Episode 150: Anne Laffin – Taming Startup Chaos: Messaging, Marketing, and Wrangling Strategies

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Anne Laffin, a marketing consultant and fractional head of marketing, joins Matt Levenhagen on The Builders podcast to discuss how she helps early-stage startups wrangle their chaos and get organized.

Anne shares her own journey from working in market research and financial services to starting her own company and working with startups. She emphasizes the importance of being open to feedback and flexible in the ever-changing startup environment.

Anne also highlights the significance of messaging and creating a marketing plan that is adaptable and focused. She concludes by discussing the challenges of defining roles and maintaining clear communication within startups.

Key Takeaways:

  • Startups should be open to feedback and flexible in order to adapt to changes and find the right path.
  • Messaging is the foundation of effective marketing and should be clear, consistent, and aligned with the company's goals.
  • Marketing plans for startups should be shorter-term (3-6 months) and regularly evaluated and adjusted based on results.
  • Startups often struggle with defining roles and maintaining clear communication, which can lead to chaos and inefficiency.
Anne Laffin, a marketing consultant and fractional head of marketing.

I'm a marketing problem solver, strategist, and content creator who helps entrepreneurs and founders grow and amplify the inspiring work they bring to the world.

My ‘in the trenches’ mentality comes from a 20-year marketing career working with a variety of companies, large and small including startups, in the market research, tech, financial services, and animal health industries.

In 2020 I decided to start Fin Marketing, (the name plays off my last name and my love for water) a marketing consultancy for early-stage startups.

Long before any of those things happened, however, I received a B.A. in Communication from Villanova University and received an M.S. in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University.


  • Ann Laffin's Background and Career Path
    • Journey from market research to financial services
    • In-depth experience in fintech and advising financial startups
  • Evolving Startup Landscape
    • Embracing challenges and opportunities in early-stage companies
    • Pivoting to entrepreneurship during dynamic market conditions
  • Agile Marketing Strategies
    • Crafting and continuously evolving startup messaging
    • Adapting marketing strategies to suit dynamic startup environments
    • Maintaining a balance between flexibility and long-term vision
  • Startup Culture and Leadership
    • Characteristics of effective startup founders
    • Influence of founder personality on startup trajectory
    • Strategies for navigating and managing startup chaos
  • Future Focus and Innovations
    • The crucial role and future of email marketing in startups
    • Launching an email marketing course tailored for startup needs

Click to See Episode Chapters and Timestamp

0:00:00Introduction to the episode
0:01:09Anne's background in marketing and working with startups
0:03:43Anne's decision to start her own company
0:04:53Differences between startups and small businesses
0:07:28Importance of open-minded founders
0:10:47The need for flexibility and adapting to new opportunities
0:12:21Importance of being open, flexible, and adaptable in business
0:13:19Evolution of ideas and opportunities in business
0:15:31Anne Laffin's role in helping startups execute their ideas
0:16:39Starting with messaging and creating a marketing plan
0:17:54Being a jack of all trades in the early stages of a startup
0:19:05Transitioning to specialized roles as the business grows
0:20:19The importance of consistent messaging and feedback
0:21:54Example of helping a client fix their messaging
0:22:53Lack of focus and cohesion in startups' messaging
0:23:58Definition and alignment of messaging in a company
0:25:23Planning phase: setting business goals and marketing contribution
0:26:37Flexibility with timeline and monthly revisits for marketing plan
0:28:07Balancing focus on current success and exploring new ideas
0:29:25Importance of diversification and contingency plans
0:33:34Chaos caused by ambiguity and lack of role clarity
0:35:42Importance of effective communication and alignment
0:36:44Firing fast vs. improving communication and role definition
0:37:57Building relationships and open lines of communication with employees
0:38:35Creating a comfortable environment in the workplace
0:39:03Anne's experience as a marketing consultant
0:39:59Challenging start to 2023 for startups
0:40:19Anne's plans to diversify her offerings with an email marketing course
0:41:07Email marketing still effective and cost-effective
0:41:35Ways to contact Anne
0:42:05Conclusion and call to subscribe
0:42:06Advertisement for Unified Web Design
0:42:33Conclusion and contact information
End of transcript

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Matt Levenhagen
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