Startup Marketing: Working with a Lean Budget

19 Apr Startup Marketing: Working with a Lean Budget

The last session of the day I sat in on was Startup Marketing: Working with a Lean Budget featuring SpeakerBox’s own Lisa Throckmorton.

Moderated by Paul Sherman with Potomac Tech Wire, the panel also included:

Michele Perry, Founder and President, MPB Strategies

Trevor Lynn, Marketing Manager, Social Tables

Zubair Talib, Co-Founder and CEO, YaSabe

Lets dive into some of the highlights:

  • Marketing for a startup vs. an established company differs greatly – and it is not just because of money! Startups often are less likely to take a risk because they have more to lose if it doesn’t pay off. Additionally, a strategic marketing plan does not exist in many cases and there is more of a tradeoff when it comes to campaigns. Startups often have to pick and choose the few things they want to do – and the pressure is on, because they need to do those things right.


  • Branding a company in the startup phase vs. focusing on marketing and sales is a balancing act. Companies are often so focused on getting the product to market that they can’t articulate the value proposition well and many times do not have clear messaging on their website. Before the brand can focus on promotion, these items need to be put in place. However, at the same time, developing a brand is very important at the startup stage in order to raise money, get employees and it has been proven that marketing programs work better if there is awareness of the company already.


  • When asked about where marketing ends and sales starts, Trevor responded that at Social Tables they don’t have a divide between sales and marketing – they have “smarketing.” Essentially they do all aspects together. They know where all leads are coming from and what tactics are making a difference. Their marketing is very metrics driven and they experiment with all options to see what generates the best results.


  • Startups are willing to spend money wherever there is positive ROI. Content is an incredibly effective way to get the ball rolling in terms of recognition. Since budgets are limited, marketing money needs to be spent wisely and knowing your audience helps to narrow down on which channels would be most effective. Most importantly – track everything you do. Start with a baseline and continually try to make it better and more effective.


  • Finally, when it comes to marketing for startups – resist the urge to boil the ocean. When startups are all over the map, campaigns don’t go over as well and are not successful. Pick a few areas and really focus in on them while measuring and tracking the results. Stay focused and give it time. Results won’t happen over night, it is a process that involves continual testing, so stay focused and make decisions based on practicality rather than desperation.


That’s all from us from MAM summit today! Check out the Twitter stream for more detail on these great sessions.

Kathryn Kaplan
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