Full Stack Marketing

A few days ago, Marcelo Calbucci, had a great post in Geekwire about the lack of great marketing minds in startups.

For whatever reason marketing seems to be a second rate citizen in startup land. Most startups are sucking up as many engineers as possible, but delaying marketing help until after a significant funding round.

And the startups that are trying to find marketing help tend to get inundated with “squishy b-school marketing” types rather than marketers that can traverse the full marketing stack. This lack of full stack marketers likely explains why most startups are waiting to hire marketing help.

So I wanted to delve into what skills actually make a good full stack marketer. This way startups can know what they are looking for in a real marketing hire and this way marketers can know what skills they need to hone in on in order to get hired at an early stage startup.

The 21 Skills of a Full Stack Marketer

In no particular order these are the skills that I think would make a A+ marketing teammate at an early stage startup.

Many of these skills overlap and many of the resources are about similar concepts as well.

1. SEO

Understanding of how to drive traffic to your site via targeted keywords, link building and on page optimizations.

Where to learn SEO: SEOmoz, SEOBook

2. Copywriting

Know how to create compelling headlines, unique content and understand how people read and consume that content.

Where to learn copywriting: CopyBlogger, Problogger, CopyHackers

3. Paid Advertising

Understand Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and other content networks. Be able to write copy and generate media assets for the ads and test their performance over time.

Where to learn paid advertising: Search Engine Watch, Facebook

4. Email Marketing

Be able to harvest email addresses using permission marketing. Understand how to drive customer engagement and reconnect with customers using email. Be able to manage and segment lists over time.

Where to learn email marketing: MailChimp, Campaign Monitor

5. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn)

Understand how to create a community and drive engagement around the biggest social networks. Understand how content goes viral. Know how to connect with influential people in these networks.

Where to learn social media: BufferApp, Social Media Explorer

6. Positioning

Know how to position products relative to other alternatives in the marketing. Understand how to attract the audience best suited for your product.

Where to learn positioning: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

7. In Product Marketing

Know how to build retention mechanics into your own product. Understand why people use your product and how to drive more usage of your product.

Where to learn in product engagement: Startup Marketing, Inspired

8. Public Relations

Be able to get the attention of bloggers and journalists. Build relationships so that over time your product is consistently in the press.

Where to learn public relations: Tips For Getting Publicity Without A PR Firm, How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup

9. Content Marketing

Be able to create content that is relevant to your market and drives signups for your application. This could be blog posts, guest posting, infographics, podcasts or any form of content that drives links and traffic back to your blog or site.

Where to learn content marketing: Content Marketing Institute, Copy Blogger

10. Blogging

Be able to write content that is both interesting and compelling to your target market consistently. Similar to copywriting and content marketing. You need to be able to write good headlines and interesting content.

Where to learn blogging: HubSpot, Problogger

11. Story Telling

Stories are one of the oldest means of communication. Before the written and recorded word humans passed along information, traditions, and knowledge via stories. Being able to tell stories well will pull in people to your blog or product.

Where to learn story telling: The Stanford Storytelling Project

12. Lifecycle Marketing

Lifecycle marketing is usually done via email. It’s a way to trigger messages to your leads and customers that match their current state in the marketing funnel. Sending the right email at the right time can increase sales by 10% and sometimes more.

Where to learn how to do drip campaigns: Patio11’s Lifecycle Email Marketing Course

13. App Store Marketing

App Stores like the Apple App store or the Salesforce AppExchange provide a great opportunity to get your product out in front of a known audience. Being able to rank highly in these stores can send a steady stream of leads your direction.

Where to learn app store marketing: Apple

14. Analytics

As the saying goes, “50% of marketing works. We’re just not sure which 50%.” With the advent of internet marketing, though, we’ve gotten much better and figuring out how well our marketing efforts are working. A good understanding of web analytics will help you double down what is working and throw out what isn’t.

Where to learn analytics: Occam’s Razor

15. A/B Testing

Another skill of a savvy marketer is being able to iterate towards optimal solutions. A/B testing lets marketers test two different variations of an offering and figure out which one converts the best. A/B tests can result in double digit percentage increases in conversions with relatively little effort.

Where to learn A/B testing: ABTests.com, Optimizely

16. Landing Page Optimization

Similar to A/B Testing, landing page optimization lets you tweak headlines, keywords, layout, offering, colors, and whatever you can think of to increase the performance of your pages key metrics.

Where to learn landing page optimization: Unbounce, VisualWebsiteOptimizer

17. HTML/CSS/Javascript

A marketer who can get their hands dirty will be much more effective than one that always has to lean on a developer. Being able to edit the copy directly via HTML reposition an element on the page via CSS will let a marketer iterate quicker without distracting the development team.

Where to learn HTML/CSS/Javascript: Udacity, Codecademy

18. Customer Service

Marketers have to constantly be communicating with customers. There isn’t a better way to do this than through customer service. A marketer who can’t communicate effectively with customers via email, phone, chat and in person is going to be a lot less effective than one that can.

Where to learn customer service: Help Scout, UserVoice

19. Pitching

Every marketer has to be pitching. Constantly. Pitching could be emailing a blogger about doing a guest post. It could be convincing a conference organizer to let you talk at a conference. It could be pitching a bigger company to partner up.

Where to learn pitching: Toast Masters

20. Distribution

Being able to generate lots of content has been a theme of this post. But content that no one sees is pointless. A marketer needs to know how to find outlets for getting product and content out in front of an audience so people actually know about your content or product.

Where to learn distribution: Distribution Hacks, Patio11

21. Biz Dev

Business Development is the art of partnering with another company in a way that will help you both grow faster. Biz Dev is harder than making a sale of a product. Biz Dev is putting together a deal and being able to implement and coordinate the deal for start to finish with minimal distraction for both team.s

Where to learn biz dev: Andrew Dumont

22. Bonus

These 21 items is a big list, but certainly not exhaustive. A full stack marketer will find and experiment with any way possible to expose their product as efficiently as possible.

Where to learn: Experiment!, HN though ignore the rabble rousers, Inbound Dot Org

Expertise Not Necessary

It would take years to become great at any of these things. Decades to be an expert at all.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert.

You only need to be able to get the ball rolling. You only need to know enough to put something in place to build from. You only need to find one or two successful tactics early on to get early traction with the product.

Once the startup has some momentum and either revenue or significant funding you can bring in the domain experts to optimize the marketing channels most important for the startup.

The Best Learning is Doing

You’ll find a lot of data while learning how to do any of these skills. But keep in mind it may or may not apply to your startup.

The best way to learn is to try everything.

Give everything a one or two shots. If it’s terrible forget about it for now. If it shows an inkling of promise put some extra effort to see if you can make something happen.


Posted on February 11th, 2013

Theme design by Wade Foster.