Marketing The Funniest Site On The Internet With Patrick Starzan of Funny or Die

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TechZulu gets some questions answered for all you marketing folks out there.  Patrick Starzan is the Vice President of Marketing and Business development at Funny or Die. He is a marketing professional with over 8 years of extensive online and social media marketing experience.  Patrick is the man behind all the marketing aspects of what could be called one of the funniest sites on the web.  He gives up the goods and a few tips on what you could do to help market your company.

Above is an interview we did with Patrick at BlogWorld Expo New York 2011.  We later got in touch with Patrick to have him answer the following questions.

How do you market the Funniest site on the internet?

We focus on developing strong distribution channels through social media, search, blog outreach and email programs to accelerate the discovery, sharing and engagement with Funny Or Die content.

If you could change one thing within your industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?

The perception that you make a ‘viral’ video. You make a great video and hope that it becomes viral. No one has the exact formula of making a viral video except adorable cats.

How much of FOD advertising is focused on the internet rather then more traditional channels?

Funny Or Die doesn’t do any advertising. People become aware of Funny Or Die through our content.

What’s the single most important quality you need to succeed as the VP of Marketing & Business Development at FOD?

Passion. You have to be passionate about marketing and Funny Or Die. Everyday you have to be excited about the content you are marketing and the strategies & tactics you are using to market it.

What advice would you give someone that is following in your footsteps?

Immerse yourself in data and become an expert in all online marketing strategies from social media to search. You can’t make decisions and drive traffic without first understanding the data behind KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and how to make strategic changes the effect them.

What’s been your biggest success?

Building the Funny Or Die brand and social media platforms to where they are today.

What’s been your biggest Failure?

I tried to start my own online t-shirt company not realizing the money and time commitment it would take to be successful. A year after it launched I closed it down with a couple credit cards maxed out and a garage full of t-shirts. Anyone need some t-shirt?

While working on a FOD project have you ever needed to change direction/focus? If so, what was that like?

The great thing about FOD is we are a very agile company. We try a lot of different projects with defined success KPIs and focus on the execution and the data. If we see something working we ramp up efforts. If we something failing we either make adjustments or shot it down.

Do you see facebook always being a player in the next 5 to 10 years?

I have this conversation all the time. No social network has stood the test of time. I think the biggest weakness to any social network is also it’s greatest strength; the community. Will the next generation want to be on the same network as their parents or everyone older then them? Right now they have no choice but at some point there will be a comparable if not better option. Once momentum shifts from a social network it’s hard to get it back. It will really depend on how Facebook manages the acquisition of the up and coming generation.

How do you keep up to date and connected to what is happening within the space?

I completely rely on Twitter and following all the top social media & tech news sites and thought leaders. I spend time in the morning and night reading everything I can.

How do you keep on top of what people are saying about FOD?

I use a sentiment analysis platform to stay on top of people are saying about the brand and our content.

Give your top 5 tips that marketer’s would find useful when marketing their brands.

  1. Content is King – Have great content. Without great content you should stop reading right here
  2. Defined Success Metrics – Know what you are trying to accomplish and set quantifiable goals.
  3. Data Data Data – You should live in data and know all important metrics inside and out
  4. Be a Complete Marketer – Know everything about all marketing strategies & tactics and how they effect and compliment each other. Yes, social media is all the buzz right now but so was search a couple years ago and email before that. They are all just strategies that can be used to help you reach your KPIs.
  5.  Fail to succeed – Don’t be afraid to fail with a program. Just make sure you learn from those failure.

FOD has gone from online hit to mainstream success with partnership like HBO, what’s next for FOD?

We are growing into a media company. We will continue to expand into TV with shows on Comedy Central and other networks along with movies, publishing, podcasts and more!

Thanks a ton Patrick for all the great insights and tips.  We here at TechZulu wish you and FOD the best of luck and success.  If you have any question for Patrick leave them in the comments below and We’ll try out best to get Patrick to answer them.

Efren Toscano

Efren Toscano founded TechZulu in the heart of Southern California: Orange County. Focused on providing a platform to showcase all that is happening here in the tech and media space. TechZulu is rapidly growing to be the hub for Southern California technology companies news source. Efren has been chosen as one of LA Weekly's People of 2009 and selected as a Top 20 MostPublic Individuals in Los Angeles in Tech and Biz by NowPublic. He divides his time between San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and tech events around the US.

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