Come Hell or high water my job is to get it done
I wrote this post in July, 2014 while I was Director of Customer Success (and Marketing and Social Media) at Nugg (now TeamFit).
Funny thing about doing marketing in a startup. Beyond the distinct lack of enough hours in the day or always having lots of crazy ideas to try, marketing at a startup is all about having several intersecting and overlapping jobs to do at once. I’m not talking about tasks, I’m talking about jobs.
I’m often the face of Nugg to the public. I’m certainly the guy behind the words on nearly everything. I usually have a hand in metrics, product direction, strategy, and planning as well. Oh and I keep the website running. And while I’m not a coder by any stretch of the imagination, I do have to dabble in enough web tech to fix, tune, and integrate all our marketing systems together.
Marketing isn’t one thing. Marketing is a lot of some things and a little of everything. (this will be a tweetable quote)
Jack or Jill of all technical and marketing trades
When I saw this post on First Round Review I dove into it with voracious abandon?—?The Case for Why Marketing Should Have Its Own Engineers?—?because, like the idea of teams as deployable, independent “strike teams” I wrote about a year ago, the idea of having a marketing team that goes beyond typical “marketing” folks and includes developers, coders, and designers seems logical and efficient to me. Oh sure it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but in many ways that’s actually how I operate at Nugg. My dual role of marketing and customer success forces me to combine writing landing page copy with creating the landing page with analyzing the results of the changes with supporting and helping users use Nugg more effectively. There is no single task, there is no single activity, that doesn’t just feed into the others but affects them as well. In today’s marketing world a touch of the technical, a touch of the creative, and a touch of crazy are just part of how we roll.
The new art of building multifunctional teams and finding multifunctional people
One of the great quotes from the First Round article is:
“Not having a roadmap mentality has allowed us to become an effective strikeforce.”
For most startup marketers “marketing without a net” is the daily reality. Most of the time I only have a gut feeling and a some hint from user or user emails that my marketing idea will work. I test as I go. I wing it. I adapt?—?fast. Try, Measure, Fail, Fix, Rinse, Repeat. That’s how I work. Right now I’m doing a month-long test sending onboarding emails to new users at 24 hours, 3 days, 1 week, and 2 weeks intervals. Each email is tuned to the objective I think will drive long-term adoption and use of Nugg. Sometimes, heck most of the time, the best features of an app reveal themselves slowly. The idea with my onboarding emails is to slowly introduce key features and benefits to users at about the time they need them?—?but not before. A step at a time I’m telling users more about Nugg and how it helps them.
Am I right?
Not yet at least. I’ll see after I’ve been doing this for a month or so if I can pull signal from the noise. Lots of people find this a little (or a lot) crazy. I have big goals I’m shooting for, but in between I’m flying by the seat of my pants. That’s just how it is. The new startup marketing world is flexible, fast, adaptable, and experimental. Which is exactly why you need a team of people with a range of skills?—?and personalities?—?who can roll with the punches and key their eye on the prize (cue Eye of the Tiger in the background).
This multifunctional team approach isn’t just a trend in marketing, I think having multifunctional, mission flexible team members is essential to a successful startup. Dev is going to be building based on an idea that isn’t fully baked?—?it just can’t be?—?management plans and hires based on assumptions of the moment. All the while a bolt from the blue can crash down, shake things, up and you have a whole new scenario to adapt to.
Adapt or die, of course.
So I might not get my marketing engineering strike team any time soon, but I can dream and in the meantime pass my that MySQL Hacks book, I have a query to tweak.
Photo from Flickr by Ian D. Keating.
Originally published at hq.teamfit.co on July 17, 2014.