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Your Startup Is a Movement: How Founders Should Think About Marketing

David Sacks
Bottom Up
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The best founders talk eloquently about their mission and the change they want to make in the world. They articulate a vision of the future that attracts adherents. This is also known as earned marketing. It's about brand, messaging, press, influencers, content — all the things that define who you are.


  1. Define a larger cause: describe the change you seek to bring about, why it’s important, and why people will benefit from it
  2. Articulate the problem better than anyone else: speak to the pain that users are experiencing; describe how the world would be better if the problem were solved
  3. Attack the status quo: your opponent is some version of the status quo (not your competitors); name this enemy
  4. Define a category: what you do is the solution, and the category is the shortest, crispest way of describing that
  5. Build the right team: combination of growth and brand marketers
  6. Use “grassroots” customer testimony: your message is most credible coming from customers who can testify to their first-hand success with the product
  7. Release news in lightning strikes, not dribs and drabs: get attention by combining news about products, customers, milestones, and partnerships
  8. Organize events to focus attention: launch events remind everyone (from employees to prospects) about the importance of your movement and the change you are creating in the world
  9. Nurture your community: if your community can be built on top of your own product, that’s ideal
  10. Pick noble fights: if you're going to pick one, always (1) punch up, not down (it should be against a bigger competitor), (2) stay product-focused, (3) keep the tone positive
  11. Strive for a large tent: stay away from partisan political battles
  12. Work with press and influencers in the right way: make sure you are serving your movement (change you wish to see), not the insiders’ game (fundraising)
  13. Stay grounded: keep the conversation focused on business value; avoid crazy projections
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