For startups, it is dangerous to entirely separate product and marketing – both strategically and organizationally. A great product isn’t overly useful without an audience. And a great marketing strategy can’t save a poor product. Product and marketing have to coexist.
So when imaging, building and eventually launching your product, it is important to also hone the marketing strategy. There are five core channels:
- Paid marketing (SEM, display, affiliates, etc)
- Social & viral marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Partnerships & business development
For early-stage companies, advertising at scale is expensive and consequently difficult. Furthermore, PR and business development become easier efforts as the company matures. So where does that leave you as a resource-constrained startup?
Marketing needs to come from the product itself. Last week I explored the role that social and virals play. And while the tech world is fascinated with social media and major platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we shouldn’t overlook the role of SEO (and consequently Google). Like Facebook and Twitter, SEO is another opportunity to expand your funnel and increase your audience — without an advertising budget! Also like social, SEO is far more effective when built directly into the product (“from the ground up”). Here are 14 guidelines for thinking about SEO.
Ryan is a Principal at Polaris Venture Partners and leads Dogpatch Labs California. Either as lead investor or board observer, he works closely with Automattic, Formspring, Frid.ge (acquired by Google), KISSmetrics, LOLapps, Movity (acquired by Trulia), Offline Labs, Recurly, and ShoeDazzle. Previously, Ryan founded beRecruited.com (acquired in 2007), spent 2003-2007 at eBay (internet marketing, social media & leading Kijiji.com) and launched InGameNow as part of sfEntrepreneurs, LLC. Most recently, Ryan ran marketing at Flite (formerly Widgetbox).