The funny thing about hand-to-hand combat is that it actually helped us scale. Most of the product marketers we contacted were happy to hear from us — some of them even started contributing their own content and suggesting articles we should be sharing.
It was through these relationships with product marketers that we started to hear one thing over and over: Everyone had a different definition of product marketing.
So we decided to turn that into a piece of content. We figured that if people were having trouble defining the role, we should do it for them.
That led to Dave doing a few interviews, pulling from the customer research and writing a post that set out to define the role of product marketing and built around the number one thing people were typing into Google related to product marketing: What Is Product Marketing?
Largely because of that first seminal piece, we got our first ten subscribers. Then a hundred. Then a thousand. We had gotten into the minds of product marketers by creating a piece of content they could rally around and show to their friends and co-workers who didn’t truly understand what they did.
As a result, our newsletter grew to a couple thousand people in our target market — before we ever even had a product to sell to them.
Even today, three years after it was published, that post still ranks number one on Google for the keyword Product Marketing and brings 5,000 new unique visitors to our website every single month.
All of that from one blog post written two weeks after we started officially “doing” marketing.
To make a long story short (and you can probably see where this is going), we ended up creating more and more content for product marketers, expanding beyond a newsletter to build a Slack group and a blog with weekly product marketing content.
And ultimately, we became this valuable resource for people — before a product, we had an audience.
So when we were finally ready to launch the product, we had an audience to announce it to.
We built a community that we could turn to and say, “Hey, can I tell you about Drift?”
People got to know us, trust us and get value from us long before we had anything to sell to them. We bridged the gap from being a complete stranger to being someone they trusted, so when we were ready to sell, they were ready to listen.
And so instead of having to go out and start building trust, all we had to do was tell our audience why they needed the product. We were able to skip the part where we’d have to somehow convince them to choose us.
Instead, we could focus on closing our first paying customers.
All because we had started marketing before we had a product, because we hadn’t operated in stealth mode and because we had gone out and started a conversation with the right people at the right time.
And to this day, the biggest mistake we see startups making is waiting for the perfect time to start marketing.
We’ll let you in on a secret: There’s never going to be a perfect time. And here’s another one: It’s never too early to start marketing.
This Won't Scale will show you how in 41 unique marketing plays.
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