Most tech entrepreneurs try to make building a business very scientific, very data driven. A/B testing + Google Analytics + Mixpanel + Intercom (or Customer.io). But I’ve found business is mostly run on gut decisions.
Our competition has large amounts of funding, so we can’t compete with them on buying banner ads and paid per click. We spend $5,000 a year on ads, they probably spend $500,000. So how can we stand out with our marketing efforts? Creativity. Our competitors can’t stay ahead of our creativity because they’d never get approval for the ideas we execute on.
The reality is we market without marketing. We travel and go to dinner with people. We blog about things unrelated to business. We hand out weird shirts at events. I’ve ridden a tricycle around an entrepreneurial festival handing out water bottles to strangers. I’ve written about health insurance, which seems like a boring task but it was fun to learn, overwhelming but fun.
I know we spend money doing things that don’t make sense from a marketing standpoint. But they’re fun to do, fun to talk about, and I think people notice these silly little things we do. I know if we put our true selves our there enough others will want to root for us.
Google analytics won’t properly track our kind of marketing and I have a few signups to prove it works. ;)
My best guess is we have to get in front of someone two to five times before they buy.
What’s the alternative? Sure we could spend more money on ads and less time and effort on other “silly” ideas. We could be predictable instead of choosing to surprise people. I could stamp out that creative idea and get back to “real work.” Instead of releasing our silly marketing, I could hoard our ideas, but then someday I’d look back and say, “I had a great idea but we never did it.”
If my job is marketing and design, I want to create marketing that I enjoy conceptualizing and sharing. Thankfully I’ve built a job mostly filled with tasks that I enjoy doing. The marketing we create I hope is enjoy by others who recommend our bookkeeping software to someone a friend.
If you wanted it to build a product you’d find a way to get time to work on it. If you really wanted to start that new hobby you’d sacrifice something to find the time and money to do it.
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