There were over 200 startups showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt, but only one made quite a…splash. Instead of handing out free swag, hiring expensive performers, or generally wasting a lot of money making our booth look great, FeeFighters decided to go for a more creative, guerrilla marketing style approach at TechCrunch Disrupt. Here’s what we did:
1) Urinal Mats- “Pissing away money on credit card processing?” We put these urinal mats in all the bathrooms at disrupt. They not only had our logo at the bottom, but messaging that related what we do. This way we got guaranteed, unadulterated attention from the majority of the attendees.
However crude it may seem, it certainly worked. People came and talked to us just because they liked the stunt. We even got social media love from bloggers and tweeters.
The urinal mats cost a measly $3.44 each, and with 9 urinals, the total cost for this guerrilla stunt came out to be $30.96.
2) Badass Samurai - We advertised for a samurai on Craigslist and got an awesome guy to come in, wear a FeeFighters Samurai shirt, and do tricks around the #TC Disrupt pavilion. But wait. That’s not all…our samurai procured access to the #TC Disrupt stage during lunchtime (if you want to know how, just ask…it’s a funny story!) and did some moves in front of the whole audience…twitter was ablaze, and everyone asked us about him. Total cost? $50 for 3 hours of his time.
3) “Don’t Pay an Arm and a Leg for Credit Card Processing.”- When we were buying candy at CVS, we noticed gruesome arm and legs props intended for Halloween. Bingo, another opportunity to make a statement that would catch people’s attention. We stuck the arm and leg by our booth, and nary a person walking by our table could stop without asking about intent. Then, we launched into our pitch. Total cost of gimmick: $10.
As a startup, we can’t compete with glitzy companies who have fat marketing budgets. But that doesn’t mean that we still can’t make a statement and get people’s attention with more cost effective but creative marketing techniques. Watch out for more of these at a startup conference near you…
Samurai, FeeFighters’ new gateway, is so elegant and easy to use, I decided to write a press release in haiku to tell the world about it. Lots of startups do PR stunts to get attention, so this was one way we decided to extol the simplicity of our new product.
Samurai, The New
Simple and Powerful Way
To Accept Payments
Samurai to Simplify
Chicago, IL 9/21/2011
Samurai, a feature rich
gateway that’s awesome.
Ecommerce sites can
Integrate payments with ease
In just three minutes.
Can send transactions,
To all processors.
With intelligent routing,
And other features
Like fair flat pricing,
“Samurai was built
to address frustrations we
heard from customers,”
Says FeeFighters’ Sean
Harper, who is CEO.
Is now the only option
That makes sense online.
It’s an exciting time at FeeFighters as we’re getting ready to launch Samurai, our new payment gateway. We wanted to be on Mixergy to have Sean mention Samurai as well as keep FeeFighters top of mind to future potential customers.
Andrew was not keen on having Sean back on the show. In fact, it’s fair to say he was flat out not interested. However, in the interview, he praises my strategy for communicating with him and getting Sean on the show. Here’s how I took a “no” from Andrew to a “maybe,” to a “yes.”
1) Do Your Research- I Love Mixergy. As a long time subscriber, I knew Andrew’s personality and the audience he was catering to. I admired his determination to provide value to his audience, but more importantly, I could cater a pitch exactly to his liking because I did my research.
2) Figure Out Your Story- Regardless of whether you are a founder/CEO or you’re an employee trying to get your CEO an interview, it’s important to figure out exactly what story you are going to tell. Which story will provide the most value? Which will shine your company’s achievements in the best light?
3) Package Your Story Effectively- Once you have a gist of what you can offer, it’s important to communicate it in a way that resonates. With Mixergy, I knew that Andrew loved catchy titles that showed the outcome/effect/success of companies’ strategies to serve as a springboard for discussion in the interview. Therefore, I came up with a few possibilities for our story and presented them in a way where Andrew could consider their value on his site. Here are a couple of headlines I sent over:
1) How FeeFighters saved businesses $75 million in credit card processing fees2) How FeeFighters Built an Industry Disrupting Product in 3 Months
4) Don’t Give Up- Initially, Andrew was not interested in my proposed content. Here’s the response he gave:
I love the headlines, but I don’t think they’re a good fit.
Instead of just dropping in the towel, I took a step back and thought through some other content I thought Andrew’s audience might find interesting:
At this point, Andrew still didn’t think there was a good fit in content we could offer. He said it was because his audience was much more early stage and wouldn’t really identify with the topics.
5) Be Creative- After being rejected twice, one might think it was time to give up. However, I noticed that Andrew wasn’t saying “no,” he was saying “not yet.” I knew that if I was creative and listened to what he was saying, we might find something yet. I also remembered in his previous interview with Sean, Andrew kept saying how bad a name our company had. Here were some more ideas I sent, one you might recognize as the winner:
6) It’s a Conversation, Not a Battle- As Andrew mentions in his interview, he was impressed by the fact that I didn’t battle back and try to fight him on existing ideas. Rather, I listened to his objections, and found ways to show him there was plenty of useful information we could provide, even if Sean had already been on the show. Whenever there is a discussion involved, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and think about how they are approaching the conversation. Andrew is looking for interesting content for his audience…if he thinks what I am presenting is not worthwhile, it’s not worth it to try and change his mind. It’s a better idea to try to find something he thinks will work.
Bingo. Boy does that feel good.Read More
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