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StartUp Connect Summary, Part 2

on December 19 in Events | 0 comments

(This is a continuation from Part 1. Originally published 12/19/13. ) I only attended the Saas/e-commerce breakouts since tech marketing is more my thing.  Here are my rough and random notes, with commentary. Brad Jannenga of WebPT and Bob La Loggia of Appointment-Plus had an amusing session addressing life as an entrepreneur.  No slide deck, just a background of changing images with their heads on bodies of animals, icons like Jules and Vincent, and even inanimate objects like jet fighters. In terms of challenges, they noted execution (Bob) and prioritization (Brad).  Basic as it sounds, it obviously was important to state that “the right product and demand for it is required” for success.  (In my mind, when marketing is an integral part in product development instead of being brought in as sales support after the fact, success can be assured. But, I’m biased of course!) Metrics and measurement was also covered, with monthly recurring revenue (MRR) a key for SaaS companies.  Other measurements include churn, customer acquiring cost, and LTV (which should be 3x the acquisition costs). Trends identified included “platform as a service, portability aka ” How is my data formatted and how do I get it out of there?” (Brad), and enterprise service bus (Bob). Brad  had some great points around content marketing, such as “Be a voice in the industry,” and he noted how marketing has changed and is “no longer about tradeshows and ads but is science now.” I think it has always been thought of as (at least part-) science, just in larger organizations.  Now small businesses and startups are getting more savvy and adoption of testing and measurement is more commonplace (and in part because tools are more affordable). Other panelists addressed marketing in interesting ways as follows: Carlos Roman from Insight highlighted the shift that has happened since the 1990s in solution marketing, which is from a scarcity of information (from the buyer’s perspective) to abundance via the Internet.  The content provided allows you to be found at the right time. Now, when an enterprise client calls, he says,  the sale is 60-80% completed. Alan Lobock, co-founder of SkyMall and now Worthworm, raised the point about investors needing to know what the...

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StartUp Connect AZ Summary, Part 1

on December 19 in Events | 1 comment

Yesterday’s first StartupConnect AZ conference brought together Arizona experts and entrepreneurs alike to talk about our city and state ecosystem with respect to STEM; provide insight from experts in investing and VC, education, incubation and co-working; and address topics such as Women in Entrepreneurship and models of success like London’s Tech City. Instead of a long summary, here are a few quotes from the event: Mayor Stanton: “There’s not an old boy network here to keep you down.” “This is a wide-open town.” Arizona Commerce Authority (Brian Sherman, I believe): “Entrepreneurs have to understand their value proposition.” (I couldn’t agree more!) On Collaboration:  “Be more inclusive; get outside the usual suspects.” “Businesses don’t know how to get connected.” Jerry Colangelo: “We need more cooperation from our state legislature.” Maria Speth: “If it’s not your genius, it’s not your job.” An interesting topic and takeaway was related to “Identity.” The city and state’s identity (or lack thereof) was another theme.  It’s a difficult concept to explain but essentially our “story” of who we are as a place is fragmented and oftentimes empty. We hang our hat on weather, but that isn’t enough to attract big business and create civic pride.  We have to create a connection to place and a real culture here.  Kimber Lanning, of Local First Arizona fame, is a leader in delivering this message and I wish there were more of her thoughts on this topic out there but all I could find was this; she was incredibly articulate and passionate so go hear her speak whenever you can.  For my part, I tweeted: Theme for the day: lack of a #Phoenix story. IMHO an R&D problem not #branding. #startupconnectaz — Tracy Diziere (@tracydiziere) December 18, 2013 What I meant was, before the “story” comes the “value.”  We have to find and develop our community’s strengths and improve on key areas that would really drive value in the minds of prospective businesses and talent.  (This is the same process I go through with clients in developing marketing strategy, by the way!) The expert panel of Public Policy & STEM championed education as the #1 priority for improvement.  When we have critical mass (and enthusiasm) around who we are, we...

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