In the midst of clutter on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do when it comes to promoting a start-up, a company just went ahead and tried ALL THE METHODS- and documented the results in the process.
Traditional marketing and PR has its place, but for start-ups, that isn’t necessarily what works. After their first five years of spending $0 on marketing, online backup storage company Blackblaze went the full Monty. Methods that are assumed to lead to success (Google Adsense, Facebook ads, an appearance on Ellen) actually cost the company.
Click to see Blackblaze’s results: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2013/11/26/one-startup-tried-every-marketing-ploy-from-ellen-to-twitter-heres-what-worked/.
You can see that the most expensive methods are at the bottom of the chart, and mostly free methods are at the top. This is so, because those free methods were actually more directed to their consumers. The top methods (blogging, branded Google Adwords, SEO, self-managed PR) would have mostly been seen by those specifically looking for Blackblaze. This is interesting, because one would think that the purpose of marketing strategies would be to find new consumers who’ve never heard of them. At that point, you wonder whether Blackblaze’s top experiment results really converted new users.
It would have been stimulating to see Blackblaze use unique and innovative ways to promote their brand, but it is understandable that the purpose of this experiment was to test current, traditional methods. Startups are thinking divergently when it comes to marketing—such as partnering with others in their space, doing personalized outreach, and creating striking content—just to name a few methods. One would hope that outside this experiment, BlackBlaze diversified their game, as well.