No CMO, No Problem. How to Market Without a Marketer

As a marketer, I try to stay on top of industry trends. I’ve noticed that lately it’s become fashionable for some venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to cast off the need for marketing entirely. This vein of thought runs something like the famous Field of Dreams line “if you build it, they will come” — if your product is good enough, you don’t need to market it. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson even went so far as to say, “I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks…”

You might be surprised, that while I disagree with this view, I also have a lot of sympathy for it. It stems from the fundamental misconception that marketing is advertising. It’s not. Marketing gets a bad name because in many cases, start-ups hire a full-time marketer and fail to see them provide the value. It’s possible to waste a lot of money on marketing tactics that don’t yield a lot of results. Marketing is an evolutionary process — simply having a great product is not enough.

A company should not hire a until they can afford a marketing budget. The type of marketing your company needs depends on where you are in the . As the first in a two-part series, this blog will examine how young companies can build the foundation of their marketing before hiring dedicated staff.

Start With Quality

One thing all VCs know about marketing is that you have to start with a quality product and vision. No amount of marketing will cover up faulty design or sell software no one wants to use.

But these days, quality tech products are emerging constantly. Once a company has the right product, they need to create awareness. To generate awareness, you need to content that explains how your product works and why it’s needed. You don’t need a CMO for this. What you do need, however, is to recognize that content is a part of your product. To market properly, you need high-quality content that appeals to multiple audiences.

Emerging companies frequently interact with early adopters who are already primed to embrace the product. If you want to grow your business you will need some quality content. Assets such as foundational white papers, that speak to both market and business forces, are invaluable early on.

Once you have content, you need to need to share it with your current and potential customers — this does not always require new content (though frequently updating your content is essential), so much as finding innovative ways to repackage the content you already have.

Quality Content: Findable and Shareable

You should start with a blog that is updated regularly, easy to find, and optimized for search. It is essential to identify the search terms and keywords people use to find your product. Your blog should use search terms that are relevant to your buyers.

The most successful blog programs generally consist of two different types of posts:

  1. Product-focused posts that explain how your product works, and are written by internal experts
  2. Third party, market-facing posts that focus on client testimonials

The key to blogging is consistent publishing. Social media should go hand in hand with your publishing activity, as you begin to think about how to position your brand in genuine ways via Twitter and Facebook.

Now that you’ve generated awareness about your product, created a steady stream of findable, sharable, quality content, and established your social presence, you can bathe in marketing glory. And you’ve done all of this without a dedicated marketer.

Check back next week to find out when it’s right to make a hire.

Start your content marketing evolution