“A lot of people in Silicon Valley didn’t get, and I don’t know if they still get, Pinterest.” – CEO Ben Silbermann
The case study of Pinterest is fascinating. In 2010, three months after Pinterest launched, the site had only 3,000 users. There was no buzz, and no national recognition. Investors passed left-and-right, offering a myriad of excuses as to why the site wouldn’t work. Silicon Valley said the site needed a new algorithm and engineering. Silbermann stuck to his original plan, and knew the site just needed time to gain steam. He was right.
Pinterest is now the third-largest source of referral traffic on the Internet. The “Pin it Forward” campaign spread through the blogosphere and the site took off. The marketing efforts started in coffee shops and boutiques, not in Google ads or online forums. Silbermann’s grassroots efforts paid huge dividends for Pinterest, and those investors we mentioned earlier came calling back. The story of Pinterest was one built on marketing and belief in your product, not technology or a large financial backing.