In fact, the general model for successful tech companies, contrary to myth and legend, is that they become distribution-centric rather than product-centric. They become a distribution channel, so they can get to the world. And then they put many new products through that distribution channel. One of the things that’s most frustrating for a startup is that it will sometimes have a better product but get beaten by a company that has a better distribution channel. In the history of the tech industry, that’s actually been a more common pattern. That has led to the rise of these giant companies over the last fifty, sixty, seventy years, like IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and many others.
If you can get just one distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
Distribution is how you get people to hear about your product and how you get your product into their hands.
In the past, that often means putting your product in a physical store — yours or a retailers — and advertising it. With the Internet, there are now many new innovative ways to distribute your product.
For example, distribution can be baked into your product. Facebook is about connecting with family and friends, so users would get their friends to join. Business tools are collaborative, and employees can invite their colleagues to work on problems together. Fortnite creates new social environments where users can meet and play with their friends.
While many people write about marketing tactics, I want to explore something different. With Yeti Distro, I look into tech companies' marketing and distribution strategies.
End of Yeti Distro 06 October 2020
Thank you for the support.
Mailchimp: Bundling Features for Stronger Announcements 25 September 2020
Mailchimp's feature announcements teach us how to bundle old, new, and future features to create stronger product announcements.
How to Get Into Product Marketing 23 September 2020
Here's how I and several other product marketers got into product marketing, and how you can, too.
Airtable: Timing is Everything 18 September 2020
Airtable executed one of the most coordinated product launches I have seen recently. Fundraising announcement, major product release, press coverage, and more—all on the same day.
Post-subscription Onboarding 16 September 2020
While many product marketers focus on getting people to start a trial and "convert", it is also important to think about the post-subscription experience.
Fast Launch: Branding, Acquisition, and Event 11 September 2020
Fast pulled off a hyped product launch last week. Here's what I think about it from three angles: branding, acquisition, and event.
Branding in Tech 09 September 2020
Tech companies don't seem to prioritize branding as much as consumer product companies. And I think we should.
Canva, Social Media, and Its Future 04 September 2020
Canva recently introduced a content planning and social media scheduling feature. Is this a smart move by Canva? What does this mean for social media management companies like Buffer? How might Canva develop from here?
Behind the Scenes of a Product Launch 02 September 2020
Product launches isn't a result of a product marketer working in silo. It requires cross-functional collaboration with several teams. Here's how it looks like for one of my product launches.
HubSpot's Positioning and Repositioning 28 August 2020
HubSpot created inbound marketing and has since grown beyond that. Here's my observation of its repositioning playbook and my analysis of how its positioning could be better.
Rewriting Our Onboarding Email Campaign 26 August 2020
I recently rewrote an onboarding email campaign. Here's why and how I did it.
Why Wix Markets Itself as a Free Website Builder When It Is Much More Than That 21 August 2020
I would consider Wix a complete website solution for businesses but Wix markets itself as a free website builder. And I think it's brilliant.
Rethinking Product Launches at Buffer 19 August 2020
Product launches at Buffer have mostly been about the new features. "Here's a new feature!" I want to push us to go beyond that and think bigger. Here's what I'm thinking.
Drift and Creating New Categories 14 August 2020
Drift is like a textbook example of marketing. The team has created a new category for themselves—twice—and used one of the best narrative frameworks. Will they succeed this time?
Feature, Product, and Company Positioning at Buffer 12 August 2020
Here are my experiences and thoughts on positioning a feature, a new product, and the Buffer-company at Buffer.
ConvertKit and Its Hyper-Focus 07 August 2020
ConvertKit found great success by having a clear niche positioning, backed by actual product features, and supported by a strong narrative through its marketing. Will this work for every company? How will ConvertKit grow growing forward?
Developing Marketing Acumen 05 August 2020
I feel marketers don't talk about marketing acumen as much as we should be. Here's how I try to develop my marketing acumen, including the books I've read and would recommend.
Stripe and the Power of API Companies 31 July 2020
Email Onboarding for SaaS 29 July 2020
I'm working to update an onboarding email campaign at Buffer now and wanted to share a few opinions on email onboarding.
Sprout Social, Buffer, and Social Media Management 24 July 2020
After spending five years working in the social media management space, I share my analysis of Sprout Social, Buffer, and the risk for social media management companies.
Being More Strategic About Product Launches 22 July 2020
Product launches are the best type of marketing campaigns to run. Over the years, I have learned to be more strategic about product launches by studying the feature and the market.
Marketing Websites and Stripe's Redesign 17 July 2020
Stripe's marketing website redesign attracted much attention. Instead of the aesthetics, we should pay closer attention to its website hierarchy, consistent storytelling, and incomplete update.
Growing In Your Career 15 July 2020
Looking back five years, I felt that I have grown a lot professionally. Here are three lessons I have learned, which have helped me especially in the past year, leading up to my recent promotion.
Substack Is Doing to Blogs What TikTok Did to Instagram 10 July 2020
By focusing on monetization, Substack attracted writers who would have created a blog instead. In the future, micro-payments will enable a even more different monetization strategy.
Being a Stand-in Product Manager 08 July 2020
I'm standing in as the decision maker while our product manager is out on vacation for 2.5 weeks. Here are the three big concepts I use for product planning.
HEY Strategies That Deserve More Attention Than the Apple Controversy 03 July 2020
While a lot of attention was on the uniqueness of HEY and the Apple App Store debate, there are three product and marketing strategies that I think deserves more recognition than they got.
Influencing the Product Roadmap 01 July 2020
Product marketers usually want to influence the product roadmap but can't. Here are the three things I do that have enabled me to help shape our product roadmap.
Your Business Doesn't Need to Sell a Story 26 June 2020
I challenge the notion that every great company sells a story. Many companies have a solid business without selling a story because they have a great product.
How to Get Close to Your Customers 24 June 2020
Those who know their customers best win. But many marketers and product people don't know much about their customers. Here are the ways I've found valuable customer insights to share with the team.
Be Unique, Not the Best 19 June 2020
To maintain a competitive advantage, don't aim to be the best because there simply isn't a best product. Find a unique positioning and take on activities your competitors won't.
The Product Discovery Document We Use For Every New Feature 17 June 2020
This additional step in our product planning process has improved our prioritization and provided more clarity for the team. Most importantly, it prevented us from building features we shouldn't be building.
Latest Acquisition Strategy: Letting People Get Value Before Signing Up 12 June 2020
Innovative companies are going beyond free trials and plans to acquire new users. They let users get value without needing an account. TikTok, Zoom, ConvertKit.
Building a Product You Want Is the Best Way to Build a Great Product 10 June 2020
Nathan Barry built a $15 million ARR company by being his own customer. Tim Soulo helped build the best SEO tool by growing Ahrefs blog with Ahrefs. Here lies the recipe for building great products.
Don't Mistake Freemium as Just a Marketing Strategy 05 June 2020
Making the freemium approach successful requires investment from customer support and product teams. Here's how Buffer, Mailchimp, and Ahrefs approach freemium.
How to Improve Execution: Learnings on OKRs 03 June 2020
We tried OKRs unsuccessfully at Buffer. But I still believe it's a great system for improving execution. Here are the things I wish I had known back then.
Strava's Unbundling and Bundling: Why Didn't It Work (and When It Will) 29 May 2020
Both Strava and Buffer unbundled their products a few years ago and recently bundled them back. There are many great lessons to learn from them.
Doubling Trial Starts: A Packaging Lesson 27 May 2020
An often overlooked aspect of marketing is packaging. Here's the packaging experiment that grew our trial starts and MRR.
Mailchimp's Customer-Friendly Way of Using Customer Data 22 May 2020
Companies often collect customer data for their own benefit more than their customers'. I think more can learn from Mailchimp on this.
Bundle Experiments at Buffer: Part 1 20 May 2020
We have three products at Buffer but customers couldn't easily try them together. I spent a few months working on two bundle experiments. Here's the behind-the-scenes for the first one.
Pinterest Partners With Shopify: Why It's Better for Shopify Than Pinterest 15 May 2020
This partnership will attract more businesses to Pinterest but might affect the quality of content on its platform.
Writing My Job Description 13 May 2020
For my first year as a product marketer at Buffer, I was mostly reacting to things. I decided to write a job description to create a structure for myself so that I can be more proactive.
Shopify's Secret Bet with Shop 08 May 2020
Shop by Shopify will be larger than a mobile shopping app.
The Partnership Lever 01 May 2020
Companies like Netflix, Zapier, Intercom, and Shopify have used partnerships to enhance their product and acquire new customers.
SparkToro and Leveraging Your Best Marketing Asset: An Interview with Rand Fishkin 24 April 2020
Rand Fishkin and I chatted about what's broken in market research, his strategy for launching SparkToro, and SparkToro's marketing flywheel.
Roam's Impressive Start and How to Find Its Next Phase of Growth 17 April 2020
Roam's steep learning curve as a surprising growth advantage, and building a solid SEO foundation with its cult
Disney's Distribution, and Behind Buffer's New Homepage 10 April 2020
Disney's partnership with Verizon, Disney+ as a distribution channel, and going behind Buffer's new homepage
Ahref's New Plugin and the Strategy Behind It: An Interview with Justin Lee, Product at Ahrefs 03 April 2020
Zoom's explosive growth, free tools as an acquisition channel, and an interview with Justin Lee, Product at Ahrefs
Business Not As Usual: Buffer Marketing and the Rapid Adoption of Online Channels 27 March 2020
Today, I want to share how we have altered our marketing at Buffer in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the current situation feels like an opportunity to test and find new distribution channels.
Where to learn distribution for startups and tech companies? 27 March 2020
When I embarked on this journey to learn and write about distribution strategies and channels for startups, I found it hard to find resources on the topic. To make things easier for you, I'm curating my favorite articles, books, videos, and podcasts on distribution for startups.
Understanding Direct-to-Consumer 25 March 2020
Innovating and Adapting 21 March 2020
It is hard to discuss many things without mentioning the COVID-19 situation. The pandemic is taking lives and also threatening businesses and livelihoods. The lower foot traffic in many countries has affected many physical stores, which are struggling to even stay afloat now. What can they do?
Agencies' Motivations, Long-term Sustainability, and Micro-Optimizations 15 March 2020
On Friday, I organized a small meetup to discuss social media marketing with a few marketers from various backgrounds. At one point, an agency owner shared that if a small business has a small fixed budget, he would recommend them to invest in paid social rather than organic social (or both).
Product Solutions, Product Launch Planning, and Individual Contributors 06 March 2020
This week is a highlight of my time at Buffer. We shipped a strategically important experiment, which I have been leading for about eight months. About 15 people were involved in big and small ways. You can read about it in the next section.