Gone are the days in which a novice at an early stage business could go on and compete for placements with the paid marketing machines of mature enterprises. For what it's worth, if you're going to go down the road, make sure you have a vetted specialist at the wheel.
But overall, as the rising costs of Facebook and Instagram ads, in particular, are passed down the food chain by big brands (that can afford to reach further into their pockets), early stage businesses are turning to new methods to sell their wares online.
Let's look at a few of the newest seed stage early stage businesses
- Cradlewise - a smart cradle with responsive rocking and integrated contactless baby monitoring.
- Rosen Skincare - a brand of natural, but effective skincare products targeted towards young, active, and diverse individuals.
- Golde - approachable, effective wellness essentials for inner and outer radiance. Powered by single-origin golden turmeric.
- Pepper - makes bras in AA to B cups with band sizes starting at 30 and going to 38 for small-chested women.
- Urban Legend - the ultimate treat donut never high in fat, sugar or calories.
- Who Gives A Crap - Not Your Average Toilet Paper. Saving The World, One Wipe At A Time.
- Halfdays - The first outdoor apparel company built from the ground up for women
- Thermaband - a health and wellness company empowering menopausal women with personal comfort on demand through a cooling/warming wearable.
- Chupps - a direct-to-consumer sustainable footwear brand.
- Fearless Sports - Fearless celebrates workday style, weekend attitude, and all-seasoncomfort.
When and why do I need a growth marketer?
As soon as budget allows - and let's be clear, there's no need for a costly full time hire, and you're looking at less than $2500-3500/mo for someone at the top of their game - you'll want to start exploring alternatives to paid ads.
Developing optionality in customer acquisition is important for your raw business metrics, but also for your investors and employees. As you're looking to attract capital and retain internal talent - especially in ultra-competitive categories like engineering - want to see and believe that you are anti-fragile; in other words, you can continue to thrive through external shocks.
What should you look for in a growth marketer?
Growth marketing has been a much mis-used and catch-all phrase since it came onto the scene in the mid 2010s, but now its true meaning is starting to enter the vocabulary of many DTC startups; who need to stay exploring a diversified range of channels through which to grow.
A good growth marketer is not defined by their aptitudes but their attitude: they are unafraid of utilising SEO-optimised content, community-led outreach, email marketing, Reddit posts and indeed any channel that could conceivably deliver results.
What should a growth marketer be tasked with doing?
Their role is not to double down on one channel which they know inside and out, but to take any one of these channels and rigorously test then quantify its capacity to deliver results across the full lifecycle: from acquisition through to retention.
The name of the game is reaching a position where you have a broader picture of every way you could start to scale your acquisition. What's important here is that no option is off the table. If anything, the more outlandish it sounds, so long as it's been proven to deliver results, the better. As Andrew Chen (ex-Uber) has argued, the silver bullet for a startup is to discover and dominate the next untapped marketing channel.