Marketing panel from Startup Weekend Toronto

swtoWrapping up the kickoff to Startup Weekend Toronto was a star-studded panel that included the founders of 5 startup success stories.

Dan Martell from Flowtown moderated and led the discussion.  The rest of the panel included April Dunford from, Leila Bourjnane from Idee Inc., Mike McDerment from FreshBooks and Sarah Prevette from

Dan’s first question revolved around marketing.

Sarah started off thanking her Community Manager Erin Bury who does a lot of work helping to get the buzz out.  One of the keys, she said, was that she was a total failure with her previous business.  So she tells this story and people and the press seem to love it!  It becomes even more compelling to learn that her new business is all about helping startups.  Then once the word gets out there it continues to roll.

Laila answered that she lets their products speak for themselves.

Mike took another approach and said that a simple name that describes what you and is easy to say also helps.

April suggested that to help your market understand what you do it you should be able to describe it in one sentence. Keep it simple because it sets the tone on how your consumer sees you. April also suggested blogging about the things you do in order to start to building a community that could one day be your consumers.

A number of questions were also asked from the attendees.  One asked Mike how FreshBooks has succeeded even with competition from companies like QuickBooks.  Another asked if they were the founder of Twitter, how would they have marketed themselves.

These 5 startup founders shared their insights into everything from marketing to SEO to leveraging communities for growth and profitability.  Next time Startup Weekend shows up in your hometown, make sure to attend! The insight and knowledge gained is priceless!