Perspective, Pontification and Propoganda about Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, brought to you by David Hornik of Lobby Capital.

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nice piece.

as an occasional VP Marketing, i'd agree -- everyone seems to have an opinion ;)

however in addition to the art part, i think there's quite a bit of science to the practice these days, at least as far as internet startups go.

here are several areas i think about that relate to marketing:
- user lifecycle / conversion funnel (science)
- email marketing (mostly science)
- website marketing (mostly science)
- SEO (science)
- SEM (science)
- referral / affiliate programs (science)
- widgets & plug-ins (mostly science)
- feature education / product mktg (mostly science)
- site user experience (mostly art)
- biz dev / channel (some art, some science)
- viral / feature (some science, some art)
- viral / word-of-mouth (mostly art)
- videos / photos / media (art)
- community / forums / blogs (mostly art)
- social bookmarking (mostly art)
- PR (some science, mostly art)
- contests (art)

and of course my favorite:
- getting your VC to blog about you (art ;)

truly genius to write a blog post admitting you're not a genius.

- dave

Lance Weatherby

Marketing is like sex. Everybody thinks they are good at it and wants to do it.


I feel for marketing people. In my previous discipline, design, EVERYBODY is a designer and EVERYBODY has an opinion on how the design of a product should be. Design is something everybody can relate to and everybody can touch. Like for art, every person has their own opinion of what works and what doesn't, and what looks good and what does not. So try to get into a design review of a product. Scary for the designer. Everybody has an opinion and often the meeting devolves into a mess...

I think things would work better if we just let experts do what they are supposed to do, designers and marketers alike. And if they stink, fire them and hire new and better ones.

Elliot Essman

Marketing is a unique discipline in that it requires a combination of art and science. The art comes first: knowing what to look for, knowing when to recognize value that appears on its own. The science is the middle of the sandwich, the rigor that business requires in order to transcend wishful thinking. Ultimately, however, a final dose of art (or call it "guts") is required to justify combining money with perceived opportunity.

Tom Hayes

I define marketing as giving the customer exactly what he/she wants. VC savants have a sixth sense for this, or I've found, they are not long for this world. Give yourself some credit.


These guys at Harvard actually illustrate the expectation gap between VCs and entrepreneurs.

Note the gap that has the VCs thinking they're helping with marketing vs. the company saying the VC is meddling too much in marketing and not doing nearly enough to bring in customers and partners!

I've seen that movie before...


This reminds me of what would be a great piece of advice on this topic for company founders or their marketing veeps (and I've been one of the latter). I got this pearl from some wise old marketing guy early in my career, when I working in for a large IT vendor. It actually applied to lawyers -- who can be notorious nit-picking, meddling pains-in-the ass when it comes to marketing. But I think it could be equally brilliant to use on VCs who insist on giving their unsolicited marketing advice. Here it is:

When seeking approval from lawyers (or VCs) for your marketing plan, ad copy, news release, whatever, tell them to have a red pen and blue pen. Ask them to mark their legal (or business/financial/investor) comments in red, and their editorial (or marketing) comments in blue.

Then simply ignore the blue, and you're good to go.


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In June of 1996, chez Domaine du Val des Rois, in Valreas, I tasted a 1969 rose that my host, Romain Bouchard, had made, from Grenache, Syrah, and Gamay, and it was breath-taking! Only very slightly past its prime, but still vivid and precise, and riveting. After which we tasted a Tavel, from...1968--a terrible year--and it was more tired than the Bouchard wine, but amazingly still quite interesting.

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Marcus Bradley

To complement your original idea, technology is changing how marketing is done. Tools now exist that give internet marketers the ability to determine which advertising is working and which is not in real time.

Scientific testing can be applied to websites to determine which user actions generate form submissions, inbound phone calls, and ECommerce sales. Other metrics can determine which actions cause users to abandon the shopping cart, or leave the site because of distractions.

The most sophisticated marketing provides information specific to the behaviors. Here is a link that explains more about marketing to behaviors.

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