Startup Topics: Growth Hacker Marketing, SAAS Metrics

A series of events led to this post.

First, I finished reading the book on Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday . I decided to try a few growth hacks for our products.  The first few were to dig a bit deeper and collect more information understand concepts better and start on some small projects  related to an initial analysis of my company’s customers.

While the book is a great intro to Growth Hacking, Ryan stresses that it is not a set of tools but a ‘mindset’. My second step was to watch this video from Paul Willard on Growth Hacking . Paul talks about lots of experiments he tried, and shares many observations. He talked a lot about Lifetime Value of customers (LTV), the importance of modeling it for future value.  I had a rough idea about LTV, but wanted to learn more. You can find the slides Paul used here.

I stumbled upon Jason Cohen‘s article –  Why I don’t like LTV metric . Here I was, all convinced about Paul’s ideas about LTV, and the very next day I am reading an article that says it is a wrong metric. Jason says that if you make your marketing spend decisions based on a wrong model of LTV, you will be wasting money but explains in another article a revised calculation of LTV.

I think I have enough stuff to get started with a few experiments on my own.

UnImaginative Marketing

I loved this fragment from Copy Blogger:

Unimaginative marketers attempt to stand out with message frequency, or by exchanging bribes for attention (resulting in an explosion of Facebook contests and giveaways, among other tactics).

You can’t survive by shouting the loudest and relying solely on anachronistic interruption marketing. You can’t proclaim you’re featuring the “biggest sale ever!” every day (I’m looking at you, Macy’s) or simply rewrite a portion of your online brochure and hope that Google funnels customers to your website.

I think we instinctively know this but we still resort to some of the interruption marketing techniques. I like this advice:

Use social media to promote useful information first, and your company second.

Marketing Plans

From How To Market Your Business:

I am not suggesting thirty pages of wild hopes, but most small firms should welcome the discipline of a couple of pages setting out:

  • what sales need to be achieved as a break-even;
  • what main segments should be targeted;
  • a short list of key accounts or potential heavy users;
  • promotional methods: adverts, newsletters (including e-mail), shows, direct mail, sales force, etc;
  • new products;
  • dates and costings;
  • review and monitoring.

Progressive Profiling

From Hubspot’s  How to Use Your customer Data to Recharge Your Marketing:

The best way to collect the right information is to use progressive
profiling. Progressive profiling allows you to control which questions
appear on a form based on what you already know about a lead. That
way, each time a lead fills out a form, you are collecting valuable new
information about them while keeping your forms short and easy to fill
You may start with something very basic like name and email and in each iteration (visit or action), you may gather some more information.

Role of Blogging in Partner Development

In this article Gilmore, Shipwire’s VP for marketing and business development,  provides useful tips for partner development. At the end he touches upon the payoff of blogging:

“We want to be a thought leader,” Gilmore says. “We want to be a visionary. We want to get our ideas out there.”It’s also a very easy way for us to put out a position and keep our customers and partners up-to-date. It also gives us feedback from them. Blogs can start anywhere in or outside the company, and some of our best have come from our customer support team. They’ll ask, ‘Can we write a blog about how to do XYZ? A lot of customers are asking about it.’ Sure, put it up.

“Finally, the more information you put out there, the better you’ll do with search engines. The more content you have, the better.

“You do have to know who the audience is, and get relevant information out there to start or join a conversation. We had a forum for awhile, but we turned it off because it wasn’t getting a lot of traction — there weren’t enough people involved — but we might go back at some point.”

Having the customer support team blog on how to do ‘xyz’ is a great idea. This article is a great read.

TiE Unconference in Chennai

You are an entrepreneur or trying to start a company. You have some ideas and even built a prototype. You want to talk to a few fellow entrepreneurs.

You are a professional working on some cool technology. You want to share some of your ideas on how to use/leverage this technology.

You have questions about some emerging trends. Is this space worth getting into? What are the risks? Are there any one out there doing this?

You want to know a bit about marketing. How do I go about finding a certain type of customer? How do I get my first customers?

You may be a successful startup but have questions about scaling your business. Find some meontors, coaches or just exchange notes with people who have done it before.

Many of us have these questions. We want to meet, discuss, comment, gather information and learn from others. We are willing to share what we know. Where do you go?

This is the goal of TiE Chennai Unconference.

We are trying a few experiments during this event. The success, of course, depends on you. If you are a professional or an entrepreneur, we would love to see you there.

1. We are putting together a panel of experts in scaling a business from a few people to a few hundred. You can bring your questions on finding, keeping, growing customers to this panel. It will be entirely audience driven.

2. Most of our sessions will be discussions. You can ask questions, share bits of knowledge and expertise and watch others do the same. Here is a place to find individuals you want to connect with and keep in touch even after the conference.

3. You have done an amazing job of telling us what you would like to talk about.  So as a group we know what we are going to discuss most. Here is the latest topic cloud in case you have not seen it before.

You are encouraged to come and  participate and tell a few friends who may benefit. We are really looking forward to this event. See you on 18th Sep.