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.