Here’s another post-mortem from CPUsage, a company I actually wrote about recently on Medium in a post titled You Need Me On That Wall. The topic is worth talking about further, in my opinion…and I’m not biased at all as a marketing guy.
The business landscape, particularly Startup Land, is changing monumentally. Marketing – that is the practice of acquiring customers – has matured more in the past 10 years than the 50 years prior (I’m making those numbers up, but you get the gist). The old model of build the product, then push your message out to the world in hopes of capturing some leads is gone and dead, certainly for those of us involved in startups. Back to that post-mortem I mentioned. Read the open and honest words Matt uses. See a pattern?
Customer validation is key…We built a great product, had trouble with market fit…Customers are the only thing that matter…we were an engineering organization…[we] engaged with customers in [our] spare time…
In my admittedly limited experience with startups, achieving product/market fit is the key milestone for any early stage company. That process entails a whole bunch of marketing type tasks and responsibilities. Market research, customer development, surveying, interviews, doing things that don’t scale like having coffee with any user who takes you up on the offer, finding awesome ways to get more sign-ups, and so on (blah blah growth hacking blah blah). And that’s only one step of many that requires a marketing mind.
Consider this my call for startup founders to strongly consider the implications of not having a marketing type person as part of the core team from Day One. “If you build it, they will come” is a pipe dream.