Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are you a One Hit Wonder?

Another way to think of it is simply "Out of sight -- out of mind."

Markets have short memories, so whether you call them "hit and run campaigns" or "one hit wonders" this approach may cause a ripple in your website visits, but it will yield fleeting results.  (Super Bowl ads have been known to fall into this category, but don't get me started!)

Wouldn't You Rather Create Annuitizing Return on Your Marketing?
On the other hand, a sustained strategy that keeps your name and value prop in front of your market will earn annuitizing returns. In other words, the more you are seen, the more easily you will be recognized.  The more easily you are recognized, the more you will become preferred.  And, of course, if you are preferred, you will gain sales.  The more you sell, the more you are seen . . .  and so on, until you build quite a cache of brand equity along with enviable sales.

Whether you are marketing via social media, public relations, direct marketing, advertising or event marketing, the key is to maintain your visibility consistently and reliably.  (And the smart money will use multiple strategies -- two at least, three if possible). No where is this more important than in social media and web marketing in general.

Create a Rustle in the Bushes
The more activity you have on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account(s), the more likely it is that search engines will find you.  It's sort of like a hunting dog.  If the bushes are rustling with activity it will register in the dog's senses, and the dogs attention becomes attracted to the "e-rustling."  (Dog = Search Engine, Bushes = Blog, Rustling = Posts & Comments).

One of Tom Fishburne's recent cartoons takes a humorous and all-too-familiar poke at the One Hit Wonder mentality -- hope you enjoy it!

still on facebook | Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist

Monday, June 27, 2011

Funding in Context

I just attended an event at one of the most well-conceived (and successful) incubators in the Cambridge/Boston area. And that's saying something, considering the wealth of genius that has historically launched, taken up residence, and flourished here over many decades.

As many of you may have guessed, I'm writing about the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) and its Venture Cafe. Venture Cafe is one of many "value adds" this facility offers to provide its tenants with as many varied opportunities to become successful as it can. The facility itself is the brainchild of Tim Rowe. "He gets it," is an understatement.

A selling point for many entrepreneurs is the onsite presence of a small number of venture capital firms. The drive for funding among many in the Thursday evening crowd is palpable.  It's like The Grail.

And here's where I see a lot of confusion begin.  Let's face it, the road to viability is strewn with the remains of utterly brilliant ideas whose developers simply ran out of money.  It's scary and it makes founders do scary things to avoid it.  Like compromise their vision.

What should an entrepreneur be willing to give up for investors?  A title? Some equity?  Your vision?

When entrepreneurs start confusing their funding with the mission of their enterprise, they become overly vulnerable.  Vulnerable to the influence of spreadsheets over creativity. Vulnerable to the dilution of brand, culture and commitment that comes with having "too many chiefs and not enough indians" (another of my grandmother's aphorisms).

But here's the thing, in the end nobody will care how much you raised in what round, or who you raised it from.  What will make you or break you are your customers/clients and your reputation.  The True Grail.

So, here's a mantra for everyone out there seeking investment:  Funding is a means to an end -- not the end zone.

Seth Godin also posted brief blog entry on this topic a while back -- more glibly than I.  For more read Seth's Blog: Getting funded is not the same as succeeding