Startups Don’t Need Marketing … Or Maybe Later. Is a piece by Fred Wilson, an NYC Venture Capitalist, about why Marketing isn’t what a startup needs when its initiative is kick-started. Startups need intuition, hunches, “segmentuition” as I often say, not pricy surveys or acquisition campaigns. All of that comes later. One may disagree with that statement, however. It’s only true if you believe that “marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks”, Yet marketing goes way beyond this.
Startups Don’t Need Marketing … Or Maybe Later
You asked for it Arnold and 84 others (so far). So I’m gonna talk about marketing.
I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks or when you make so much profit on every marginal customer that it would be crazy to not spend a bit of that profit acquiring more of them (coke, Zynga, bud, viagra).
A very experienced and successful entrepreneur came into our office a week ago to pitch his latest company. At the end of his pitch, he showed us some numbers. Normally for a raw startup, we see almost all product and engineering expenses (headcount). But his plan had a monthly budget for customer acquisition. After he left, we talked about his plan and my partners focused on the customer acquisition number. It bugged us. It felt wrong.
So a few days later, I called him. We talked about what we liked about his plan and pitch and what we didn’t like. I brought up the customer acquisition line item at one point in that call. He said, “every company needs a marketing budget.” It seemed like a strong reply but in truth not one of our top-performing companies had a marketing budget in their initial business plan.