Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Company Should I Start? -- A Perspective from Your Friendly Neighborhood Marketer

I'm a quantitative marketer. I spend countless hours researching, refining, and testing the landing pages, email campaigns, sales, and other customer touch-points for the company I work for.

I spend even more time measuring the results, trying new methods, and thinking about how we could get the best results for the least risk.

I also live in Silicon Valley. I meet a new CEO every day. They're all geniuses. These are people that could be working at Google, or Disney, or someone else's more successful startup, where they'd be pulling down a fat paycheck as well as learning valuable skills. But instead, they're starting mobile social photo-sharing apps, or apps that helps you cook parsley, or cat-based social networks. Why are they giving up so much opportunity in the pursuit of so little? Especially when they don't have to?

Here's what I'll teach you that those smart guys don't know: If you're interested in starting your own business, step 1 of the process isn't getting funding or building a team or finding a freaking technical cofounder.


Step 1 is: gather some data! Call it Performance Marketing, Customer Development, Ghetto Testing -- whatever. But your business will need the following three things if it's going to survive:

  1. A cheap way to acquire customers (compared to what they spend with you)
  2. Content/Inventory
  3. A reason for customers to come back
The cheaper you can make all of these elements relative to what your customers spend, the bigger your profits, which means more funds available for reinvestment in the business...which means: a bigger business.

What's the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to test your ideas? Facebook.

Facebook gives you a free, credible web presence where you can post links for content, a free marketing channel with built-in social proof, ads with rock-bottom CPMs, and a daily use case you can piggyback on. 

So if an idea for a company pops into your head -- put up a Page, and see if you can get some traction. If your idea can't make it on Facebook, it's not worth pursuing, but then you might only be out $100 or so if you buy ads...not, say...$40 million and a few years of your life.

For more information on Customer Development and testing, check out these amazing books:

For more information on how to set up a Page and run ads on Facebook, look here:
...and if you don't believe me about Facebook's rock-bottom pricing? "Facebook’s average CPM is just 30 cents in five rich countries, including the U.S." You won't find a better deal!

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