At Innovation Endeavors, we want to help the individual team leaders from within our portfolio companies have the opportunity to connect. Because our portfolio includes predominantly early-stage companies, these domain experts in marketing, design, business, or product are often running small, scrappy teams, where everyone in the group has to work well beyond his or her comfort zone. In order to help these fearless leaders continue to expand their skill set, discover new tools, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with sharing a war story or two, we host dinners and working groups that are focused on a particular area of expertise.
Recently, we got together with the marketers from several companies to discuss organic acquisition and retention. Our special guest was Tamara Mendelsohn, the VP of Marketing at Eventbrite, where she has built the marketing organization from a team of 1 (herself), to over 40. Here are some tips she had to offer:
1. Surveying is an incredibly valuable tool for messaging development—ask colleagues to describe the offering to hear how they do it, then ask customers to describe the offering, and see how it differs. Use both sets of language to develop blended positioning that helps carry the story along, resonating with the aspirations of the team* and the real-life experience of users.
2. At an early-stage company, funnel conversion is your biggest priority as a marketer. To optimize quickly, look at the negative space in your funnel (where people are dropping off), and start trying to connect with the people you loose mid-way through.
3. Trust your instincts! At early stages, when you don’t have loads of data to work from, you have to trust your gut. Get colleagues on board by communicating what you’re trying to accomplish in a marketing plan, identify a singlemetric to focus on for 6-12 months, and experiment with every possible way to move that needle. If something fails, make a list of all the possible reasons why it could have gone wrong (audience, message, medium) and trust your instincts on which is the likely cause.
4. Whenever you collect a piece of information from a user (or potential user), it’s a trade. You need to give something back in order to ask for that email address! This could be a whitepaper or newsletter content—whatever that person is going to find most valuable. Test different sign-up flows to see how much information is the right amount of information to hide behind a sign-up page.
5. The group also shared some of their favorite marketing tools and platforms, which include:
So to all the scrappy marketers who have had to hack conversion funnels or make product positioning decisions on gut instincts alone, here’s to your courage. The next time you need some inspiration, Tamara recommends checking out Simon Sinek, who can help you think about how your company can connect with a broader, more loyal audience.
*When I worked with Tamara at Eventbrite, I had the opportunity to make the company’s Voice Guide. To come up with the foundation of our brand voice, I actually started with the strengths of individual colleagues. The first page in the guide references three people: Brianna, Tricia, and myself. By building the foundation of the voice out of the traits we manifest in the office, I was able to make it easier for all 250 Britelings to understand what the Eventbrite voice should really be.