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Founder-Market Fit

The best companies are founded by people who have an earned secret or insight about a critical market problem.

These people have often experienced the market problem and pain points first hand. They also have unique industry knowledge and understand the required scope to solve the problem.

They end up being the first Product Managers of the company to figure out what a possible solution looks like. They also end up being the first marketers and sales people who bring together the story and positioning of the company to close deals.

This is why having the right founder for the right problem is critical. It is also why Founder-Market fit is more important than Product-Market fit.

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Creation vs. Distribution

There's a school of thought that suggests that creating a high volume of content is the key to building an audience.

There is some truth to that but there is also a false bar being set.

Creating unlimited content is valuable if you are able to find unlimited distribution.

The way to do this is beyond just posting 10 times a day on LinkedIn or Instagram or YouTube, which will surely lead to burn out because you constantly have to create more content to stay relevant.

You're also hoping the algorithm will help you find more people who view your content --- hoping that those people are your ideal customers as well.

This kind of strategy is pumped by proponents of hustle culture. Post 10 times a day till someone notices you. Keep posting. Keep grinding. (Forget your mental health, don't spend time with family, over-index on content vs. other areas of the business like services or product etc.)

Instead, creating the right pieces of content and finding distribution at scale is the key.

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Good vs. Great Pricing

Pricing is and will be one of the biggest growth levers of your business.

The best pricing models tie higher price points to the metric that accurately represents the customer receiving more value.

Pricing connected to functionality does this to a certain degree. However, the best pricing models tie to a metric that scale with usage / value.

Some examples of the right metrics:

Hubspot: # of contacts
Patreon: $ earned from Patrons
Slack: # of team members

Models not tied directly to the success of customers inevitably have to increase price over time to capture "expansion". E.g. This is why Netflix has had to increase its price so many times.

The right metric ties the company's success to the customer's.

That's how you land + expand and ramp up expansion revenue from your customer base. It is also how you get to higher satisfaction and negative churn.

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CMO and CFO Alignment

Alignment with the CFO is one of the most important relationships for marketing leaders. Why?

1) The biggest roadblock to scaling marketing is budget.

2) The way to get more budget is to have data to show the impact marketing is making.

3) The people to sell that story to are the CEO and board.

4) Your odds of success dramatically increase if you and your CFO are aligned on those numbers and the right-sized budget.

If you're a marketing leader and you haven't spent enough time on the P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement or Financial Projections, start spending a lot more time there.

You will become a far better marketing leader and executive.

 

You can read more on this topic in our full article, CMO-CFO Alignment in Portfolio Companies: Why It Matters, and How To Achieve It. 

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Attribution vs. Value

Just because a channel is easier to track does not mean it is the more valuable channel.

A lot of companies over-index on channels like Paid Media simply because it is a lot easier to connect investment to ROI.

Meanwhile, channels that are equally valuable such as content do not get as much investment because the attribution is at times unclear.

This is the same reason why some companies ignore more traditional channels (tv, radio etc.), channels that don't have clean attribution (e.g. podcast advertising, influencers) or building a brand through thought leadership (books, podcasts, YouTube).

A lot of this pressure to track is driven by management, who want clean reports on all marketing activities.

The answer is to educate internally on the value of creating a blended model of channels that are easier to track and ones that aren't so that you're building the best marketing engine.

If you become obsessed with the reporting aspect of marketing, you'll eventually be limited to paid...

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Attribution Complexity

Obsessing over attribution eventually becomes counterproductive.

There are marketing departments that won't invest in channels because the ROI is not obvious and they can't sell the merit of the activity internally to get buy-in from other stakeholders (especially the CEO).

This is a huge mistake.

When you're going from 0 (where nothing is being tracked) to 1 (where marketing is tracking contribution to revenue), attribution can be incredibly valuable.

Yes, you want to know how marketing dollars invested are leading to a return in closed won bookings.

It's just that some marketing activities create an "environment" for buyers to make their way through to buying your product. A lot of these activities cannot be measured.

Content is a lot like that. Social media is a lot like that. Building a brand is a lot like that.

You can measure some of the metrics around these activities, but you can't measure them all.

But if you stop those activities simply because you can't measure the...

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Engagement of Good Fit vs. Bad Fit

This is why you should NOT worry about decreased engagement as you scale your content and distribution.

Good fit customers only increase their engagement over time. Bad fit customers fall off a cliff.

Content or Ad "Fatigue" is often used as the counter to scaling more content, more emails, more touch points.

But your best fit customers want to hear more from you. You are solving a very real pain in their life.

The more content you put out, the more helpful they will find you to resolving that pain. The more helpful you are, the more likely they are to buy from you.

This is why scaling content to infinite distribution works.

Now, the trick is to leverage personalization and customization whenever possible. That will only increase engagement because you'll have dedicated streams for different segments of your market.

If you focus too much on the bad fit customers and their engagement, you'll get caught trying to be everything to everyone.

Focus on your best fit customers and don't...

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Your Market is Not Just on 1 Channel

Your market is not just on one channel. Too many companies over-index on one channel and set of activities (SEO, LinkedIn, Google Ads). While these are all good standalone channels, they are also just one place to find your ideal customer.

You will find different subsets of your customers in different channels. Presence in each of those channels is more than half the battle for every company.

So:
-Go to the trade show
-Invest in paid search
-Rank for your SEO terms
-Create thought leadership content
-Host webinars
-Create ABM plays to your target accounts
-Run ads on FB / LI
-Do PR / Comms

The best companies at marketing do it all. They also have higher marketing budgets for this reason.

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CMO Communication

Communication is the single biggest skill set a marketing leader can possess. You have to:

1) Lead your team, set goals and objectives, bring people together.

2) Talk to the market about the problem they're facing and how you solve it.

3) Manage people above you (CEO, board) and set expectations on marketing performance.

4) Educate the rest of the organization on marketing's plan and how other functions are critical to that plan.

Communicate up, down, inward, outward.

Do all 4 effectively and you become a rockstar marketing leader.

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People > Process > Tools

Another expensive software is not the answer to your marketing problems...

In the ever-growing Martech landscape, so many providers have blitzed the marketplace with content about how today's marketers need "their" tool to do marketing right.

As a result, so many marketers get caught up in implementing a new platform or overhauling an older one because they think that's how they can ramp up marketing faster.

This is a huge mistake.

All great marketing functions begin with having the right people in the right seats. Then they build the right processes.

Only then does the tool have any validity.

Give a good marketer a marketing stack of Mailchimp, Wordpress and Google Analytics and they can crush it.

Give a not so good marketer DemandBase, Pardot, Engagio, Terminus and even then you may not get very far. But you'd have spent a fortune in annual marketing stack subscriptions.

Do the first thing first.

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