Most of us will never have to worry about international spie and espionage, hacking is alive, well, and a much more likely scenario due to its lucrative nature whereas your data is being published on the dark web, sold and resold time and time again. A Forbes article projected cyber crimes will cost businesses over $2 trillion annually during this year alone and this number is growing! Big businesses aren’t the only ones targeted by criminals, 20 percent of SMBs are victims of hacking attempts each year and even more private accounts. To help ensure video isn’t a source of for these criminals we’ve outlined five steps you can take now to secure your video conferencing in our best practices article.
Maven Ventures, a venture capital fund that made early stage investments in Zoom and Cruise, is launching a $65 million fund to feed off growing investor interest in taking small but very early bets on the next generation of technology companies.
Founder Jim Scheinman says limited partners flock to the fund because it bets on early stage startups other investors consider too risky. “You can either say, ‘I guess everyone else is right and we’re wrong’ and just shut it down or you can say, ‘We’re on to something and they just don’t see it yet,’” Scheinman says. Maven Ventures originally planned to raise $50 million for the third fund.
Getting insurance is a crucial way for entrepreneurs to protect themselves from damages that could potentially devastate their businesses. In 2017, one in three small businesses faced incidents that could have led to an insurance claim, so entrepreneurs can’t afford to leave themselves vulnerable. Companies can get different kinds of insurance, depending on the nature of their business, but worker’s compensation insurance is a must-have once you hire your first employee.
1. For startups and digital nomads / remote workers - what is the biggest mistake most make when planning a growth hacking strategy?
Understanding your current stage of growth of your startup is the biggest mistake to know if you should even deploy a “growth hacking strategy” in the first place.
Which stage of growth are you in?
Hustle growth - you’re proving product-market fit and getting initial traction/customer base by any means possible no matter if what you’re doing isn’t scalable.
Proactive growth - you have product-market fit and now you want to create scalable and predictable growth. One-off “growth hacks” aren’t enough - you’re looking for always-on growth tactics.
If you’re in “hustle growth”, then it doesn’t matter if the tactics you are deploying aren’t going to work tomorrow - your goal is to get initial traction and prove your product-market fit.
On the flip side, if you’re post Series B or have a proven business model - you aren’t looking for growth hacks to scale up - you’re looking to build an always-on growth machine built on predictable systems.
So, first understand what growth stage you’re in to know if growth hacking is the right thing for you.
2. If you were to develop a product that would be ideal for growth hacking what would it be?
Above we outlined that growth hacking is useful in the “hustle growth” stage and proving product-market fit, because it’s mostly about one-off tactics.
Probably a mashup between Tyepform, Sumo and Unbounce.
It’d allow you to:
Understand if your audience wants what you have to offer
Survey them and ask them questions to understand them further
Create a pre-launch audience for your product/service
It’s all about validating your next big idea. NextBigIdea.io would be the name :-)
3. If you were a remote worker what tools would you use for communication? growth hacking? marketing analytics?
My go-to tools for remote workers:
Slack: communicating with my clients, colleagues through text and video calls.
Google Apps: Drive, Spreadsheets, Presentations… etc.
Sumo: to build an audience using things such as exit-intent popups, etc.
Unbounce: to build landing pages on the fly to validate concepts super fast
Mailshake: sending cold emails to get demos, build links, etc.
Typeform: run surveys to get insights
Google Analytics: Basic tool everyone needs to see the state of the top of your funnel.
Data studio with Supermetrics: Building key dashboards to look at your north star metrics. Combine with Supermetrics to pull in things such as Facebook ad spend etc. You need everything in one place to be successful.
4. Many startups have the ability to gather data on their customers however they struggle with what to do with it and do not have the resources to hire people that can. What suggestions do you have?
First, make sure you’re collecting the data in a GDPR compliant way - you let your users know why you are collecting the data and they have the option to opt in and out.
Second on deciding what to do with the data - it depends what you’re business model is.
But let’s assume that you have all of this information in your CRM (e.g. in Mailchimp).
I’d focus on segmenting your users by company size and then personalising their onboarding depending on your ability to upsell to them.
Company size 1->50:
The user goes through a touchless onboarding experience and they purchase one of your plans on the lower end. Their lifetime value don’t merit a human simply because the economics don’t work out
Company size 50+:
We think companies with 50+ employees have the potential to purchase on of our higher plans, and we think they need some type of human interaction to get them over the edge.
Therefore our onboarding is focused on getting them on a “free consultancy call”, before asking them if theyd like to see a demo of what you have to offer.
The trick is that on the “free consultancy call”, you are finding our their pain points, so later you are able to relate your product to them.
Of course, you can use the data you have in many other ways related to personalisation - at the end of the day one of the key goals of marketing is to mimic 1-1 sales, but at scale.
5. How has marketing changed over the past 4-5 years?
Two examples of how marketing is fundamentally changing:
One, it’s now about relationships, empathy and anonymity.
With GDPR (and many other triggers), we are moving into a digital world where we expect to have given prior permission before being contacted and thus sold to.
This leads on to why the brands that are winning, are now focusing on being human and empathetic. Google examples of these brands include Typeform and Squarespace - they focus not on functional benefits but on emotions, thus combining art and science.
Two, smart machines are taking over.
A great example to illustrate this is with Facebook ads:
4 years ago - the focus was on interest/demographic targeting to make our ads reach the right people
2 years ago - we now use lookalike audiences of our best customers to find other people who would be interested in purchasing our product/service
Now - 0 targeting - the machine finds people for you based on your past conversion data. As a marketer we leave the targeting up to the machine - but we are still in control with our message and the value we want to transmit.
Other ad platforms such as Google Ads are also moving into this direction.
So what does this mean?
It means that the focus is on how we create value for our users, as a key differentiator in the markets we are in.
Jake is Founder of InflectionGrowth, an online community for SaaS marketers.