Tips for managing growth across iOS updates

“I’ve seen startups spend thousands of dollars inefficiently as a result of not having optimal signal in their paid acquisition campaigns. I’ve also spent millions at companies such as Postmates refining our signal to the best possible state,” says growth marketer Jonathan Martinez in a guest column for Extra Crunch this week. “I’d like every startup to avoid the painful mistake of not having this set up correctly, instead making the most of every important ad dollar.”

The TechCrunch team has been busy this past week, especially with Disrupt next week and the iOS 15 release date quickly approaching. If you haven’t already registered for Disrupt, it’s not too late to get a ticket. We’re excited for all of the sessions, including “The Subtle Challenges of Assessing Product-Market Fit” on Tuesday, September 21 from 2:05 PM – 2:45 PM EDT the Extra Crunch stage. The marketing world was full steam ahead this past week, Martinez covered how to optimize signal and Miranda Halpern spoke with Vivek Sharma, CEO of Movable Ink about the impact that iOS 15 will have on email marketers. We also had guest posts from Bryan Dsouza of Grammarly and Xiaoyun TU of Brightpearl. More details below.

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

If you didn’t already hear, we’re giving away one free ticket to Disrupt, through the Experts survey. Check out the schedule for Disrupt, and read on to learn about the giveaway details:

  • Have you already submitted a recommendation? That’s great — we’re counting all previous survey submissions as an entry for the Disrupt ticket.
  • We’ll also enter the next 100 survey submissions into the giveaway.
  • Do you want to submit 10 recommendations to increase your chance at winning? We love the enthusiasm, but we ask that you only submit one recommendation for each marketer that you’ve worked with.
  • Don’t know what to say in your recommendation? Start with what traits they had, what they did to help your company, how their work affected your business and go from there!
  • We manually go through all entries, so please don’t copy and paste the same response multiple times.
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  • The survey will stay open, but we won’t be counting submissions as entries to this giveaway after Sunday, September 19, 11:59 pm PT.

Marketer: Andrew Race, Juice
Recommended by: Orin Singh, Merchant Industry
Testimonial: “We were referred to Juice by a family friend of my company’s owner and as a personal courtesy they said they were giving us their best guy. Naturally we thought that is what everyone says but they were not kidding. Andrew was singularly leagues above our previous marketing company. Having someone so knowledgeable and willing to learn a new industry proved to be the turning point for us.”

In growth marketing, signal determines success: Martinez learned from his mistakes, and share the lessons learned with us. From selecting the signal, to how to enhance it, Martinez covers key aspects including how to take advantage of iOS 14. He says, “So how do you stay ahead and continue moving the needle on your growth marketing campaigns? First and foremost, constantly question the events you’re optimizing for. And second, leave no stone unturned.”

Marketers should plan for more DIY metrics as iOS 15 nears: The release of iOS 15 will change that playing field for marketers. They’ll have to rely on metrics that use zero and first-party data rather than relying on email open rates as the main metric. Miranda spoke with Sharma about how this release will impact the industry and what marketers should focus on. One tip from Sharma is, “Focus on down funnel metrics like clicks and conversions — that’s what it really comes down to and that’s the truest indicator of engagement.”

(Extra Crunch) Demand Curve: How to get social proof that grows your startup: Nick Costelloe, head of content at Demand Curve, dives into social proof and how startups can use it to their advantage. On social proof, Costelloe says, “Have you ever stopped to check out a restaurant because it had a large lineup out front? That wasn’t by chance. It’s common for restaurants to limit the size of their reception area. This forces people to wait outside, and the line signals to people walking past that the restaurant is so good it’s worth waiting for.”

(Extra Crunch) 5 things you need to win your first customer: Dsouza, product marketing lead at Grammarly, walks us through how to win your first customer. He includes explanations, how-tos, and practice use cases. Dsouza says,” . . .ask any founder what really proves their startup has taken off, and they will almost instantly say it’s when they win their first customer.”

(Extra Crunch) 4 ways to leverage ROAS to triple lead generation: TU, global director of demand generation at Brightpearl, walks us through ways to use return on advertising spending (ROAS). She says, “When you choose a return metric, you need to make sure it matches your company goal without taking ages to get the data.”

Tell us who your favorite startup growth marketing expert to work with is by filling out our survey.

#advertising-tech, #ec-growth-marketing, #growth-marketing, #growth-roundup, #marketing, #startups, #tc, #tc-experts, #verified-experts

Demand Curve: How to get social proof that grows your startup

When people are uncertain, they look to others for behavioral guidance. This is called social proof, which is a physiological effect that influences your decisions every day, whether you know it or not.

At Demand Curve and through our agency Bell Curve, we’ve helped over 1,000 startups improve their ability to convert cold traffic into repeat customers. We’ve found that effectively using social proof can lead to up to 400% improvement in conversion.

This post shares exactly how to collect and use social proof to help grow your SaaS, e-commerce, or B2B startup.

Surprisingly, we’ve actually seen negative reviews help improve conversion rates. Why? Because they help set customer expectations.

How businesses use social proof

Have you ever stopped to check out a restaurant because it had a large line of people out front? That wasn’t by chance.

It’s common for restaurants to limit the size of their reception area. This forces people to wait outside, and the line signals to people walking past that the restaurant is so good it’s worth waiting for.

But for Internet-based businesses, social proof looks a bit different. Instead of people lining up outside your storefront, you’re going to need to create social proof that resonates with your target customers — they’ll be looking for different clues to signal whether doing business with your company is “normal” or “acceptable” behavior.

Social proof for B2B

People love to compare themselves to others, and this is especially true when it comes to the customers of B2B businesses. If your competitor is able to get a contract with a company that you’ve been nurturing for months, you’d be upset (and want to know how they did it).

Therefore, B2B social proof is most effective when you display the logos of companies you do business with. This signals to people checking out your website that other businesses trust you to deliver on your offer. The more noteworthy or respected the logos on your site, the stronger the influence will be.

Social proof for SaaS

Depending on the type of SaaS product or service you’re selling, you’ll either be selling to an individual or to a business. The strategy remains the same, but the channels will vary slightly.

The most effective way to generate social proof for SaaS products is through positive reviews from trusted sources. For consumer SaaS, that will be through influential bloggers and YouTubers speaking highly of your product. For B2B SaaS, it will be through positive ratings on review sites like G2 or Capterra. Proudly display these testimonials on your site.

Social proof for e-commerce brands

E-commerce brands will typically sell directly to an individual through ads, but because anyone can purchase an ad, you’re going to need to signal trust in other ways. The most common way we see e-commerce brands building social proof is by nurturing an organic social media following on Instagram or TikTok.

This signals to new customers that you’ve gotten the seal of approval from others like them. Having an audience also allows you to showcase user-generated content from your existing customers.

How to collect social proof

There are five avenues startups can tap to collect social proof:

  1. Product reviews
  2. Testimonials
  3. Public relations and earned media
  4. Influencers
  5. Social media and community

Here are a few tactics we’ve used to help startups build social proof.

#assistant, #cloud, #column, #e-commerce, #e-sports, #ec-column, #ec-growth-marketing, #ecommerce, #growth-marketing, #marketing, #review-tools, #saas, #social-media, #social-networks, #social-proof, #startups, #user-generated-content, #verified-experts

Data remains a vital part of the marketing world

“One of the biggest things that brands struggle with is figuring out attribution, and how you continue to spend money even though you may have lost some signal into the platform,” says Greg Gillman, chief revenue officer of LA-based performance marketing agency MuteSix, “If Facebook skews too heavily, and Google is on last click, then sometimes it looks like things are never working. To help companies make informed business decisions, we are building statistical models that show information at higher-than-the-platform level.”

Another week, another growth recap. TechCrunch has been busy working to expand not only our staff editorial content, like Anna Heim’s interview with MuteSix this week, we’re also working on increasing our guest posts as well for growth marketing. In this recap, we have an article from guest columnist Jonathan Metrick, an episode of the Equity podcast that features Metrick, TechCrunch Managing Editor Danny Crichton and TechCrunch Senior Editor Mary Ann Azevedo.

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

If you didn’t already hear, we’re giving away one free ticket to Disrupt through the Experts survey. Check out the schedule for Disrupt, and read on to learn about the giveaway details:

  • Have you already submitted a recommendation? That’s great — we’re counting all previous survey submissions as an entry for the Disrupt ticket.
  • We’ll also enter the next 100 survey submissions into the giveaway.
  • Do you want to submit 10 recommendations to increase your chance at winning? We love the enthusiasm, but we ask that you only submit one recommendation for each marketer that you’ve worked with.
  • Don’t know what to say in your recommendation? Start with what traits they had, what they did to help your company, how their work affected your business and go from there!
  • We manually go through all entries, so please don’t copy and paste the same response multiple times.
  • Have a question about the giveaway? Send us an email at ec_editors@techcrunch.com.

Marketer: Kevin Miller, GR0
Recommended by: Leeann Schudel, The Word Counter
Testimonial: “Super detailed analysis of the space and what keywords to target that would move the needle the most. There is a full dedicated SEO team that communicates weekly at the minimum and provides in-depth analysis. They are very transparent with their strategies and explain all moves they are making on their end and how it will benefit our company. Super easy and flexible to work with, aren’t stingy on deliverables and are always there as a consultant.”

Marketer: Subfolder
Recommended by: Hayley Sonntag, Podium
Testimonial: “They delivered an end-to-end content marketing program that drives 150,000+ organic website visitors every month.”

Marketer: Jordan Banafsheha, icepop
Recommended by: Mini Dreamers
Testimonial: “He had experience in e-commerce and impressed us on our first call with how detailed and thorough he was with his plan.”

Marketer: Mike Le, CB/I Digital
Recommended by: Tony Drockton, Hammitt
Testimonial: “In the two years of conversations I’ve only spoken to a few people that are so analytical and data-driven. His unique in-house algorithms to scale spend have allowed us to maintain the hypergrowth (60%) that we’re on.”

Marketer: Visiture
Recommended by: Stephanie Bregman, Manly Bands
Testimonial: “I have worked with Visiture in the past. They have great attention to detail and really listen to their clients. Their ability to write great optimized content and perform outreach is what makes them stand out from other agencies and helped grow our ranked keywords faster than any other agency could. They have also helped us with our email flows and strategy and have been a great partner.”

Marketer: Tuff
Recommended by: Luke Oehlerking, Zenernet
Testimonial: “We were looking for a team focused on marketing that can truly move the needle with measurable results. And we wanted a company that can function as an extension of our own team, which Tuff seems to do exceedingly well at!”


Performance marketing agency MuteSix bets on content and data to boost DTC e-commerce: Anna spoke with Greg Gillman from MuteSix as part of our TechCrunch Experts series. This interview dives into performance marketing, what differentiates MuteSix from other agencies and the importance of data. Gillman says, “There’s one other piece that I think is super important and usually overlooked: first-party data. We work with brands to try and acquire as much of that first-party data as possible, segment it and use it, because that’s what they’d be left with if Facebook shut off tomorrow.” Read the full interview to find out what other pieces of data MuteSix focuses on.

(Extra Crunch) Use cohort analysis to drive smarter startup growth: Jonathan Metrick’s guest column explains not only what cohort analysis is, but why it’s important — especially to startups, using Black Friday in November of 2020 as an example. Metrick says, “Savvy marketers can go further and leverage cohort analysis to remove biases hidden within averages or blended metrics. One way to do this is segmenting ARPU by paid and organic channels, which allows you to gauge the sustainability of your customer growth.”

TikTok, influencers on the clock: Metrick joined the Equity crew to lend his expertise about growth marketing, especially in the ever-changing COVID-19 world. This episode is a must-listen.

Tell us who your favorite startup growth marketing expert to work with is by filling out our survey.

#ec-growth-marketing, #growth-marketing, #growth-roundup, #marketing, #tc

TikTok, influencers on the clock

Alex is on a well-deserved vacation this week, so for the Equity Wednesday deep dive, we took the conversation to Twitter Spaces. Danny, Mary Ann and Jonathan Metrick, the chief growth officer at Portage Ventures, dove into growth marketing. You can listen to the full episode on the Equity Podcast feed.

This conversation was spurred by the TechCrunch Experts project, where we’re looking for the best growth marketers for startups. Metrick was recommended to us in July (you can read his featured recommendation in our growth roundup) and we were eager to learn from his experience.

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • Influencers taking on the marketing world
  • The challenges marketers face with iOS 14
  • How Metrick sees trends developing geographically
  • What holiday advertising might look like in 2021
  • How to build a growth marketing team

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#ec-growth-marketing, #equity, #equity-podcast, #experts, #growth-marketing, #influencers, #marketing, #podcasts, #social-marketing, #startups, #tc, #tik-tok, #verified-experts

Making a splash in the marketing world

“There are three common blunders that most SaaS marketers make time and again when it comes to clarity and high-converting content,” says Konrad Sanders, founder and CEO of The Creative Copywriter, “1. Not differentiating from competitors. 2. Not humanizing ‘tech talk.’ 3. Not tuning their messaging to prospects’ stage of awareness at the appropriate stage of the funnel.”

In an oversaturated market, how can you differentiate yourself? This week in marketing, Sanders took the time to answer that, break down B2B SaaS marketing, and tell us how marketers can do it right. Anna Heim, Extra Crunch daily reporter, interviewed Robert Katai, a Romanian marketing expert, as part of our TechCrunch Experts series. If there’s a growth marketer that you think we should know about, fill out our survey and tell us why!

Marketer: One Net Inc.
Recommended by: The Good Ride
Testimonial: “Exceptional SEO expertise. My e-comm startup relies 100% on SEO traffic and three years ago we were delisted from Google because we didn’t understand about duple content. One Net fixed our site and optimized it for Google, which allowed us to get back into the SERPs. Bottom line is: They saved our business.”

Marketer: Natalia Bandach, Hypertry
Recommended by: Jean-Noel Saunier, Growth Hacking Course
Testimonial: “Natalia is someone with an out-of-the-box approach to growth drivers and experimentation, full of creative solutions and many ideas that she quickly tests through experimentation. Rather than focusing on one area, she tries to verify what makes the most sense to a business and designs experiments that are crucial not only short but also long term. She is an ethical growth manager, likes to know that the business brings real value and is ready to pivot in every direction, [which] she does fast, however, with a focus on the team’s well-being, professional growth and always avoiding burnout.”

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

Marketer: Avi Grondin, Variance Marketing
Recommended by: Adam Czach, Explorator Labs
Testimonial: “They have a hands-on approach and worked with my team to not only drive results, but educate us on how we can grow our company further.”

Marketer: Nate Dame, Profound Strategy
Recommended by: Amanda Valle, Adobe
Testimonial: “They offered a robust content research, management and writing platform, which is enabling us to manage, produce and collaborate around our content better.”

Marketer: Oren Greenberg, Kurve
Recommended by: Michael Lorenzos
Testimonial: “He’s the most well-versed growth marketer I’ve met with a wide range of expertise and an uncanny ability to zoom in and out for business context and tactical implementation.”

(Extra Crunch) Are B2B SaaS marketers getting it wrong?: Konrad Sanders, a content strategist in addition to being the founder and CEO at The Creative Copywriter, wrote about SaaS marketing for Extra Crunch. He dove into what SaaS marketers are getting wrong, how to stand out in the crowded industry and the importance of how to approach each section of your funnel. Sanders says, “By creating content for every stage of the funnel, you’ll address your prospects’ concerns at the appropriate point in the buyer journey and increase the chances that when they do come to make a purchase, it’s with you.”

Romanian marketing expert Robert Katai explains how to get the most out of your content: This week, Anna profiled Robert Katai. Katai told her all about Romania’s startup scene and his views on repurposing content. When speaking about using content for carousels on Instagram and LinkedIn, he says, “The first slide should grab attention — it can be a question. The second slide can be a link to the interview so that even if people don’t click it, it will be on their minds. Then you can have slides with insights.” Read the full interview to find out what the third slide should be!

Tell us who your favorite startup growth marketing expert to work with is by filling out our survey.

#content-marketing, #ec-growth-marketing, #experts, #growth-marketing, #growth-roundup, #marketing, #saas, #tc, #tc-experts, #verified-experts

Growth roundup: Mail privacy protection and growth marketing beyond the tactics

“Email impacts marketing strategy and enables better overall business success. It’s the lifeblood of an effective multichannel campaign,” says Melissa Sargeant, CMO at Litmus. “However, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection — announced earlier this summer with its iOS 15 update — attempts to eliminate metrics and data associated with email.”

This week in marketing, Sargeant dives into the changes that Apple is making through the new privacy protection in iOS 15 and how these updates affect marketers. Sergeant leaves no stones unturned, covering the impact on consumers and how marketers can prepare for this. Anna Heim, Extra Crunch daily reporter, interviewed some team members at Ascendant, a London-based agency, about the methods they use when working with startups, no matter what stage they’re in.

Ascendant was recommended to us through our Experts Survey. If there’s a growth marketer that you’ve enjoyed working with, we’d love to hear about them. Please fill out our survey.

Marketer: Jack Abramowitz
Recommended by: Frida Leibowitz, Debbie
Testimonial: “Jack is personable, sharp and overall a super helpful guy. He genuinely wanted to help and started adding value before we even formalized our relationship. Whether it’s making useful intros, or getting into the nitty-gritty details of campaign strategies, he rolls up his sleeves and gets right in the trenches together with the team. He’s really treated our project as his own.”

Marketer: Nate Dame, Profound Strategy
Recommended by: Diana Tamblyn, Danaher
Testimonial: “[I] did a fairly extensive search for a content partner. [I] was impressed with their expertise, their references (I spoke to three), and their growth forecasting.”

Marketer: Kyle Lacy
Recommended by: Natalie Beaulieu, Seismic
Testimonial: “Kyle is a marketing master of none, and successfully built a brand that is fun, engaging and lively out of the otherwise dull ‘sales readiness’ and ‘corporate LMS’ industries. When’s the last time a B2B brand had a llama for a mascot and sent golden llamas to its customers? He leads a team of writers, creatives, performance marketers and more as one cohesive team, fueling Lessonly’s growth through to its acquisition by Seismic. Can’t wait to see what he does at Seismic!”

(Extra Crunch) Apple is changing Mail Privacy Protection and email marketers must prepare: Melissa Sargeant wrote a guest column about email privacy changes and what it means for marketers. Sargeant says, “Litmus data collected from over a billion email opens worldwide found Apple Mail held a 48.6% total share across iPhones, Macs and iPads in June 2021. Though down slightly from April (51.1%), the data still suggests Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will significantly impact email marketers, entire marketing teams and especially consumers.” Sergeant also covers how marketers can prepare for these changes.

For British agency Ascendant, growth marketing is much more than a set of tactics: Anna Heim spoke with Ascendant, a British growth agency, about their experience working with startups. Gus Ferguson, co-founder of Ascendant tells us, “We also know that probably one of the biggest barriers to growth is marketers being dependent on developers, which are such a rare resource. We address that by implementing marketing frameworks at a basic level of the business whereby marketers are able to at least control basic marketing operations directly.”

Is there a startup growth marketing expert that you want us to know about? Let us know by filling out our survey.

#ec-growth-marketing, #email-marketing, #experts, #growth-marketing, #growth-roundup, #tc

Growth roundup: Storytelling for startups, early-stage influencers, retail media spend

“I like to think of successful brand-building as creating a company that customers would be upset to separate from their identity,” growth marketing expert Julian Shapiro told us earlier this week. “For example, they’d cease to be the man with Slack stickers all over his laptop. Or the woman who no longer wears Nike shoes every day. And that bugs them.”

Shapiro comes from a technical background, as a repeat startup founder and open-source web developer. But these days, as the co-founder of growth education company Demand Curve and startup growth agency Bell Curve, he advocates telling your story by speaking from the heart. We interviewed him earlier this week to hear more about how he sees marketing in 2021.

Elsewhere on TechCrunch and Extra Crunch this week, we published guest columns about using influencers in early-stage brands, the global retail media spending trend and talked to Growth Folks, a growth marketing organization in India.

But first, here are a couple of the most recent recommendations from founders in our startup growth marketer survey. (If there’s a growth marketer that you’ve enjoyed working with, please tell us here.)

Marketer: Bili Sule, alGROWithm
Recommended by: Femi Aiki, Foodlocker
Testimonial: “Bili has a proven track record of driving growth, as the former vice president of Growth Marketing at Jumia Nigeria and as a senior growth consultant for Founders Factory Africa. She’s able to cut through the jargon/vanity metrics and has found a way to consistently and reliably engineer growth for us. What’s unique about Bili’s approach is that her strategy moves beyond just marketing. She is data driven and takes an iterative experimental approach to unlocking growth across various business pillars, from marketing to product and operations.”

Marketer: Jack Abramowitz
Recommended by: Marwen Refaat, GameFi
Testimonial: “Jack is incredibly talented at both growth hacking as well as building an automated growth engine. He has been tremendously helpful to our team.”

Building a growth community in India with Ayush Srivastava of Growth Folks: India is producing a huge, well-funded new generation of startups and increasing sophistication in growth marketing is one reason why. “Companies have started realizing the true importance of having a fully functional growth team and they have started acknowledging their one metric that matters as well,” Srivastava told us in a recent interview. “The growth marketers have also started setting up a lot of experiments and have taken a data-driven approach to solving a problem. Now, I see many startups going out of the box and putting in efforts to find new ways of acquisition. They haven’t restricted them to acquiring users via the traditional ways and that’s why you see so many ideas going viral so easily.”

(Extra Crunch) Early-stage brands should also unlock the power of influencers: Jonathan Martinez, an experienced growth marketer, breaks down influencer marketing. Martinez notes, “When reaching out to influencers, it’s a sheer numbers game in capturing their attention and pitching your brand, but there are myriad ways to increase response conversion.”

(Extra Crunch) What’s driving the global surge in retail media spending? Cynthia Luo, head of marketing at Epsilo, discusses what modern marketing is in 2021. Luo also talks about how businesses have had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. Luo says, “As e-commerce turns into a dream marketing channel, reaping the benefits of retail marketing is only possible if the marketplace equips brands with the right tools and data sets.”

The art of startup storytelling with Julian Shapiro: Eric Eldon, Extra Crunch managing editor, spoke with Julian Shapiro, about how companies communicate with the public. Shapiro offered insights from his experience as an angel investor, “I’m interested in businesses with product-led growth, brand affinity moats and who get harder to compete with the larger they get.”

(Extra Crunch) Growth tactics that will jump-start your customer base: Jenny Wang, principal investor at Neo, gives insights on the challenges startups now face to launch their customer base and provides some tactics to help them do so. In this article, Wang discusses what the playbook was like five years ago and says, “ … it’s never been harder to corral eyeballs and hit a breakout adoption trajectory.”

Salesforce State of Marketing: Salesforce published a marketing report that uses data from a double-blind survey they conducted. The survey has five main chapters, “Marketers Embrace Change with Optimism,” “As Customers Go Digital, Marketing Steps Up,” “Collaboration Drives the Market-from-Anywhere Era,” “Marketing Is Spelled D-A-T-A” and “Metrics and KPIs Continue to Evolve.” When looking at digital channels, they mentioned that, “Even those digital channels that may have been classified as emerging in recent years are seeing mass adoption. Mobile messaging, for instance, is used by 69% of marketers, and nearly two-thirds of organizations use audio media like podcasts and streaming ads.” The report lists out the five “Most Valuable Marketing Metrics/KPIs” and looks ahead at “Digital Marketing Tactics.”

Is there a startup growth marketing expert that you want us to know about? Let us know by filling out our survey.

#ec-growth-marketing, #experts, #growth-marketing, #growth-roundup, #influencer-marketing, #julian-shapiro, #salesforce, #tc

Growth tactics that will jump-start your customer base

Five years ago, the playbook for launching a new company involved a tried-and-true list of to-dos. Once you built an awesome product with a catchy name, you’d try to get a feature article on TechCrunch, a front-page hit on Hacker News, hunted on ProductHunt and an AMA on Quora.

While all of these today remain impressive milestones, it’s never been harder to corral eyeballs and hit a breakout adoption trajectory.

In this new decade, it is possible to first out-market your competitor, and then raise lots of money, hire the best team and build, rather than the other way around (building first, then marketing).

Outbound marketing tools and company newsletters are useful, but they’re also a slow burn and offer low conversion in the new creator economy. So where does this leave us?

With audiences spread out over so many platforms, reaching cult status requires some level of hacking. Brand-building is no longer a one-hit game, but an exercise in repetition: It may take four or five times for a user to see your startup’s name or logo to recognize, remember or Google it.

Below are some growth tactics that I hope will help jump-start the effort to building an engaged user base.

Laying the groundwork for user-generated content

Before users are evangelists, they are observers. Consider creating a bot to alert you of any product mentions on Twitter, or surface subject-matter discussions on Reddit (“Best tools to manage AWS costs?” or “Which marketplace do you resell your old electronics on?”), which you can then respond to with thoughtful commentary.

Join relevant communities on Discord, infiltrate Slack groups of relevant conferences (including past iterations of a conference  —  chances are those groups are still alive with activity), follow forums on StackOverflow and engage in the discussions on all these channels.

The more often you post, the better your posts convert. The more your handle appears on newsfeeds, the more likely it will be included on widely quoted “listicles.”

Most “user-generated content” in the early innings should be generated by you, from both personal accounts and company accounts.

Build in public …

Building in public is scary given the speed at which ideas can be copied, but competition will always exist, since new ideas are not born in vacuums. Companies like Railway and Replit post to Twitter every time they post a new changelog. Stir brands its feature releases as “drops,” similar to streetwear drops.

Building in public can also lend opportunities for virality, which requires drama, comedy or both. Hey.com’s launch was buoyed by Basecamp’s public fight against Apple over existing App Store take rates.

Mmhmm, the virtual camera app that adds TV-presenter flair to video meetings, launched with a viral video that hit over 1.5 million views. The company continues to release entertaining YouTube demos to showcase new use cases.

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

… or build in private

Like an artist teasing an upcoming album, some companies are able to drum up substantial anticipation ahead of exiting stealth mode. When two ex-Apple execs founded Humane, they crafted beautiful social media pages full of sophisticated photography without revealing a single hint of what they set out to build.

#airbnb, #column, #ebay, #ec-column, #ec-growth-marketing, #ec-how-to, #hims, #quora, #social, #social-media, #startups, #tc

Growth marketing roundup: TechCrunch Experts, creative testing and how to nail your narrative

“It’s about focusing on the metric that directly reflects the value that your company and products bring to your customers,” growth marketer Maya Moufarek told us in an interview for one of our most popular marketing articles of the week. “For Airbnb, that may be the number of nights booked; for Spotify, minutes listened to. It’s all about simplifying your strategy into something that is digestible, memorable and applicable.”

In the interview, Moufarek speaks about the importance of Sean Ellis’ North Star metric, how she audits her clients, brand building and more.

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.

Marketing Cube founder Maya Moufarek’s lessons for customer-focused startups: Founder of growth consultancy Marketing Cube Maya Moufarek joins Miranda Halpern for an interview as part of the TechCrunch Experts series. Moufarek shares her advice for startups and explains why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

In growth marketing, creative is the critical X factor: Self-proclaimed “growth marketing nerd” and current Uber growth team member Jonathan Martinez breaks down how to be successful with creative testing. Martinez discusses how to do this when faced with the current privacy restrictions.

(Extra Crunch) Susan Su on how to approach growth as your startup raises each round: Managing Editor Eric Eldon recaps growth marketing expert Susan Su’s talk from TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising. Su goes through a sample qualitative growth model and the importance of always having a growth team.

(Extra Crunch) Silicon Valley comms expert Caryn Marooney shares how to nail the narrative: Senior Editor Matt Burns recaps Caryn Marooney’s talk from TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising. Marooney, current VC and former communications expert, touches on her RIBS method — read the article to find out what it stands for and how to apply it to your own narrative.

(Extra Crunch) Greylock’s Mike Duboe explains how to define growth and build your team: Editor Lucas Matney breaks down the TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing & Fundraising presentation from early-stage speaker Mike Duboe, partner at Greylock. This talk is split into 10 key points about growth, including tips on prioritizing retention, hiring for growth and more.


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Susan Su on how to approach growth as your startup raises each round

Your startup might rely on clever growth tactics to get off the ground, but you need more than spreadsheets if you want to turn viral spikes into a real business. You need a qualitative growth model to guide the strategy that you can use to tell your story to your team and investors.

Growth marketing expert Susan Su sat down with us at TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising this month to share pointers for young companies that are trying to raise money after initial market traction. In the presentation below, she maps out a growth strategy from seed through Series A and B rounds and details how your milestones, budgets, investor updates and other measures change as you advance.

The not-so-secret secret here is that the key to great retention is really simple. It is building a product that solves a real and especially persistent problem for people.

Throughout the process, “a qualitative model tells the story of growth that you can use at early stages and really all throughout your company life cycle,” she explains.A quantitative model or quantitative growth accounting charts the numerical course for how you actually deliver against that narrative and becomes more relevant at later stages when you actually have real numbers.

Formerly a strategic growth adviser to companies at Sound Ventures, a growth marketing lead focused on startups at Stripe, and the first hire and head of growth at Reforge, Su just became a partner investing in climate tech for early-stage fund Toba Capital. She also writes a popular newsletter on climate investing and runs a six-week course for other investors on the topic.

Here’s more about growth, and how to talk about it with investors, from her presentation:

So here’s a sample qualitative growth model that I built for one of our portfolio companies with some modifications for anonymity. At the bottom, we have our linear inputs that form the foundation of awareness — in other words, traffic or leads that feed into our growth machine.

Once those leads come in, we have our acquisition loops, working to turn that non-repeatable spiky linear traffic (aka TechCrunch traffic, if you get so lucky as to be written up in TechCrunch) into scalable, repeatable acquisition. You cannot repeat the TechCrunch effect.

For this sample business, I happened to spec out five different acquisition loops — I was really ambitious. Many companies will struggle to identify this many. But the key to being able to scale is to have multiple viable acquisition loops, not just one single thing that works.

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Greylock’s Mike Duboe explains how to define growth and build your team

With more venture funding flowing into the startup ecosystem than ever before, there’s never been a better time to be a growth expert.

At TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising earlier this month, Greylock Partners’ Mike Duboe dug into a number of lessons and pieces of wisdom he’s picked up leading growth at a number of high-growth startups, including StitchFix. His advice spanned hiring, structure and analysis, with plenty of recommendations for where growth teams should be focusing their attention and resources.

How to define growth

Before Duboe’s presentation kicked off, he spent some time zeroing in on a definition of growth, which he cautioned can mean many different things at many different companies. Being so context-dependent means that “being good at growth” is more dependent on honing capabilities rather than following a list of best practices.

Growth is something that’s blatantly obvious and poorly defined in the startup world, so I do think it’s important to give a preamble to all of this stuff. First and foremost, growth is very context dependent; some teams treat it as a product function, others marketing, some sales or “other.” Some companies will do growth with a dedicated growth team; others have abandoned the team but still do it equally well. Some companies will goal growth teams purely on acquisition, others will deploy them against retention or other metrics. So, taking a step back from that, I define growth as a function that accelerates a company’s pace of learning.

Growth is everyone’s job; if a bunch of people in the company are working on one problem, and it’s just someone off in the corner working on growth, you probably failed at setting up the org correctly.  (Timestamp: 1:11)

While growth is good, growing something that is unsustainable is an intense waste of time and money. Head of growth is often an early role that founders aim to fill, but Duboe cautioned early-stage entrepreneurs from focusing too heavily on growth before nailing the fundamentals.

I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of working on growth prior to nailing product-market fit. I think this mistake becomes even more common in an environment where there’s rampant VC funding, so while some of the discipline here is useful early on, I’d really encourage founders to be laser-focused on finding that fit before iterating on growth. (Timestamp: 2:29)

Where to focus growth energy

The bulk of Duboe’s presentation focused on laying out 10 of the “most poignant and generalizable” lessons in growth that he’s learned over the years, with lessons on focus, optimization and reflection.

Lesson 1: Distill your growth model (“business equation”)

Growth modeling and metric design — I view as the most fundamental part of growth. This does not require a growth team so any good head of growth should require some basic growth model to prioritize what to work on. (Timestamp: 3:09)

The first point Duboe touched on was one on how to visualize your growth opportunities using models, using an example from his past role leading growth at Tilt, where his team used user state models to determine where to direct resources and look for growth opportunities.

Lesson 2: Retention before acquisition

The second lesson is to prioritize retention before driving acquisition, a very obvious or intuitive lesson, but it’s also easy to forget given it’s typically less straightforward to figure out how to retain users versus acquiring new ones. (Timestamp: 4:19)

Retention is typically cheaper than acquiring wholly new users, Duboe noted, also highlighting how a startup focusing on retention can help them understand more about who their power users are and who exactly they should be building for.

Lesson 3: Embrace ideas from all corners, but triage

Bringing on new ideas is obviously a positive, but often ideas need guidelines to be helpful, and setting the right templates early on can help team members filter down their ideas while ensuring they meet the need of the organization.

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Silicon Valley comms expert Caryn Marooney shares how to nail the narrative

Caryn Marooney, Silicon Valley communications professional turned venture capitalist, spoke extensively on storytelling at TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising. During her talk, she broke down messaging into four critical parts.

Marooney knows what she’s talking about: Throughout her time in Silicon Valley, she helped companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Facebook and more launch products and maintain messaging. In 2019, she left Facebook, where she was VP of technology communication, and joined Coatue Management as a general partner.

The presentation is summarized below and lightly edited for readability. Marooney breaks down her method into the acronym of RIBS: Relevance, Inevitability, Believability and keeping it Simple. A video of her presentation is also embedded below and contains 20 minutes of Q&A where she answers audience questions and covers a lot of ground.

Marooney has written extensively on this subject for TechCrunch, including this article, where she describes her RIBS method in detail. Last month, she expanded on this topic with her go-to-market strategy around building a hamburger.

‘The gift of editing is critical. Do not just write all your ideas and get very excited about what you think and ship it.’

Relevant

Why should anyone care? Does anyone care? That’s the point Marooney is making here. The message must be relevant to the audience before anything else.

The very first thing is why anyone should care. And it’s important to remember that as a startup, you’re in a situation where nobody knows you. And nobody thinks, “Oh, I should really care about this. So you need to be very specific about who your audiences are and why they should care and why it matters to them. Early on, too. Relevance is usually to a very small audience, and you earn the right every day to expand that audience.

So, for example, when I was first working with Salesforce, it was a very narrow set of salespeople, for small- and medium-sized businesses, there was always the sense that it was going to be a cloud provider for companies of every size, but you have to start somewhere. And when you’re starting somewhere, you can paint the bigger picture. But you have to be specific about the benefits to your smaller audience. (Timestamp: 1:48)

Inevitable

In addition to talking about Tesla, Marooney uses the counter-example of the Segway, which shows a great idea alone is not enough. Even though Segways were introduced as a world-changing mode of transportation, in 2021, Segways are mainly only used by mall cops and tourists.

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