Since 2012, we have led the charge to change how startups approach their first marketing efforts. So many companies unnecessarily wait till Series B and later funding cycles to ramp up on marketing, resulting in less than stellar trajectories. Most have a very poor understanding of how a robust marketing framework can leapfrog startups ahead of much larger, slower companies. If you have a need, we can help you permanently establish competitive advantage by reimagining your marketing.
We help early stage and emerging tech startups reimagine their company/product positioning, branding, strategic planning and competitive intelligence. Reimagining their customers as heroes and articulating how their customers win. Applying cutting edge and innovative marketing techniques to create the DNA used to build killer presentations, keynotes, communication pieces and establish the messaging platform, differentiation and competitive frameworks needed to grow sales.
This three phased approach works for 2 person startups and companies with $4B+ in annual revenues.
- Strategy and Plans
In order to establish a marketing plan that helps a company achieve its goals we need to take stock of where it is today, who the buyers and influencers are in the revenue cycle, what customers think is the essence of the solution, what the competitors are up to. Having a good understanding of these elements enables the crafting of a solid marketing plan and the build out of a solid brand foundation.
The following set of research, workshops and the creation of some core deliverables in a 4 to 6 week timeframe will enable the team to get on the same page as regards the brand of the company and will enable the subsequent creation of communication and sales materials e.g. website.
Phase I - Discovery
• Perceptual Audit/Analysis • Messaging and Positioning brainstorm - Company/Products • Industry and Market Research • Competitive Analysis Framework • Messaging Platform • Storyboard • Presentation
Phase II - Strategy and Planning
• Analyst strategy • PR strategy • Marketing Campaigns • Social Media
Phase III - Tools
• Total Cost of Ownership • Infographics • Sales Enablement • Marketing Metrics and Measurement
With companies that already have customers and active sales cycles, we can use this to our advantage in performing a quick brand perception audit. This is simply a technique to capture how the management team, other advisors associated with the company and customers like to think about the solution benefits provided by nPario.
Brand Perception Audits consist of the following steps:
External/Internal input on company to determine baseline for revised positioning in the form of a short survey (anonymous) to include some of the following categories of participants:
- Senior staff
- Board and Board of Advisors
- Lost Prospects
The survey is a short 15-minute conversation with key constituents, the results are anonymous so that we can focus on the words being used by customers to describe what they are getting from the company.
With new startups the survey is conducted with the management team, interested prospects and others that are stakeholders in the success of the company.
II. Positioning Workshop
The results of the survey are presented back to the management team and then there follows a messaging/positioning workshop during which the feedback is used a s a guide to determine key elements of positioning. The goal of the workshop is to provide the raw material for a detailed messaging platform that will be used for ongoing communication.
III. Revenue Cycle Analysis
It is critical for marketing to understand how prospects are reached, who is engaging them and who else in the account is involved. For example, from conversations with sales people it may become clear that while there is strong engagement from prospects at the demo stage, subsequent conversations are subject to the push and pull of internal politics at the customer, leading to elongated sales cycles. By understanding these different layers, messaging and tools can be developed that help turn those players into champions. This is a very common occurrence when centralized IT is involved in selecting solutions.
IV. Competitive Framework
Since prospects typically look for similarities or differences between existing solutions, in crafting positioning it is essential to create a view of the prospect world – from your perspective. Over time this would take the form of detailed competitive analysis, but initially it is important to see where nPario plays as relate to all the other players and offer a way for prospects to grasp why it is unique.
V. Product Positioning Workshop
This workshop is focused very specifically on the solution itself and consists of brainstorming around the “What 100 prospect problems are solved by Company XYZ.” By forcing the brainstorming session to focus on how customers benefit, you are able to arrive at a ‘Markectecture’ that better explains the product in terms that the customer will understand. The results of the product/solution brainstorming are fed into the messaging platform.
VI. Industry and Market Research
This activity involves getting a good picture of the most relevant trends in the industry and key players that may influence how people engage with Company XYZ. Identifying a key industry figure to participate in one of more of the brainstorming sessions and help forge the strategy is often an important approach to getting analyst coverage.
VII. Messaging Platform
This is an important document, which sets out the positioning for the company, and provides evidence for all claims made. This document is used throughout the creation of new materials – presentations, website, sales tools, data sheets etc… the document is especially important when you need to convey this foundational information to outsourced resources e.g. the person that will craft the look and feel identity of the company. An example of a Messaging Platform is included in the Portfolio.
VIII. Storyboard. Whilst having agreed upon positioning is an important step, creating a story or in the case of nPario, several stories for each of its buyers is the basis of communicating why customers should purchase. Creating story templates or a storyboard gives us the DNA that can be used to craft videos, presentations, advertising and other communication vehicles.
This is a labor-intensive activity involving many separate exercises to arrive at the elements of a good story:
- Starting point – how customers do what they do today
- New Bliss – what will life be like for them once they use nPario
- Multiple examples of difficulties and challenges
- Contrasting examples of how nPario will solve those issues
- Anecdotes and Customer scenarios
- Factual data
- Stakes – what’s at risk if you don’t use the solution
Once these details are collected they can be turned into presentations, talking head videos and white papers highlighting issues.
IX. Marketing Plan and Strategies
All the activity prior to this phase involves creating DNA, the building block from which a good plan can be created. It typically takes 6 weeks to arrive at this point assuming company resources are available for workshops etc… Once this is complete attention can be turned to creating a marketing plan that supports the revenue goals of the company and an appropriate budget can be set to support the marketing plan.
Major considerations in the plan would include:
- Analyst, Press strategy – who to brief, what they care about
- Campaigns – How to generate leads
- How to create awareness
- What metrics to measure to ensure we’re reaching our goals
- Establishing TCO models to use as part of the story
Reimagine your strategy, now.
The first 30 to 60 days are critical in establishing a good trajectory for the company, understanding the revenue dynamics ensures that marketing is wholly supporting the sales efforts and understanding the shifting competitive players means you are clarifying for customers why they need you. Creating good stories that your customer champions can tell themselves is the basis for leveraging word of mouth. To accomplish this there needs to be a direct correlation between what customers want and a solution and vision. Executing these workshops and analysis is one way to build out a good marketing strategy, this is exactly the approach I have taken with all my customers large or small.
If you need help, Re:imagine Strategy can do an excellent job
What We've Achieved
- @RebelMouse, a Lerer Ventures portfolio company - new competitive positioning and category and subsequent website, collateral and campaigns
- @Adnologies, the first complete digital advertising platform built to reach European consumers
- @Reltio, a Graph/Data Science SaaS application for Life Sciences companies that uncovers key relationships and provides focus and compliance for the business
- @nPario, a WPP company - new positioning - consumer intelligence solution that delivers real-time consumer segmentation and modelling
- @Rainstor, big data infrastructure company that provides compression, security and fast queries
- @Cenzic, a Hummer Winblad Portfolio company i- new category and positioning- application security intelligence space - acquired.