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Episode 314: How to Leverage Agencies and Freelancers in Your Startup’s Marketing with Anusha Sethuraman of Fiddler

Episode Summary

Anusha Sethuraman has been creating and promoting content ever since her days on the theatre production team at R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore. These days, however, it’s a lot more business-oriented creativity.

Currently, Anusha is the Head of Marketing for explainable AI platform Fiddler. The company is a startup, a business structure she has prior experience with, though she came to Fiddler after working at Microsoft. While Anusha credits her time working for companies of all sizes and stages with making her a more well-rounded marketer, startups are her passion because they’re where she can make a bigger impact.

Her current role as the sole marketer for Fiddler certainly allows her that opportunity, but it comes with its own set of challenges.

“I just wish I had a lot more time to actually sit and write content,” she says. “I used to do a lot of this in my previous roles, especially at New Relic. … Developing an abstract and trying to reach out to a writer to help me write it — it’s hard because sometimes the topic means a lot of reading and knowledge and research, and that’s not always easy to come by in a writer. … That is something I’m figuring out.”

On this episode of Tech Qualified, Anusha discusses how she executes Fiddler’s marketing strategy as a one-person department. (Spoiler: She’s all about outsourcing to freelancers and agencies, although this process requires careful vetting.) She also shares how she navigates demand generation marketing with the help of ex-colleagues and industry experts that act as a sounding board.

Guest Profile

Anusha Sethuraman

Key Insights

Episode Highlights

“I don’t have that experienced sounding board because I don’t have all the knowledge and expertise in demand generation, like all the SEO strategies and how you’re supposed to implement them. So I’m doing a lot of reading on my own, but I’m also trying to reach out to ex-colleagues and also an agency that can help me say, ‘OK, we’ve identified these few SEO strategies that are easy to implement right now, let’s go ahead and get this done’ but it’s also a question of budget. A lot of these agencies want a retainer fee for example for a month and so that’s obviously not doable. I think it’s just trying to find those one or two people that can be good sounding boards and trying to find at least one partner.”
“AI is very new. Over the last three, four months, the conversation around this has started picking up, which means that more and more startups are starting to talk about this as well as the bigger companies like Google … and we want to position ourselves as a leader, and so there are many things that we want to do … whether it’s a video series or it’s a blog series or it’s one-off blogs or it’s a podcast series. But I think the part that certainly needs work is once you’ve actually built all of this content how do you promote it? … With the goal being lead gen reaching out to third party databases. … How do we find a community of data scientists that’s not already in our database that we can then go and position our product to? There are some platforms that I’ve identified where they built the communities over the last few years of these groups by doing webinars to these groups and also possibly email campaigns.”
“I give them a test project or a test piece to write, whether it’s a content write-up or a website design project or an SEO project where we identify the deliverables beforehand. Before I choose somebody I obviously review all of their content samples … and I talk to as many as I can before giving a test project. … [Then] I pick two or three different topics and give them a project to write about it And we would just do a set number of hours and I still pay them for it, it’s just a project that we do as a test and then I choose the one that I like most to do more projects with me. … for a web design agency, for example, I go by network recommendations a lot. … [When] someone who’s already worked with me can give me a recommendation, that always just ups the level of trust that I have in that agency, so word of mouth is something that I rely on a lot.”
“We’ve started generating a lot of content through different mediums — doing more social promotions, there’s also these events we participate in … we’re trying to host our own virtual events as well … and we’re hoping to keep this going. Also the whole strategic aspect of it with the positioning and messaging, we’re becoming clear on what that is, doing the revamp of our website copy, our website in general, and starting to run all of these ads. We’re testing out messages, doing these market research surveys, and also doing a lot of market research with analysts and understanding what they’re hearing from their clients.”
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