For 2018 trends, we asked an expert on what entrepreneurs can expect this coming year in marketing.
Traditionally, you raised money from friends and family, bootstrapped, lost money for one to three years and then you became profitable and got acquired or went public. That was the cadence of entrepreneurship. But because Amazon for its entire life has made no money, and is the fourth most valuable company in the world, that has reshaped entrepreneurship. Now the path looks like this: Raise as much capital as cheaply as possible, and quickly establish a leadership position. There is a race to identify yourself as the leader in every sector. You don’t brag about profits. You brag about year-on-year revenue growth, mindshare and leadership position.
What this means is that the core competency in building value now is not operations, not data — it’s storytelling. It’s painting a really compelling vision for markets, then making progress against it every day. You can’t be an effective CEO today without being an effective communicator and storyteller.
Of course, you still do need a much better product than your competitors’. Then you need to use new channels of distribution and marketing to scale fast, and use that scale to raise capital. Also, get to a city. Two-thirds of the growth is in cities, and two-thirds of that is in New York and San Francisco. There’s one venture capitalist in St. Louis, and even if your company does take off there, you’re going to spend the majority of your time on planes to San Francisco and New York.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to be comfortable with tireless, obnoxious self-promotion. Some people are comfortable with it; some people are not comfortable with it but will do it. Most people would never dream of doing it; those people go to work for other people. You’re in the business of constantly telling your brand’s story.
— Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern School of Business and founder, L2