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How to prepare for MITX-UP

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in MITX-UP marketing hackathon at Critical Mass (pronounced “my-tex-up”).

The event was totally awesome and if you are a startup, you should particiapte next month, hands-down. The process is simple: you fill out a questionaire, get matched with 4-6 marketing experts, and spend 3 hours with them discussing your project. Awesome.

Since this was my first time at the event and I didn’t know what to expect I thought I’d jot down a few notes for entrepreneurs participating in the next one:

1. Give detailed context

The first 10 minutes or so should be spent on you pitching your startup. The mentors probably read a paragraph they were sent about you in advance, but they don’t know the stage you’re at, the nuances of your industry, or the details of your product.

2. Come with questions

Figure out your top 3 marketing/branding/bizdev challenges and state them clearly up front. Be as specific as you can. This way, the experts know exactly how they can help, and you have anchors to build much of the discussion against. The more diverse these points are, the more likely there is someone in the room who can help you on each one. (Alternatively, figure out which topic everyone is an expert on, and do a deep dive on it)

3. Talk about messaging.

It’s great if one of your questions is about branding and messaging. Mitxup experts are branding and messaging rockstars and they can probably help you a lot here regardless of your spccific industry. This point can be broad (“what image do we project”) or specifc (“how do I craft this biz dev email”).

4. Bring materials, even if they are raw.

A product demo, an email newsletter, advertising copy, logo ideas: anything you have, bring it and give it up for people to criticize. (Remember they’re here to help you).

5. Leave time for open discussion.

Your mentors will have some ideas you haven’t even thought of. Make sure you leave time to listen. Brainstorm ideas with them even if you don’t find all of their ideas immidiately applicable – you might discover┬ásomething new in your own startup!