! But did it generate more leads? Nope. People don’t see that until they download it. However, I’m sure the customer experience was better with the nicer one, but if the content is top notch, a simpler design isn’t going to lose you any business. 

Notice that I said “simpler” design, not “bad” design. I’m not recommending you put out sub-par quality. I’m just saying start simple, then improve.

In early-stage startups, speed is essential to success. An iterative approach to marketing tasks and deliverables will help you achieve more, faster. As a result, prospects begin the buyer journey sooner and the growth curve for the company is steeper.

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