So two discussions this week were reminders to me of how much marketing has changed in the early and “pre-brand” stages:
- Two very successful founders ($1B+ exits) with new startups pushed me really hard to promote their new startup you’ve never heard of our our podcast + at SaaStr Annual. I tried to explain to both how to make content here that would matter more to listeners, but the conversations fell on quiet ears.
- I read a pretty interesting thread on LinkedIn on how folks overrate how important getting on ProductHunt and TechCrunch and the like is to getting your start-up off the ground. Both are great, but again, rarely on their own will make your startup.
Here’s the thing: in a world of 100,000 startups, and likely 100-1000 just in your segment alone, no one cares.
No one cares you have a new or new-ish app. There are way, way too many apps. No one cares about another chatbot, another sales tool, another payroll system. No one cares.
Folks running a playbook for years past sometimes don’t seem to get this. 10-15 years ago, folks did care about new apps for the sake of being … new apps. Not anymore. Every category has plenty of category leaders today that are really, really good.
But what they do care about is operational excellence. More than ever.
In a world where everyone has deployed 100-200 apps, we are now all mini-experts. We do care about:
- How to actually get more leads
- How to avoid legal exposure
- How to minimize downtime
- How to better monetize our apps
- How to improve pricing
- How to make more per customer
- How to hire better
- How to make benefits truly better
- Etc. Etc.
I see a world today where too many marketers and founders are still stuck in between two worlds. Everyone is producing mediocre content, but not stuff that truly adds insane value to their customer base. And everyone is still trying to “get on stage”, get on top podcasts and other channels, to promote their new product. But as someone that has done events now for 10 years and 52 weeks a year if you include digital — no one will come if you don’t add true value.
No one comes. No one listens.
Level up the value you add, for real. Even if only 1, 5, 10 prospects and customers hear it. Do the rest of the PR and marketing playbook, for sure.
But we are in a world with more tweets, more LinkedIn posts, more apps, and more courses than ever.
That means if you truly add epic value in your industry, it’s actually easier to stand out than ever in a sea of endless AI-driven content and self-promotion.
You can even come out of nowhere and do it.
An example of a great piece of early content that literally made a start-up here:
(no one cares image from here)