WHAT I LEARNED AT THE TECH CHILL BALTICS CONFERENCE – MARKETING YOUR STARTUP

WHAT I LEARNED AT THE TECH CHILL BALTICS CONFERENCE – MARKETING YOUR STARTUP

I had the chance to go to the Tech Chill conference with two of my colleagues from the Draugiem Group.

There was a ton of new things I learned, but there are some things that stuck out more for me than others.

Myself, Rūdolfs, and Ravis’ nose

MY KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CONFERENCE:

From the fireside chat with Mike Butcher, Dmitri Sarle and Collete Ballou, we gathered that the perfect pitch is:
-short
-human
-honest

There was so much talk about how to get media attention, especially getting TechCrunch attention. I couldn’t help but feel proud of our (the Draugiem Group’s) successful TechCrunch pitches, like when Printful and Istabai were mentioned.

COLETTE BALLOU ON MEDIA ATTENTION

The main reason I wanted to come to this conference. She’s the founder of Ballou PR, and works with high-growth companies (Pinterest, Facebook, Waze, etc.). Her keynote speech outlined some practical ways to get media attention for your startup.

One thing everyone agreed upon – PR firms are a waste of money. For startups, at least. Better do this sort of thing:

  • Piggy-back relevant daily news – it’s worth paying attention to news cycles.
  • Telling people (including journalists) stories is better than telling people facts
  • “Three of anything is a trend. Lump it together”. You can spot trends, and insert your own startup into them. 

Here are the slides from her presentation.

SHIRA ABEL ON STARTUP MARKETING

Here’s what we learned from her:

  • “Merge” your mailing lists with similar, but not competing local (European startups)
  • Great marketing will kill a bad product. (or rather, a product that hasn’t found the right market fit yet). Don’t do marketing until you have an awesome product. 

Priming – a form of behavioural engineering. Ex. put a dog icon next to your social icons – leads to a dog picture. Will increase clicks on your other (actually real) social icons

That dog icon opened to a…picture of a dog. That’s it. But it makes you want to click on the rest of them.

HOW TRUST WORKS:

Word of mouth = 70% trust
Earned media = 40% trust
Advertising = 14% trust

Check out her slides here.

SOME OF THE BEST QUOTES FROM THE EVENT:

“If you don’t speak, others will speak for you and, and shape and thus control your reputation”. -Collette Ballou

“Ignore compliments. Only trust money” -Rob Fitzpatrick

“As long as you have a mission, you will get press. People will write about you” – Kristo Kaarman, TransferWise

Something I’ve always considered the biggest challenge of trying to market startups from Latvia, is that you can’t just call up a potential journalist/connection and say “hey, let’s grab a coffee and write a research paper”, or network and such. This is what Mike Butcher had to say about “coffee”:

Ok, email it is…

ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR

Then there are those little things that make the conference that je-ne-sais-quoi.

Catch Box. 

For those of you who don’t know, Catch Box is a nifty kind of microphone that’s covered in a big, square foam case, so it can be thrown, it can fall. It makes questions from the crowd in conferences much faster and efficient. The only minus – it does require a minimum amount of co-ordination and muscle to throw the microphone half way across the room. The poor guys in the front row got smacked in the head a few times (once by me! oops…sports have never been my forté).

A hilarious video by Latvijas Garantiju Aģentūra. It features Kristaps Krēslņš, owner of Aptieka, and his finger. I’m so sad I can’t find the video to show you guys how epic it was.

Edit: Here’s the video! Thanks to everyone who helped point that out!

All in all, it was a great conference. Thanks to the speakers, the organisers, and the attendees. Next year will be difficult to beat.