Melinda ByerleyFounding Partner,

15 years growth marketing: eBay, PayPal, Linden Lab(Second Life), Check Point Software, multiple startups. GrowthX mentor. Skilled Google Analytics Whisperer. VentureBeat Columnist. MBA, Cornell University

Recent Answers

According to Clarity's documentation, no. The client suggests times and there is some expected back and forth before a mutually agreeable time is agreed upon.

Details here:

A lot of these links on how to fix this are out there now but the fact is they only work up to a point. You still have to monitor and exclude them one by one, playing a game of whackamole. I'd really like to see Google Analytics implement a "referral spam" ID on these links and enough of these can eliminate them from everyone's lists. Ah well, one can dream.

Depends on who you are talking to. Many small companies and startups won't pay anything for a strategy. They can't. They pay for work and for results.

So be careful about over valuing a plan and under valuing execution. The former is easy, the latter is time consuming and usually what clients are far more interested in.

We talk through a client's needs and priorities, then we start with a simple, short engagement. We call it "dating before getting married." The idea is that we'll learn so much more about each other in 3-6 weeks than we will in a negotiations process.

We start with a pain point, we solve it. Then we move on to the next. The strategy evolves out of the work, and is far more value added after we've been immersed for a time in the actual data.

My philosophy is that too much time is wasted in conference rooms planning not to fail when it should be about putting things into the marketplace and learning from experience and data.

Clients who don't want that are not likely to be a fit for us.

So, do your best. Be yourself. Keep trying new things with each negotiation and you'll learn as you go. And track your time. You'll be amazed at how you have no idea how much time it takes but over time you'll get good, really good at it and that will make estimates more accurate. It will also help you identify which tasks deserve investment in automation or which should be delegated to lower cost resources.

After advising and marketing for tech companies for over 13 years, and for as much as I value my own profession, there is no escaping this path: Start by getting your first 10 customers. No joke. That is harder than it looks. You can do this via social media, cold calling, personal networks, door-to-door sales.

Then get the next 100. By then you'll know a lot about what kinds of people use your product. What do they have in common? What do they love? What do they tell their friends?

Only after you truly understand this does it make sense to do "marketing"-in the sense of buying advertising. Marketing actually encompasses all these things, but most people think of it as buying ads, so I like to clarify.

Then once you have all those users, talk to them. A lot. Use the phone, email, surveys, in person visits to know them intimately. Try to anticipate their needs. Get them to refer you to their friends by having an incredible experience. That is the single most cost effective way to grow a company. Advertising--even if on social media-is very expensive and can be time consuming. Until you know who is buying your product and why, it's hard to focus a marketing strategy enough to make it effective. Let me know if you have any questions on this.

I often get called by companies when their first version of a product isn't exploding and they think marketing will fix it. But nothing spreads the word about a bad product better than good marketing. I will actively refuse/postpone clients who aren't ready for us yet, because marketing cannot fix a product/market fit problem. ( We can still sometimes help--you might need your google analytics installs retooled to get the right data, or to get the most out of the reports, some insights about what is and what is not working, or to create a plan for testing.)

So, my advice to you is to build a product that doesn't require you to spend money on marketing. Understand and love your customers so that you can anticipate their needs. Stay focused on it -iterating, evolving, measuring, growing-until you have very low churn rates. Low churn/recurring revenue will be what allows you to spend money on marketing and possibly raise investment. If you spend money finding customers who don't stay, you're only renting them, not acquiring them.

Consider who you've been successful with so far. What do they have in common? Don't be afraid to go beyond the big buckets of B2C and B2B or healthcare, tech, etc. Think about level in the org, working style, business problems.

Then figure out how to get more. Once you know the answers to the first questions, then you can focus on where those kinds of people are.

I've discovered that we're really successful working with non-technical founders, or solo founders who need marketing support. This has led to thinking about my network and who might know others like this who could use our skills, beyond the usual suspects in our tech bubble in silicon valley.

I'd hyper segment. I've seen people build incredibly successful niches by finding segments like opthamologists offices and funeral homes. those groups have trade shows that are super hubs to expand; and once you succeed with a few, word of mouth helps you grow.

Remember that direct doesn't mean "came to my site." It means "Google couldn't ascertain what campaign this was part of." For example, many links that come from Facebook mobile flow into direct, because the mobile app wipes the cookie. (this is part of what's known as "dark social.")

One way to get at this is to look at assisted conversions and multi channel funnel analysis in GA, which helps you start to understand how the channels interact.

Also, when adding UTM params to an Adwords campaign you can cause issues. Google can delete that stuff when it adds its own if you aren't careful.

In theory, sure. In practice, to do this you'd need to find a mostly foolproof way of knowing who was "good" when they signed up*. Will the team reviewing be able to KNOW who is likely to be good? if not, you're just providing friction for signups.

This is a perfect thing to test. I'd use cohort analysis to follow a group you let in vs the control and see if the team does a better job than average at filtering out the "bad."

The Test would also then tell you if that friction point was hurting you overall, even if the team was unable to manually discern who the best customers are.

Another option: just review all the signups manually anyway and disable the ones you don't like. No need to reveal it.

*To do this, you'll need to find out what your good customers have in common. (the same industry? title? company growth phase?). This is called segmentation. Once you understand that you can then market to get to more of the good.

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