Sorry I have not been writing much. My head is a bit out of it all with the new baby. If there are any topics you would be interested to hear my take on, feel free to suggest in the comments - a jumping off point might help me. That is exactly what I got when Fred Wilson blogged yesterday about marketing budgets for venture stage tech companies. If you have a moment, you should read his post and some of the comments. I found it particularly relevant to the watch industry, where marketing budgets are sky high. Here is the comment that I left, reproduced below:
I could't agree more, Fred.
My current business, high-end mechanical watches, is dominated by marketing budgets. The big brands fill the ad space of every magazine you can pick up on the rack, and little guys pop up every day with millions of dollars who want to start their own brand - their first step is always a huge marketing budget.
Coming from a background in tech, I had never seen anything like this. My company is structured a lot like a tech startup. We have (comparatively) no money, but we have ideas. We believe that if we make the best products, tell an interesting story, and work hard to tell it to the right people, good things will happen.
The results have been tremendous. I, the President here, and our CEO in Switzerland do all of the PR ourselves. We create personal relationships with the journalists and clients and therefore have full control. We administer our social media accounts and connect for free wherever possible (have ~9000 fans on facebook and make 150 watches/year!) We can launch a new product on an hour's notice and are widely admired in the industry for having some of the most covered, most talked about product releases.
Precisely the fact that we do not spend money and instead fully exploit free resources and our skills is perhaps the single biggest factor that has let us reach the top of our field. The drawbacks are that it is incredibly time consuming, and you need to find people with unique and broad skill sets (being capable of successfully communicating is, unfortunately, not as common a skill as it should be, and often comes without other necessary skills for running a business).
Thanks for the thought-bait. I could go on this one for a long time.
The comment itself even turned in to a bit of marketing, although it was completely unintentional.