in Entrepreneurship, Marketing

About 2-3 months ago I started a closed FB called “The Startup Marketing Challenge.”

For me, this was an experiment in mass mentoring – and this was this was the MVP.

I spend a lot of time helping early stage startups for free through mentoring, workshops, etc.

With the new agency starting to shape up (soon, I promise) I have less and less time to do the one on one’s.

So I’ve decided to test a new format.

The idea is simple:
Every week or so, I will add a new challenge for the group members.

Every challenge will be around marketing/growth and will focus on execution. Meaning, that if a company completes the challenge, they can expect to see actual result in their KPI.

Currently, there are 177 people in the group (each person is a startup representative) and 80 more people waiting to be approved.

Still, it’s not working.

Why doesn’t it work?

I posted the first challenge in November.

The challenge was around doing user interviews – each member had to write down their hypothesis on who their target audience is, interview them and analyze their results.Everybody seemed pretty excited about the challenge; my inbox was booming with questions, and my Google drive was getting filled with surveys.

So why do I still look at it as a failure?

1. Most of the startups thought the challenges were additional work – and not THE WORK. Meaning, that most participants said they couldn’t find the time to excuse and interview their users.

2. Privacy issues – Members who did run the questionnaire or survey, said they don’t want to share results with the group.

They thought the information and insights gathered need to be confidential.

The idea behind this effort was to get everyone to share and help each other. If privacy’s a concern, then the idea behind the challenges won’t work.

3. Big company’s involvement – Part of the idea behind this group was to get experienced marketers to join and also help and mentor. It didn’t happen.

So while I was getting positive signals from the community (great comments, engagement, etc.) – the actual results weren’t good.

Startup Marketing Challenge Fail

Startup Marketing Challenge Fail

Here’s what you can learn from it

MVP’s are tricky.
Deep down, you want to be successful at first try. You want to hit a home run.

If I hadn’t pre-defined my KPI’s the right way, I would’ve mistaken the “noise” with success.

Noise is:

  • On-post engagement
  • People declaring they’ll do the challenge but didn’t
  • People preparing questions but not doing the interviews

This might feel like progress, but the feedback I got from my group members + poor reporting of survey results, mark it as a clear failure.

What’s next for the group?

Having so many great marketers and companies in the group looking to engage, is not something I take for granted.

This is why I’m keeping the group alive, and currently brainstorming with my community members on a new format.

Being able to support so many early stage companies and provide value is important to me.

In the next few weeks, we will be up and running with a new format.

Want to see what the group will be up to next? Join now.

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