Its not all creativity and glamour.
Most people have the misconception that being in marketing means that you do the creative work and develop catchy advertisements or develop a brand new marketing campaign to reach more people and generate more sells. Well, that is only but a small fraction of what I am doing as the CMO of Future Delivery.
Now that I have my own company, people often ask me what it is that I actually do. So, this is what the CMO of a startup company does:
1. Market Research
Thats right. A big part of what I do is research the entire market. And when I say entire market I mean everything from industry trends and competitors, to surveys and TAM analysis. Its a dirty job but someone has to do it. The CEO is out there building the business plan and the CTO is building the product. It is my responsibility to figure out what kind of product the market is ready for and will accept as a solution to their problems.
2. Business Development
If you hate to cold call or cold email, then this is not the job for you. A startup company has no name, no reputation, and no clients or customers. It is my job to go out there (even right now with no product), and sell our product. I am dead serious here. I am making phone calls and setting up meeting where I am literally walking in with nothing but a laptop and few concept drawings of what the world will look like. Do we actually get some clients? Of course we do! If I weren’t able to convert leads, then I would be in the wrong business.
You will receive a lot of “No’s”, a lot of canceled meetings, and a lot of unreturned calls; however, the CMO must be persistent and must always remain positive. In essence, this is a numbers game. The more people I contact and the larger my network grows, the higher the chance that I will meet someone from a company that will listen to my pitch and like it.
Here comes the fun part. Like I said, we have no name; therefore, it is my job to go out there and develop the brand. I must develop a strategy to stick our company brand in the mind of our target market. There are many ways to do this and the fun part is finding the right ones that work. Here are a few strategies that I’m working on right now: blogging, facebook, linkedin, thought leadership, squidoo, youtube, and career development mavens. I will blog about my experience with each one and which ones work and which ones don’t.
4. Public Relations
Like David Meerman Scott, I do not believe that we should pay a lot of money to get journalists and other media to write about us. If we develop the right content, build thought leadership in the career development field, and attract users, then journalists and the media will come to us. And believe me, when they come to us, we’ll be ready. I am developing the Press Kit and the Media Page so that when the time comes that someone is researching Future Delivery to write an article, they’ll know right where to look to get all of the information that they could possibly need about Future Delivery.
5. Team Leadership
I do have a team that is working with me: Shin Kadota, Peter Suberlak, and Michael Wang. All of them studied at UCLA with me and all of them are very eager and bright young minds. From my experiences, I have learned that the best way to lead a team is to empower them and make sure that they are the right person in the right seat of the bus. Each person on my team is leading a specific project. I give them the opportunity to accomplish task B, but I do not tell them exactly how to get from A to B. It is completely up to them to decide what steps they should take to get to B, which gives them the feeling of ownership and freedom that motivates them to do an amazing job.
What are your experiences with being a young CMO? I would love to hear your stories and hopefully we can learn and grow from each other.