In the war for VC content marketing supremacy, I have to believe First Round Capital is operating near the front of the pack. Between their videos and written word juggernaut, First Round Review, it’s a strong offering.
From the outside, the VC game looks like a competition of value-add. It’s a service business. FRC is building their brand by giving something away for free (content) to “sell” something related (money), among other things.
As famed Apple marketer Regis McKenna once said, “The best marketing is education.” I obviously approve.
I was second screening a few nights ago, on Youtube with the Eagles game on in the background and I stumbled upon this recent FRC upload. It’s a 25-minute talk from their CEO Summit focused on Company Growth Frameworks, given by former Facebooker, Twitterer and current President and head of Growth at Wealthfront, Andy Johns.
Here are a few things that jumped out at me that make this worth the watch.
Growth Framework – Andy discusses how to systematically construct the growth framework for any business, using Amazon as an obvious example. It’s something many of us do implicitly, but it was insightful in the way he walked through what most of us would call the “levers”. This goes beyond Conversion Rate, Traffic and Avg. Ticket, although they are expectedly present in the middle of the chain.
Magic Moment – Beyond marketing channels, he speaks to the “Magic Moment” that wows the customer, creates a real impression and sets the hook for a potential future relationship. For RevZilla, this is when the customer says, “I can’t believe the knowledge, service level and seamlessness of shopping here. How do they do this?” as they compare it to their other eCom experiences. For goPuff, it’s when the customer says, “I placed my order, went to the bathroom and the driver was here when I came out? How does this exist in the world? Game changer.” For Five Below, I’d imagine it’s when a mom and kid walk in and kid says, “All this stuff is awesome” and then mom says, “Umm, all this stuff is awesome”. The point is there has to be something more than memorable for the customer, if you want a chance at making a real impression and your marketing dollars affecting more than a single transaction.
Value Creation – Andy also speaks to the fact that the business has to create value for the consumer. I’d describe that by saving them time, offering a solution, creating a source of joy, relieving pain, etc. This is about value creation for the customer beyond the transactional of what they need in that moment. Why is the product or service indispensable? Why does the customer actually need the business in their life?
Testing – This is a loaded topic in so many situations with both junior and senior people often having inappropriate expectations of methodologies and results. There is great insight in this section on the big company compounding approach vs smaller company curveball tossing. He also speaks to the push and pull of “test everything” vs “build what we know is right” cultures in which balance is usually the best dynamic – because you know, the left and right brain people always get along, right?
Evaluating the Growth Leadership Hire – In one of the last notables, he talks about the patterns, experience and skill that comprise a great growth leader, coupled with the fact that these hires need to be empathetic product execs at heart, not the run and gun growth hacker archetypes. This is a nice wrapper around the last two points and a great bookend.
The Eagles won, but I was even happier to make it a more robust use of my time. Thanks for the free milk, FRC.