Startup Marketing Reads: 4/3/2014



Clari, A Mobile-First Predictive Sales Tool, Comes Out Of Stealth With $6M From Sequoia - (via TechCrunch)

Lead Generation

The New Rules of Lead Generation Resemble the Old Rules, Somewhat – (via Entrepreneur)


4 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch (via Entrepreneur)

3 Marketing Truths– Learned the Hard Way (via Inc)

Your Audience Doesn’t Know What it Wants (via CopyBlogger)

How to Turn Bland Text into Sparkling Online Content (via CopyBlogger)


Here’s Exactly How To Form A Habit That Sticks (via Business Insider)

The Secrets Of Achieving Breakout Growth – (via Forbes)

Corporate Development 101: What Every Startup Should Know (via OnStartups)


How You Can Sell Like a Pro and Close More Deals (via Entrepreneur)

Daily Startup Marketing Reads: 4/1/2014

I had to get my car inspected this afternoon, so I finally had time to fire up my RSS reader to read through today’s news stories. Though it may be April Fool’s, the articles I found were no joke.

Engagement and Conversion

WalkMe raises $11 Million to let you “walk” prospects through your website. Founded in Tel Aviv and based in San Francisco, the company offers “engagement optimization, contextual promotions, advanced cross-selling capabilities, and advanced analytics.” (via VentureBeat)

Boston’s Alignable Raises $4 Million to let Small Businesses Partner and Bundle - The online platform enables small businesses to partner up and market to each other’s customer bases through their email lists and social followings. (Via VentureBeat)

 Completely Preventable Ways You’re Sabotaging Landing Page Conversions – Conversion is hard enough. Don’t make it even more difficult. (via Hubspot)

3 Cutting-Edge Examples of Website Personalization Persona and interest-based personalization is the next big thing. And some people are doing it now. (via Hubspot)

Venture Capital

How You Know You’ve Got the Right Startup Model? (via Both Sides of the Table)


Startup Marketing and Branding

What Startups Need To Know About Branding – Mike always puts the importance of the brand in perspective. From the article:

“your brand is the world’s collective emotional response. It’s the envelope for your product’s rational benefits, the emotional value proposition that guides people toward or away from whatever it is you’re selling. And if you think it doesn’t matter, you don’t understand how people make decisions.”
(via Mike Troiano on VentureFizz)


Big Skinny Wallet: Marketing a Wallet Like Software

The fact that I like orange isn’t a surprise. Anything in orange is better than anything in a different color.

So when I was in Staples today and saw a display of wallets, it caught my attention when I saw the orange one. But it was on the other side that made me write a blog post.

When we work on messaging in tech, we always want to position our products in a way that solves problems while differentiating from what’s already out there. And when I saw the back of the packaging for the Big Skinny Wallet, it really resonated.

The messaging points out the problems it solves, and made me believe in its promise. And the fact that it is made in Cambridge, Massachusetts sealed the deal.

Love it.

Interest Attrition

Once in a while, a term will catch my eye that resonates. Something that so clearly describes that which has been so far indescribable. This week, on an otherwise standard slide, two words popped up that spoke to me:

Interest Attrition

As a Marketer, you work to drive interest in whatever it is that you offer the market. In the digital realm, you do this through demand generation campaigns that hopefully result in capturing interest. Nothing new there.

However, once someone has raised their digital hand to indicate interest, what do you do next? How long do you wait before responding to a lead?

Every moment you wait before following up with a lead can result in, you guessed it…..interest attrition. has great metrics on lead attrition here, but can be summed up in two images:


Solving for Interest Attrition

If you already have a shipping product that can be easily handed to interested leads (even with some degree of qualification), solving for interest attrition largely becomes a matter of fulfillment. What becomes interesting, however, is the case of a company that tries to generate demand prior to having a shipping product.

My favorite recent example is a company called Simple. Simple wants people to ditch their bank accounts in favor of a mobile-first non-bank that centers its offering around goal-setting. They give you a debit card, but there are no physical bank locations, and much of the interaction between the consumer and the bank happen through a mobile app.

Here’s how the interest flow works:

1. Ask for an invitation:

Simple is currently offered on an invitation-only basis. If you’re interested, you can sign up to get an invite whenever simple is ready for you. In invitation-based companies, this is the beginning of the interest attrition clock. You’re interested in their product/service, but you can’t have it yet. Every day that goes by without a response increases the probability that you’ve either forgotten who they are or you have solved the problem you were seeking a solution to.

2. Response for reminder and expectation setting:

In this step, simple sets my expectation of what’s next while reminding me why I signed up. I’ll hear back in a couple of weeks, but in the interim I should learn more about the product and follow them on their social accounts. And rather than sending this from a cold, sterile system account, the email comes from a person. Nice touch.

3. The invitation

It’s now time. I have an invite, and it has only been 4 days since I signed up. This email reframes why I signed up, the benefits I’ll get, and tells me why I should take action.

4. The no action follow-up

Although I received the invitation, I didn’t finish the application. Two days later, I received a reminder to let me know that it will only take a few minutes to finish what I’ve started. Clear and concise messaging.

5. Seriously, finish this

7 days after my last reminder, Simple sends me a message from their CEO and Co-founder, restating the company’s origin story, what it stands for, and what I’ll get if I finish my application.


Interest attrition happens any time a lead expresses interest without instant gratification. What is important is how you stay top-of-mind. I’ll be exploring this topic more in 2014, as some of what I’m doing now will serve as a good case study.

Great Marketing Interview Question

We’ve been interviewing Marketing Manager candidates at MineralTree, and one of my colleagues came up with a great question. I’m not saying that he invented it, but using this question to interview someone that is looking for a startup marketing position is particularly insightful:

As a Marketer, what one word would you use to describe yourself to your audience?

Let that sink in for a second. Here’s why I like it so much:

  1. It is jarring – While any decent candidate has anticipated the most common interview questions, this one is different. Close to the standard “give me one word to describe yourself”, it is just different enough to make you think.
  2. It requires empathy – It makes the candidate put themselves in the shoes of their intended audience, and critiques their own projection.
  3. It is a test for concision – You have one word to describe the totality of your value to a faceless, unknown mass. Go.

The third item is what made me write this post. As one of the most difficult things in marketing is compressing complex ideas into dense, meaningful words, the person that is able to think quickly on their feet and deliver a good answer to a question like this truly stands out.

Had to share.