Buzz, coolness factor, community — these things don’t happen by accident. Marketing is not just reserved for the corporate world (actually... the crappy, traditional variety is). Startups need marketing, the type that’s authentic, the type that burns.

As my partners at Foundry Group know, every time I hear the word “marketing” I throw up a little in my mouth. I hate traditional marketing and have always resisted it early in the life of a new company.


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Buzz, coolness factor, community — these things don’t happen by accident. Marketing is not just reserved for the corporate world (actually... the crappy, traditional variety is). Startups need marketing, the type that’s authentic, the type that burns.

As my partners at Foundry Group know, every time I hear the word “marketing” I throw up a little in my mouth. I hate traditional marketing and have always resisted it early in the life of a new company.

Fred Wilson has a phenomenal blog post titled “Marketing.” Among other things he demonstrates his mastery of marketing by sending me an email this morning pointing me to the post and saying that he’s channeling me knowing that it’ll likely inspire me to blog something about it and link to his post, increasing the chance that he’ll be the first Google result for the search “Marketing” (he’s already #6 for marketing VC).

When I think of all of the companies in our portfolio that are growing like crazy, they all spend money on marketing. However, it’s driven by an obsessive focus on the customer and the product, rather than a “marketing budget” or “marketing initiative.” And phrases like “social media marketing” and “marketing spend” rarely surface in discussions, and when they do I vomit a little in my mouth.

Of course marketing is a key part of the success of these companies. However, it’s wired into the DNA of the business, not an extra thing that is attached on, like it used to be in the 1980s and 1990s as “marketing”, “PR”, “marcomm”, etc. were a key part of every startup plan.

Comment by Clinton D Skakun
Interesting angle, as a start-up owner I have to say also, I don't give a shit about marketing budgets or the whole social media paradigm. My first thought is always, "let's get the damn thing out there so we can serve people, reveal flaws in our service and improve, then get it out there some more."
February 2011
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