Edition 31

Because 30 is still in my drafts

I still have edition 30 in my drafts. It was about Jumpshot and some other things, but since I went on vacation, I lost my train of thought on that. I might revisit it though.



What no one tells you about building a business is how fucking hard it is. I’ve been lucky to be able to do what I love (marketing) for most of my career even though I started in IT/Business Tech at P&G. I’ve been lucky to be able to build a micro agency over the last 2 years (yes its been 2 years officially!) but every other week or so, I think it might just all go away tomorrow. Part of it is imposter syndrome, part of it is the global economic situation (COVID has sent the markets plummeting) & part of it is, being exhausted. March is off to a slower start then I’d like - I had some conversations in Feb but none of them have closed or seem to be closing so I am partially living in far and partially taking this time to refresh my site, do some of my own marketing (you might have seen some twitters ads from the 42/Agency handle) and mostly watching Money Heist on Netflix after my 2-year-old firecracker goes to bed.

After my last letter, I felt like an old brown dude shouting at the internet. So the break was good to reset on this front as well. Subscribers have been trickling in (Hello Masa!) but I haven’t really treated this as a ‘marketing’ channel for my business. Should I repost this on the company blog? It literally has zero keyword optimization but it potentially could be a ‘brand channel’ even though I express very strong opinions about the industry.

Onwards.


I’ve been thinking about the intersection of media & marketing for a while. Essentially every company is a media company (hello content marketing & video marketing & events, SEO & Ad Tech) but also how strong personalities lead in both businesses.

Take the Ringer acquisition for example - Spotify bought the Ringer (a pod business) for $230M. Why? Because Bill Simmons has built an incredible business around his personality & voice and its distance to him.

On the print / written side - I’ve been a fan of Steven Levy (BackChannl), Erin Griffin (Fortun/NYT), Jessi Hempel (BackChannl/Wired/LinkedIn( for a while. Each time they move to a different pub, I ‘move’ with them because I want to read their stuff. I subscribe to the pub they work at to access their writing & by bonus discover other writers I like.

Similarly, you can see a parallel b/w marketing. The most recent example is (you probably guessed it) Dave Gerhardt from Drift. He built an incredible following while at Drift & he '“carried” that following with him when he joined Privy. I’d have never know what Privy is if it hadn’t been for Dave. Now I even know they launched a text product for Ecomm brands! I don’t always agree with Dave but I respect what he’s done.

Another example is Jason Lemkin who built a following on Quora & now moved his audience to LinkedIn /Saastr & podcasts. Incredible what he’s done.

A B2B Influencer product in there somewhere?


I was going to go down the rabbit hole of PLG & how PLG isn’t a GTM but another word for freemium biz models but I’ll save that for another time.

Here’s an interesting point of view on that though - from Jason Lemkin:

“Let’s add a Freemium Edition.” “Let’s Add a Super Cheap Edition.”  This almost never works. Freemium is great -- look at Zoom, Slack, Monday.com, etc. But if you were going to have a successful freemium edition … you’d already have a freemium edition. It doesn’t work to add one later because freemium is rarely a go-to-market and marketing strategy. Taking on "free" almost never generates enough users to be worth it. Nor does a New, Super Cheap Edition. The effort here almost always is extremely dilutive of your time and resources, if you didn't more or less start there.


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Assorted interesting reads I might revisit:

Never has been a subject so polarizing. Marketing always advocates for SDRs under marketing but what does their career path look like under marketing?

Enterprise is complex & rarely makes for a neat ‘SEO optimized’ page. But you could pick a single ‘angle’ and work that or create some tangential SEO benefit around the core product offering.

I was joking about this (but it’s true) - ecommerce / DTC folks are at the bleeding edge (they are hyper focused on paid acqusition because there’s little product differentiation so they essentially become ''marketing’ companies. But in B2B we’re so behind times that we’re still running ‘traffic’ campaigns & wondering why FB/Twitter/Google doesn’t ‘really’ work.

On the same topic, this podcast on Ad fraud at Uber was mind-blowing. Android being open source creates more opps for sneaky bastards. Also ALWAYS exclude apps from your display placements. Lots of accidental fat thumbs even if the apps showing the ads are sketchy.

A great long read on Elliot (calling for @jacks head)

If you’ve followed DTC - is the bubble bursting? First Brandless went under then OV founder is stepping down.

Thanks for reading along. The soundtrack for this edition was me munching down shawarma while typing it out.

Till next time.

Kamil