Raising Social Capital and Paying Customers

This is the third post in a series by Jordan Behan highlighting the successful marketing practices of Canadian startups. Behan is the Director of Marketing of Strutta and knows a thing or two about the topic.


In a series about great marketing ideas at Canadian startups, one cannot ignore the bustling hive of web-related activity happening in Montreal, arguably our nation’s most stylish city.

One of the startups that calls Montreal home is, “a platform that enables communities, brands and organizations to incorporate micro messaging into their own domain.” I caught up with CEO Evan Prodromou by phone to talk about some of the marketing strategies they employ. While he darted around Montreal in his car (using a hands free unit, of course) he told me about how they strategically position their commercial products alongide the messaging for their open source offerings.

Like many startups with a product that is gaining traction, (Prodromou favours dropping the “dot” when saying its name, letting “statusnet” roll off his tongue) sells services and support around the product as well; a great way to keep the cash rolling in. Much of their traffic is search or referral based, often resulting from PR exposure. Taking a page out of the books of other open source products with complementary commercial solutions (see WordPress) they try to capitalize on that incoming traffic with well-placed mentions of the commercial product and service offerings.

Along with that, has identified that for their business model, attracting “influencers” is a great way to get exposure for their product. For that reason, Justin Halpern of the famous @shitmydadsays Twitter account was an ideal customer for them to sign. “He felt like he wasn’t able to commercialize it very well,” said Prodromou of Halpern’s Twitter feed. While he had already landed a book deal and a pending TV show as well, having it all reside at a single domain provides a huge advantage, especially where book sales are concerned.

Halpern’s uses to power the feed on the home page, and will soon feature tweets attributed back to the site (rather than point back to or a Twitter app, Halpern’s tweets will be “x minutes ago from” Exposure like that if good for highlighting the capabilities of, notes Prodromou, especailly since high profile Twitter “power users” are a good market for them. “If you provide software for influencers, it really helps a lot (take this approach),” says Prodromou with a laugh, adding “It works much better than making software for unpopular people.”

Having peeked inside the marketing plans fo two startups in Toronto and one from Montreal, I want to hear from companies elsewhere in the country who are working on ideas that are worth mentioning here. If you have an idea for a startup to feature, tell us about in the comments, or with the Techvibes contact page.