Showing posts from 2014

Surviving the early days of a product launch

No matter how many start up blogs you read, user testing sessions you conduct, market studies you digest... Nothing quite prepares you for the first few weeks of getting real customers for your product or service.  I'm going through it right now and like Stuart Smalley, I look at myself in the mirror every day and offer a positive affirmation because... 1.  All those people who said they could imagine using your product that made you feel awesome and excited... Most of them won't actually do it, or at least not right away. 2. Whatever your acquisition plans are for the long term, they won't work in the beginning.  It's hand to hand combat to get people to jump on board in the beginning and you just have to do things that you know won't scale. 3.  Bugs you pooh-pooed during testing are magnified 1000% when a "real person" can't get through a task.  Oh- and those same "real people" don't care that you're in a Beta. 4. Getting t

F word and Concentration

When I was a kid, I wasn't quite as motivated as I could have been.  I wanted to do well but I did a lot of things half way  and then moved on.  Whether it was schoolwork or sports or music it was a trend for sure.   Which led to one of the most enduring conversations that I ever had with my dad.  It was all about effort and concentration. Effort: to do things as hard as I could for as long as it took. Concentration:  to focus on what I was doing and what I was trying to accomplish without being distracted. As I got older - and funnier, obviously - I changed it to be the F word and concentration.  But to this day it's a lesson I practice with everything I do. Thanks Dad!

Event Marketing Done Right: 3 things I loved about Samsung's JazzFest Experience

Last week I spent 4 days at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – my own personal Mecca full of great food, amazing music, wonderful people, and this year a really cool promotion from Samsung who is now one of the lead sponsors of the event.   My wife and I go to a lot of live music venues and usually find it incredibly easy to avoid and/or forget the on site promotions happening at any given time.   But this one was different.   The people behind it “got” the event they were at and left me wondering if I should abandon my ten+ year relationship with the iPhone for a Galaxy. There were three things in particular I loved about their set up – an interactive tent in the middle of the fairgrounds that made us go back multiple times to experience it. Samsung gave me a good reason to play with the product(s).  The promotion was simple, take a selfie on a Galaxy phone, fill out a quick quiz, and send it to yourself via one of the mail apps.  Then move along to the host w

One for the Little Guy: How Union College’s Big Win Can Inspire Us

I grew up in Boston in the 80's as a diehard Redsox, Bruins, and Patriots fan.  I yearned for victory because I knew they should be winning.  Close call after close call but our teams never quite got there.  Obviously that all changed with the Pats in 2001, the Sox in 2004, and bruins in 2011.  And those changes in championship stature helped confirm what I had always believed - that if your team worked hard enough and worked with both brains and brawn - anyone could win. This belief is something I've always stood by in my professional life as well.  When I worked for a 5 million dollar research agency, I knew that we could grow enough to become a top 50 firm.  When Constant Contact set out to build a social media tool I knew we could get huge numbers of smb's to use it.  And when I set out to find a job at an awesome early stage startup, I knew I could make it happen . But I guess I never really expected my small liberal arts college to take the big stage and wi

Why I believe in crowdfunding

This is the way the world should work, right?  People who have some financial means helping others chase down the things that are most important to them.   I'll admit that I am what my friend Kate would call - "capitalist hippy" but that notion certainly feels right to me.  It's all of the good parts of the internet wrapped into one.  A meeting of the minds where people can help one another do great things.     So yeah, I'm in on crowdfunding as a concept.   And I'm not alone.  Kickstarter - a site focused on funding creative projects - just announced that over 1 Billion dollars have been pledged on their site. With a B.  Other sites have received massive funding as they go global and extend their platforms.  And I've been able to help my favorite drummer, Stanton Moore, create a new album and support my friend Erin in bringing together an amazing dance show in Brooklyn without having to solely dig into her own pockets. When I first

Why parenting a toddler is particularly hard for the modern marketer

As a parent of a toddler boy, I've often found myself getting so frustrated, to a place I don't like, that I started doing some real self hard thinking about the causes (it’s the research background!). One of the major realizations I've had is that the frustration is in part because "working" with a toddler goes completely against how I spend most of my day as a marketer. And I know I'm not alone. In fact, I've seen lots of friends and colleagues who work with data struggle with toddler thinking. Don't get me wrong, parenting is obviously hard for everyone, but I wonder if it feels even harder for the modern marketer (or researcher) because of the way we are trained. We take pride in using data to identify what works and modifying what doesn’t. Unfortunately, my little dude seems to fall outside the realm of data integrity. Below are four things that are particularly confounding in our dual roles as parent and professional. 1) It's the journ

Hey Facebook, Thanks for the Leg Up!

As you probably may saw, Facebook turned ten this week and they've been thanking everyone they can reach for helping them get this far.  Businesses got a thank you note and every user got a cool look back video of their own experience with site.  Kudos on both! As a marketing professional, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Facebook.  Without it I would not be where I am today, and that's a fact.  In truth, lots of my friends wouldn't be and we are all grateful as users and as marketers. When I set up my first Facebook Page for Chadwick Martin Bailey I was just checking it out.  A year later we published research on why people like brands on Facebook and began making our way onto sites like Mashable , eMarketer and Wall Street Journal Online .   As a company we started doing more and more around the evolution of marketing and as a marketing team we were out in front of the whole market research industry. As an individual I secured speaking opportunities a

What I learned this week: vendor list price is just a suggestion

Without much budget, startups have to really be careful about investing too much in technology.  On the other hand, you need to use systems that will scale.   So, having worked recently at a SaaS company I was sympathetic to wanting to make a fair deal when I went searching for marketing on automation software knowing I needed to push a little bit harder than I might be comfortable with.   I'll spare you the three weeks of back and forth after I had decided what system I wanted... But the end result was shocking.  Let's just say I was able to get a discount over 50%.  OVER 50%!  And this was from a market leader.   After I went through stages of delirious laughter, anger about what I had paid in the past, sadness over how willing I was to take 29%, and pride in the deal I just got it hit me that the truth was that list price is a bit f a joke.  And that pushing hard is expected, and pushing really hard is acceptable.   So next time you're buying a SaaS product I suggest pus