If I Had 100K. Perhaps the thought of only having 100K to spend on marketing was too miserable to even consider. However, it’s not that uncommon for a high-tech start-up.No one took me up on the Friday Dilemma
I thought I’d share my take.
In this scenario, a start-up company with a “killer app” is just entering the market. The founder of the company is not a marketer and is wondering if he should hire someone or maybe outsource marketing completely. He has set aside 100K for marketing in this first year and he’s asking you, as a marketing expert, what he should do.
For me, there are several things that stand out about this scenario:
- The founder of the company thinks he has the next “killer app.” That tells me that this is probably something he wants to market to early adopters. There’s also a good chance that this group of early adopters is tech-savvy. That’s not always the case, but if you’re marketing a new type of software app, your early adopters often are.
- This founder is also very realistic about what he can expect from his 100K this year. Obviously, he doesn’t want to waste the 100K, but he knows he’s building a foundation for years two and three.
The marketing expectations for this business are a little different than what you would expect from marketing for a more established B2B company with a sales team that needs marketing support.
Because the target market of early adopters is likely to be easy to reach via social media, this is one situation where I think it makes sense to start there. In addition, the potential killer-app status of this product, makes it a likely opportunity to reach social media influencers such as bloggers who might be open to spreading the word.
One small caveat to the social media recommendation. He needs to make sure that he includes traditional web based marketing like a website in his plans. This may or may not be the same vendor that handles his other social media marketing requirements.
I would tell the founder of this organization to reach out to someone who can help him put together a social media marketing plan. His options could include independent social media specialists to companies like HubSpot that provide a variety of social media (or what they call inbound marketing) services. Even if the founder is social media savvy, it helps to have a marketing specialist put together a plan.
He should talk to several vendors, get several proposals, and work with the ones who he feels understands his situation best and he feels most comfortable with. He won’t be able to do everything for 100K, but he can make a decent dent. However, the skills sets and approaches are likely to vary widely. He should give this careful consideration before he starts signing contracts.
In this case, I would also suggest that he hire an intern to help him manage the work with the vendors. There's always going to be a lot of miscellaneous legwork that he shouldn't have to be personally bothered with. A smart, eager intern can handle a lot more than most people think.
I like the idea of an intern in this situation because chances are that someone that young will be involved already in social media in a big way. Although I’ve always liked hiring interns outside of marketing (English or journalism majors, for example) this is a situation where I’d suggest sticking with marketing. Hopefully, he can find a great intern that he’s comfortable turning the marketing over to in years two and three.
Since he’ll have an intern who is still in learning mode, a key criteria for any social media vendor(s) that he works with would be that they allow this company to learn from them.
If his eyes are glazing over by this point I would suggest that he spend a little bit of money up front hiring a marketing expert to pull the plan together for him. (Sorry if that sounded a bit too self-promoting but by the time I’ve reached this point the founder of the company has started to doze off a bit.)
Anyone see this scenario differently?