I attended my first Columbus Startup Week yesterday. I’d heard others tell me how neat this event was and the price of the conference was right. It’s all free! It was an inspiring day with a diverse group of people who all shared a love for both Columbus and innovation. I just attended on Thursday which was the Marketing and Technology day. I’m grateful that I work at a company that believes in professional development and allows me to take time to attend events like this.
I love to take notes and so during the day I jotted down points that I found interesting in my notebook and typed them up. This process of reading over the notes again helps me better process what I wrote down. These are my notes:
How to Use Data and Research when Building Your Brand
This was the first session of the day and it was a panel of four guys who each own their own business and talked about their career journey and got a little side tracked by also talking about how much they like traveling. I appreciated their stories of what it took to get them where they are today.
- A lot of brands are using colors effectively in their names and identity
- Orange Barrel Media, Purple Mattress
- Creative and emotional content is best
- Netflix tracks every click someone makes so then they use that data to craft hit shows. Data is so valuable.
- One of the panelists, a photographer, met a hotel owner, stayed in touch, sent messages back and forth which led to a life-changing gig photographing a luxury hotel in Costa Rica
- Making money and helping others aren’t mutually exclusive
- A creative filmmaker took a gig out of grad school shooting commercials for Wal-Mart and while he wasn’t thrilled at the opportunity it turned out to help his career and he made the best of it.
Rethinking Brand, Marketing, and Advertising for Startups
Every now and then you meet a presenter who makes you want to bow down and say “I’m not worthy.” Barry Enderwick really understands branding and impressed me with his passion for transforming companies.
- A brand is everything a company does and how the world perceives the company
- Every company has a brand
- It’s shaped by news, employees, scandals, products, etc
- Brand Promise is the problem that a brand solves for a customer
- Netflix 2001 brand promise: Best Way to Rent DVDs
- This is too transactional. Makes them seem like just a vending machine.
- Later revised brand promise to: Movie Enjoyment Made Easy
- Brand Attributes: tone of voice, persona
- Instead of “customer service phone lines open 24/7” they phrase it “Call us anytime”
- Brand Story: how the brand came to be, what problem the founder wanted to fix
- Netflix used to require customers to call to cancel subscriptions but that was a hassle for customers and employees so they switched to an unheard of at the time, 2 clicks to cancel model online. This led to increased customer satisfaction and customers more likely to return.
- Brand Advertising: No call to action
- Nike Just Do It
- Can be expensive, requires existing brand awareness
- Create a customer survey to better learn about what your customers want
- Netflix partnered with DVD manufacturers and put a free trial sticker on DVD boxes and gave DVD manufacturers a cut of the profits.
- InstantPot sent their product to bloggers, optimized their Amazon listing, and chose to focus on grassroots influencer marketing
- Diesel’s brand is about letting people express themselves so they opened a pop up shop in New York City with a knock off Deisel brand.
- Do not talk about your competition in your marketing materials. Why would you give them free advertising or exposure?
The Start Up’s Voice + Find It or Drop It
Alaina from Women in Digital spoke about her career journey, Cement Marketing and Women in Digital.
- Don’t create the same content as competitors
How to Create Marketing Partnerships That Grow Your Business
This session was after lunch but trust me when I say nobody was dozing off in the audience. The panel of local business rockstars was very knowledgeable and open to speaking about their marketing partnerships. Claire Coder of Aunt Flow struck me with how she’s only 21, is incredibly extroverted, talks up the brands she works with and is killin’ it. #Goals
- A marketing partnership could mean samples, trials, etc. It doesn’t have to be an exchange of money.
- It does have to be mutually beneficial and elevate both brands
- Approach big corporations with a shower of love and appreciation for them. They don’t need you, you need them.
- Aunt Flow partnered with Ask Pattie (a company that certified auto dealers as being female friendly) because they are similar businesses, like-minded “Give your bathroom a tuneup!”
- You can find marketing partnerships all around you, with the people you meet. Just ask them and message them.
- Big companies like working with smaller companies because they have passionate followers and trustworthiness.
- Come to the table with a specific ask. Do not say “Do you want to collaborate?” Do the work if you’re asking and propose an idea with a specific set of dates.
- Be careful of politically charged partnerships (Ex. If you work with Planned Parenthood, then Catholic churches might not work with you in the future.)
- Have a dedicated contact person at the company you’re working with. If shit hits the fan, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?
Marketing Without A Lot of Money (My favorite session!)
This session was packed! Man, this guy is the real deal. He knows how to break through the clutter and stand out. I love presentations that tell stories rather than rattle off statistics next to stock photos. He was honest, real, and friggin’ human. My biggest takeaway from his talk: Don’t be a turd. (I loved how he looked to the audience and was like “Some of you are turds. I know it, but like don’t be. Sometimes I’m a turd, yeah, but I try really hard to not be a turd.”)
- To stand out at SXSW, his emerging marketing agency handed out scrolls, not business cards. It was an ice breaker, memorable and made follow up calls easier “We’re the guys with the scrolls.” Budget: $135 Don’t steal his idea. No seriously.
- To advertise an Homage clearance sale, they held a carnival where people could spin a wheel to win a prize. They started out knowing they wanted to do something with a carnival and spinning a wheel and decided Facebook Live would be the best medium for this idea. They told their fans in advance and then on the specified day, every hour on the hour, they did Facebook Live, spinning a giant wheel, giving out prizes to commenters and having inside jokes. They just used just an iPhone on a tripod. Budget: $400
- Message before the medium. Who’s the audience? What’s their language?
- What freebies can you offer?
- How can you lighten up?
- What can I do to listen to my customers?
- How can I gamify my services?
- People want to win something and they like free stuff.
- To move Hot Chicken Takeover from a takeout window in Old Towne East to the North Market they needed to keep it authentic and please their loyal fans. They chose to hand make everything, like hand painting the menus, using pallets on the walls, chalk board signs etc. Budget: $610
- Listen to your customers, store managers, people on the ground floor. They know best.
- Show your personality in Instagram Stories
- Barter for your services. You can do marketing for a lawyer to pay for your legal fees
- Send handwritten thank you notes (amen!)
- Join the chamber of commerce
What the top CMO’s have to say about Marketing
I learn best when I hear from people who are on the ground doing marketing. This was a panel of CMOs from big local companies. They didn’t say a whole lot that I found to be earth shattering. Yeah, I know that data is important and voice is an upcoming trend.
- You can’t fix what you can’t measure
Vlog like a Boss: How to Create Video that Gets Attention
Man, this was not her first rodeo. Amy Landino was an experienced presenter who knew how to keep the crowd awake and listening. I’d heard her speak before at a Columbus Young Professionals event and again was struck by how much of a boss she is. She’s good at what she does.
- Make videos of frequently asked questions. People like customer-service style videos that will help them.
- Your video will last on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for about 24 hours but will be on YouTube for years.
- Video making process
- Idea, research, outline
- Upload and optimize
- Make a custom thumbnail
- When doing a tutorial or vlogging, show the end result first. This adds trust and keeps the viewer watching.
- At 8 sec, people decide to keep watching or leave
- Keep their eyes moving, use B Roll, text on screen, different angles
- End your video with one CTA that you say out loud
- Don’t link to YouTube videos on Facebook. The platforms don’t like each other and don’t want traffic leaving their site. If you need to share your YouTube video also on Facebook, natively upload a different and shorter video to Facebook.
- Talking head videos don’t work on Facebook. Not engaging to people scrolling thru news feed