Community is important. That was one of my main take aways from 2019. I mean it was either that or the 20 inch vegan cheese pizza that I squeezed into my girlfriends skoda fabia from Little Wing a few weeks previous to this event.

But seriously. Community is important and this was the title of Slide 3 in Sarah McBrideys (@sararahmcb) keynote - ted talk™. This is a review of the Marketing for Startups meetup held in the iconic Ormeau Baths in Belfast city centre.

First of all. Absolutely fair play. At the time of this event Sarah was working for Betaworks. They are a really cool company that works with Startups in New York. Betaworks teach startups the ways of investment and gear them up for Venture Capital. Move fast, Make Gifs, that kind of thing. Sarah was home for the week and tweeted that there was going to be a Marketing for Startups event happening in Oremeau Baths and anyone with an interest should come along, sponsor the event or sign up as a speaker. I decided to come along.

What an amazing night.  I was introduced to loads of new people and expanded my network while gaining knowledge, hearing stories on marketing for startups of various shapes and sizes. I also met ethical ecowipe warrior Oliwia(@strawdairy).

There was pretty cool vibe chats allround. Reusing the community is important vibe. If you seen events like this happening in your town, go down. That's is how the magic can happen and will happen for you if you step in and connect.

Sarah kicked off the evening with an introduction. Talking about how brands use community to create a visual voice for the post millennial audience. Sarah finished by showcasing how earlier in 2019 while working full time and living in New York Sarah had launched Cross & Freckle, a t-shirt company and brand completely, inspired by and powered by Artificial Intelligence.  

Sarah told us how while launching their small team leveraged several online communities to promote the Cross & Freckle brand and growth hack their way to the homepage of Product Hunt. This marketing experiment also saw the brand sent out to the massive Product Hunt mailing list and also slapped onto the homepage of and across various social media outlets.

As a plus, it was sweet to see a quote that I had used to describe Cross & Freckle within the Product Hunt reviews section. This was included in email that was sent out to one of the hottest mailing lists in technology, products and design.  

“Look cool, wear pizza, support the AI fashion scene” - David"

Gnarly af.

Next up was Simon Worthington(@Simon_W123) from Turf and Grain magazine. Simon talked about how he created a magazine that uses Authenticity and Storytelling to showcase people from Northern Ireland and how he is now selling his magazine globally thanks to word of mouth marketing and smart use of community. He also finished his talk with Sarah coming back on the stage to mention that Simon was running a kickstarter at the moment that was nearly funded. Which sort of highlighted his authentic self. Nice.

Read Turf and Grain online here.

After Simon, next up with Gareth Irvine (@GarethIrvine2) CEO of Copeland Gin, he told us how he had used Paid Advertising and marketing to promote his side-hustle that started as a student project. Gareth sold the idea of a Gin brand using target advertising. Specially targeting people of a certain age, salary and posting these adverts on pay day. His project got funded and now Copeland Gin is growing in to a successful distillery and a massive story for Northern Ireland.

This was a deep thinking point for me. On one hand targeted advertising is bad, it selling you stuff you don't need and is it ethical your personal data is used to sell you stuff. But on the other hand, people do want the product and it's helped put a vision into the hands of people across the globe and with this case it's put Northern Ireland on the map while doing so and with that in mind I'm nearly sold.

For more info on Copeland Gin and their Distillery, visit this link.

Be Wild, Drink Remarkable | The Copeland Distillery | Copeland Spirits
The Copeland Distillery based in the heart of Donaghadee is renowned for its coastal inspired spirits and we invite you to come along and experience distillery life with us on a guided distillery tour.

Last but not least, my favourite talk of the night was by the Andrew Agnew(@andreola) and Gregg Reid(@_greggreid) the enthusiastic founders of WeRunBelfast(@werunbeflast) a unique running crew based in Belfast.

WeRunBelfast talked about how it's good to keep things small because what really matters is loving what you do.

2020 and onwards will see the rise of micro networks, with people already starting to distrust social media. We're sold too many adverts as a mass community and with this we'll see people step away and join niche community groups are the future because they are how the real memories are born. In the past year I've joined several of these communties myself.

They talked about how they sell their own t-shirts, how they got an expensive logo dirt cheap to put on their t-shirts. WeRunBelfast meet outside WeAreOhDonuts every week for a weekly run. If you're feeling ready for a run, catch up with the crew on Instagram and watch out for the next post about the weekly run.

I took some twitter notes from the night, much of the blog post above was taken from these notes....  I also recorded a video, but I lost it recently in an iMac Crash.