I've been keeping tabs on Mattermark for quite some time now. I absolutely love what they are doing. They provide data intelligence on private companies from a wide variety of sources in an organized manner to amplify research and tracking. It's very nerdy stuff presented in a very intuitive package. Using data to track and predict the growth of private companies just makes sense on so many levels.
So when Danielle sent out a tweet that Mattermark was hiring for a marketing position, I knew I had to reach out.
To be clear, I'm not looking to make any moves any time soon. I love what we are building at Firehawk. That said, there are 3 companies on the planet (outside of anything involving Elon Musk) that I think are building the coolest shit, and I would 100% be working at one of them if Firehawk didn't exist. Mattermark is one of those companies.
So now that my lovefest with Mattermark is over, it's time to dig into the good stuff. I spoke with Danielle briefly about the position, and it really got me thinking about what I would do if I ran marketing at Mattermark. Here's what's been swirling through my brain ever since. (Quick caveat: I realize that some of what I'm going to discuss spills over into the sales department. In order for an organization to be truly firing on all cylinders, sales and marketing should be working hand in hand. So I'm going to try to focus specifically on marketing, but sometimes I just can't help it).
The best way I know to widen the funnel is to educate people. Much of what we see in marketing today is about bashing your potential customer over the head with the same message over and over again. While there is definitely value in micro-targeted advertising and retargeting, a much more effective way to attract new customers is by teaching them. Education allows you to take customers who might not normally be looking at your product and have the say, "Hmmm. That's interesting."
A great example of this is to produce more content like this. This post describes the most promising Series A candidates for 2015. It's incredibly powerful for any VCs who are focused on Series A deals. This post could have been personally emailed to every Series A investor before it went live.
That article is great, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Taking it a step further would be to teach investors how to fish for themselves. I would create posts like "The 5 Most Common Growth Traits of Unicorns and How to Identify Them Early." Of course this requires some deep analysis to make it valuable, but ultimately it will show investors how to set up searches using Mattermark to become hunters. I would look to produce case studies about how some of the top VCs are using Mattermark most effectively. I realize that an article like "The 5 Most..." may be a little fluffy, but there are many topics that could educate potential customers about the value of data in addition their normal deal flow or diligence methods.
Focus on educating and adding value from the very first contact. This is a key to building strong relationships with new customers. Establish an expectation from day 1 that Mattermark delivers massive value.
Continuing with the educating and adding value theme, there is tremendous opportunity to teach new and potential users how to best use the product for their specific needs. I would run 2 separately weekly training sessions to teach people the ins and outs of Mattermark. Free, very informal, Google Hangouts style sessions similar to grabbing a coffee with someone.
The first training session would be targeted towards analysts and junior people at venture capital firms. These are the people who don't have the years of relationships yet and rely on research to find the best companies. Mattermark offers them the chance to level the playing field and hunt with the best of them. I'd focus on getting people to sign up for these free training sessions and help them use Mattermark to be better at their job. Any young and hungry analyst would jump at the opportunity.
The second training session would be for people who sign up on a trial account. I would email them immediately after signup and encourage them to join the next weekly training session to help them get the most out of the product. Teach them the secrets.
These training sessions are highly focused on teaching people how to maximize a Mattermark subscription.
Moving the Free Line
I think Mattermark does a good job of moving the free line already, so I'm not going to dig into this too far. Moving the free line refers to the process of distributing some of your best content for free in order to attract people into the sales funnel. I would double down on this effort and strategize on the most effective content in order to drive traffic, but I would focus on specific niches.
Mattermark drives revenue from a couple of different market segments, and I'd come up with a specific content plan and editorial calendar for each. For example, I'd identify the best content to attract sales and biz dev folks. That way we would be producing enough timely content that our sales team could use in any situation.
Conferences and Events
There are really two completely different strategies here, but I'm lumping them together for brevity.
The first strategy is pure genius and something I was sworn to secrecy never to reveal. I'm not going to betray my blood pact, but I'll give the high level concept. You find a conference or event where a lot of potential customers will be (the Upfront Summit is a perfect example), and you set up meetings with potential customers in advance that would take place during the event. Fish in a barrel.
The second strategy would be to create an annual event hosted and produced by Mattermark. This definitely takes a massive effort to pull it off right. I still have nightmares from when we launched the first Tech Day. That said, there is massive opportunity to bring people together and establish Mattermark as the industry leader. Huge for branding, publicity, top of mind awareness, marketing, sales, and business development. All around a big win.
And there you have it. If I ran marketing at Mattermark, I would be focused on finding the right balance of one-to-one marketing (or one-to-few) and mass marketing. When you have a product with a high price point and recurring revenue like Mattermark, it's ok to spend time on things that don't necessarily scale. Add massive value on an individual by individual basis. Educate potential customers. Do more for them than anyone else is doing. That's how I would stir the pot at Mattermark.