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Startup Marketing in Tough Economic Times

“Times are tough.” “Budgets have been cut.” “You have to preserve valuable cash until the storm blows over.” “The competition won’t be spending money on marketing now, so there is less pressure to spend money ourselves.”  

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“Times are tough.” “Budgets have been cut.” “You have to preserve valuable cash until the storm blows over.” “The competition won’t be spending money on marketing now, so there is less pressure to spend money ourselves.”

 

If you are involved in marketing a startup today, I would be surprised if you haven’t heard these statements lately….at least once. Panic has set in and skittish CEOs and boards have laid down the law. Cash talks and marketing walks….at least for now.

 

Au contraire! If your company has money, then NOW is the time to break out of the pack and assure that your company is one of the winners who will survive this downturn. How do you do it, without breaking the bank? Here are some tips for inexpensive (but time-consuming) activities:

  • Track stories that talk about relevant trends. Respond in detail to those stories with meaningful feedback. Avoid the urge to be sales-y and push your product/service. An honest opinion relating to a story goes a long way and potentially builds a good relationship with reporters.
  • Pitch bylined articles with journals that will accept them. Great, free publicity. Again, avoid all urges to try and sell your product/service – instead provide valuable insight and information.
  • If you have the right staff, frequent the online forums and groups who are interested in your area of expertise. Establish yourself as an expert in your field and position your company as a leader/trendsetter. Beware, this is extremely time-consuming and it requires a lot of effort. If you don’t have the time, or the stomach for this, better to just follow the crowd and not participate. And, never, ever look at this as an advertising channel. If you think people will tolerate sales pitches or you pushing an agenda, forget it. If you are not truly sincere about this, don’t attempt it.
  • Create a video, presentation, or other piece that clearly shows your valuable proposition. Post the piece on publicly-available sites where people go looking for information. Tag and link to the piece from everywhere you can (web site, sales presentations, marketing materials, etc.). Just posting a video or presentation doesn’t mean people will necessarily see it (think YouTube…), but it does give you the opportunity to send prospects and other interested parties somewhere to get more information that doesn’t require sending large files. Promoted properly, this can be very powerful.

 

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I will cover some more traditional activities in the next post.

About the author

A technology strategist for an enterprise software company in the collaboration and social business space. I am particularly interested in studying how people, organizations, and technology interact, with a focus on why particular technologies are successfully adopted while others fail in their mission.

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