How To Learn Entrepreneurial Marketing

So Distilled just got into the online education space (see: Announcing the DistilledU Public Beta). I’m pretty passionate about online education and learning.

DistilledU is a great step towards educational content, but learning is more than reading. Learning is best done by doing.

What Is Entrepreneurial Marketing?

We preach the mantra “content is king” all the time. But we’re leaving behind the days when 500 words of text qualified as “content”. Instead we’re in an age where video, images, code and custom 3d printed iphone cases are content. So what we’re really saying is STUFF is king. DOING is king. 

But the world is rapidly changing. Knowing WHAT to do is important. We’ve been floating around the idea of the “Agile CMO” here at Distilled for a little while. We like to work with clients who have agile CMOs and we like to think of each and every consultant as an agile CMO. What do we mean by this?

It’s in part the concept of the “growth hacker”:

Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph - from Growth Hacker Is The New VP Marketing

Combined with the idea of “agile creativity” which is best illustrated by this video from Google:

In essence - the most accomplished CMOs today are agile entrepreneurial thinkers, capable of creating things and hacking growth in innovative ways.

How Do You Learn to Create?

We’re faced with a very real issue here - how do you learn to create things? How do we learn to be growth hackers? A little while back I had breakfast with Gary Chou from Union Square Ventures and he basically gave me the answer.

Gary runs a course called Entrepreneurial Design which aims to teach people how to build things. It’s a very practical course designed to teach you how to build a company, site, product, vision etc. I highly recommend you browse through the course syllabus as it’s an goldmine of content - the lecture notes and video from classes are all available completely free online.

While the syllabus is excellent - what really struck me were the assignments. They start off very simple:

But gradually get harder:

Again - you should check out the whole list of assignments here. I love the fact that I’ve basically followed this syllabus over the last few years without realizing it.

20 Reblogs Is Easy!

Assignment four really hammers the point home - ship something that gets 20 actions. It doesn’t matter what the thing is, but ship it and get the results. It’ll teach you a lot - I don’t get 20 retweets on every tweet I’ve made, but I have done it. Likewise, I don’t always get 20 reblogs on tumblr but I’ve done it. 20 facebook shares? check. 20 Google+ shares? check.

Many of you will be reading this and thinking “oh, sure that’s pretty easy” - yes the point is that it’s not that hard, but have you actually done it? There’s a difference between those that create things and those that don’t. I’d urge you to diligently walk through the assignments above - it’s one of the best guides to becoming a better marketer that I’ve seen in a while.

What I’ve Learned From Gary

Every new hire at Distilled is encouraged to build their own site. It doesn’t matter what it is - just build something from the ground up and create things on it. This process is deeply satisfying and also educational but I think in future we’ll begin adopting something more akin to Gary’s entrepreneurial design course to give new hires a real taste of what it’s like to build something and we’ll also be looking to integrate this style of learning into DistilledU.

Of course, true to their word, the course has a tumblr where you can follow along. Check it out: http://entrepreneurdesigners.tumblr.com/. I’ll leave you with this:

(image credits