Friday, February 25, 2011

Fred Wilson Says Don't Market Your Startup

He does and he doesn't say that.  In his blog this morning he got things stirring. My interpretation: don't set aside a big budget for marketing your start up.  You are the best marketer for your company/product and be the evangelist.  He goes on to say that most of the companies he's invested in have not had an initial marketing budget.  

When applying this to a new band/music artist, I must agree. In my experience, most acts that hire marketing companies come away with mediocre results and a lot less money in their pockets.  The act's manager (and the band) is still struggling to pay the bills (she/he gets paid a commission on money earned) but the marketers have made their monthly fee and usually get it for a minimum of three months, which they say is necessary to launch a project. 

Times have changed so drastically over the past 10 years, that an artist can build their own marketing machine using existing free tools, which is what Fred recommends.  If you're engaging in your Twitter, blog and Facebook posts, you can begin to gain an audience. Obviously your music has to be good.  It's been proven that word of mouth endorsements will trump any promotional scheme a marketing company can come up with (see the Grateful Dead).  I've seen the results of hiring marketing companies.  I've never come away from an experience where I've just wanted to tell everyone to hire that company.  I've seen some nice awareness building campaigns and I've seen marketers do exactly the opposite of how you'd like to see your artist promoted.  I've never had a home run or even a triple.

Kudos Fred. You got it.  If you're a musician, take control of your marketing.  If down the road it gets to be too much for you to handle, then hire someone who clearly knows your vision and will stick to it.  At that point, you're probably making money and things are rolling along. 

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