By David Sorrenson

Kiwi Landing Pad was established in 2011 to help Kiwi startups establish and succeed in the US. They recently held their second annual Sales and Marketing Jam, bringing a panel of five prominent experts to NZ to spend the day engaging with NZ entrepreneurs. First Cut Partner David Sorrenson went along to find out more. Part 4 of his 5-part snippet series is on marketing.

The Panel:

Savannah Peterson – prominent tech speaker and Former Director of Community at Shapeways, the world’s largest 3D printing community

Ash Alhashim – 10 years of sales and marketing experience including roles at Google and as Head of Sales and Marketing Development at Optimizely

Tami McQueen – Experienced leader in marketing strategy, who has won awards for her innovative guerrilla marketing efforts

Ned Dwyer – Director of Product Management for Marketplaces at GoDaddy, founder of ecommerce startup Elto

Tristan Pollock – Venture Partner at 500 Startups (the world’s most active seed investor/accelerator) and co-founder of Storefront, an ‘Air BnB for retail’.

If you don’t market, you’ll never reach the customers your startup needs. But for a small company on an even smaller budget, big spending marketing efforts are out of the picture. With two decades of agile marketing experience between them, Tami and Savannah had some great ideas on how to best market on little money.

Consider Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is where you use unconventional ways and a tiny budget to promote your product or service.

Tami told a story of how her company hired an actor to play Marc Benioff (Salesforce CEO) at Salesforce’s annual conference. Over the two days they walked around the conference with a fake security detail and established a big presence. They generated huge hype with their low-budget antics, standing out from the thousands of other companies there and generating lots of sales. Savannah also had some good stories, including the time she held a (borderline legal) street party to promote a local gym, drawing hundreds of people and doubling memberships in a day.

Both Tami and Savannah recommended leaning on skills in your team (maybe you have creative artists or people who could make a viral video). Find people you know who are outgoing and energetic to execute your guerrilla plans!

Put Community First

Savannah: Every business is driven by their community – the super users and devotees who love your product. Engage them on social media and over-serve them as customers. If you ever have tough times or crises, you can lean on them to help. If you’re worried about scaling your personal ‘over-serving’ efforts, don’t be! Don’t worry about trying to serve 10,000 customers, focus on really serving the first 10 and then onwards from there. With the right content and an engaged community you can generate huge marketing buzz with no money on social media.

Plan Your Social Media Marketing

Tami: Don’t start posting every day if you can’t sustain that; regular posting is much more valuable and money efficient than front loading and then fading. Lay out a vision and create a schedule to reliably execute. For example, you might decide to post every second day, with competitions every Sunday and a big giveaway once a month – stay disciplined. Also, ask yourself if your marketing efforts are moving the needle (e.g. are they increasing revenue or engagement or other key metrics). If they aren’t, rethink.

Growth Hacking

Tristan raised an interesting concept called growth hacking. Basically, it involves sitting down at the end of the week and trying one new thing to generate sales. This might be a new email tool, trying new demographics, or even just tuning your current pitch. Even if a lot of these fail, the out of the box thinking will help find new and unexpected sales – like a smaller scale sales version of Google’s famous 20% policy.

You can find some of Tristan’s sales hacking process and tools here:

-David Sorrenson is a 2nd year Maths and Finance student at the University of Auckland