Monday, August 28, 2006

Starting Findory: Marketing

Ah, marketing. Is there anything that techies like less?

It is obviously naively idealistic, but I think we geeks wish marketing was unnecessary. Wouldn't it be nice if people could easily and freely get the information they need to make informed decisions?

Sadly, information is costly, and the time spent analyzing information even more so. People generally do use advertisements to discover new products and rely on shortcuts such as brand reputation as part of their decision-making.

As much as we might hate it, marketing is important.

Marketing also is absurdly expensive. It is mostly out of reach for a self-funded startup. Though I recognized the need, Findory.com did almost no traditional marketing.

There were limited experiments with some advertising. For the most part, these tests showed the advertising spend to be relatively ineffective. The customer acquisition costs came out to a few dollars, cheap compared to what many are willing to pay, but more than a self-funded startup reasonably could afford.

Even without substantial advertising, for the first two years, Findory grew at about 100% per quarter. Most of this was from word of mouth and viral marketing features.

Findory tried to accelerate word of mouth by focusing marketing time and effort on PR with reporters and bloggers, sharing data through RSS feeds and APIs, and providing Findory content to websites and weblogs with Findory Inline.

Findory's growth has stalled lately, casting some doubt on the strategy of pursuing word of mouth and viral marketing alone. Again, the question comes up over whether to spend time and treasure on non-traditional or traditional marketing.

3 comments:

James V Reagan said...

Greg, have you tried marketing efforts through non-tech blogs or even non-tech articles? Most people on the web probably don't have a clue what RSS is let alone what it means. Yet Findory is applicable to anyone looking to narrow down content choices. Seems like Findory appeals to a very broad spectrum, are you targeting the breadth of that spectrum?

Looks like you have the SEO piece nailed :)

Greg Linden said...

Thanks, James, that is a good point. Findory is targeting the mainstream. I do need to do a better job of getting product and brand awareness outside of the early adopter geek crowd.

Paul Homer said...

An interesting book to read that might be very appropriate here is "Crossing the Chasm", by Geoffrey A. Moore.

Has Findory been picked up by early adopters or are the users still falling into the innovator's group?