Everest

Marketing Wisdom to Support the Climb

 

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Updated: Jan 28



In the last couple of years, I had the privilege of working with PLNAR as both CMO and VP of Customer Success. PLNAR is a really cool augmented reality (AR) mobile tech company that helps homeowners generate 3D models of interior rooms from smartphone images. This app became especially critical during Covid as it helped both insurers and contractors continue to service their customers without onsite visits.

  • I helped get the company on the right path for product market fit and built out their first customer success function.

  • Andy Greff and the team are on track for big things. PLNAR closed $3.5M in series A funding in December 2019.


Returning to Full Court Marketing


I am thrilled to announce I moved back into my services company, Full Court Marketing (FCM).



  • FCM just wrapped up a successful venture with Jay Hallberg, GM at Shasta Ventures, on a seed-stage computer vision AI company called Hasty We leveraged recent funding to officially launch the Berlin-based company. I guided an international launch team to develop and deliver positioning, messaging, value props, brand strategy, a complete website refresh, and 30-60-90 day marketing plan with programs. Read more about Hasty in this recent VentureBeat article on their launch. I loved working with Hasty and see a bright future ahead for the team.



  • FCM also completed work with an exciting Austin-based company, Dash Wagon. I handled the creation of new positioning, messaging, and brand development for the company. They invented a groundbreaking solution that turns rear-facing infant car seats into mobile transportation and fitness systems for families on the go.


These recent experiences inspired me to bring other companies what they need to keep growing. So keep your eyes peeled: I’m getting ready to launch a new “Everest” marketing package. The new package will help early-stage companies like Hasty and Dash Wagon position their company and their product, determine what story to tell and understand how -- and when -- to tell it. I lay out the strategy for creating every critical piece of the puzzle and get the entire package ready to share with the world.


It’s all about determining positioning and creating a narrative that stands out -- and then amplifying that narrative across all deliverables, from pitch decks to websites, programs, and PR. After all, you can’t find a market fit without effective marketing – and not just any marketing will do.

One of the significant (and enjoyable) advantages of being back home with FCM is assembling an outstanding team of outsourced contractors. I love working with people who understand how to get things done for growing companies and do it well! Thank you to Rebecca Beegle and Brian McDonaugh – together, we make an unstoppable team.



Mentoring More Entrepreneurs


I’m so happy to be back mentoring entrepreneurs at Techstars and Capital Factory.


Thanks to Amos and Josh for the opportunity to work with so many terrific entrepreneurs! Recent companies I’ve mentored:


Techstars '21 - Alexander at Ballbox, Chris at Enlight, Gigi at Fetefully, Spencer at hampr, Alex at Talk Howdy, Steve at Kousso, Bill at Livo, Alejo at Mowies, Claire at Nutritional Freedom, Amanda at Social Mama


Capital Factory: Airion at Vessel, Hakeem at CustomerX.i


I hope they learn as much from me as I do from them!



Wishing Everyone a Peaceful, Productive Year


Thanks again to everyone who checked in on me and asked what I’ve been up to. Above all else, I’m so grateful for your support. Here’s to us all having a productive, fruitful, peaceful, and blessed 2021. Have questions for me? Interested in my new Everest package? Message or email me. I’d love to hear from you!


In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this sentiment: “Get ready for marketing that accelerates the climb. Get ready for the return of the Yeti!"



Capital Factory Ask Me Anything


I was recently invited to participate in Capital Factory "Ask Me Anything" Slack (👍awesome BTW👍) session and was asked the following question about marketing in growth-stage tech companies:

"It's rare that Marketing gets involved in Strategy and Execution; I see from your background you've been really successful at this. Do you have any insights for how a company can position marketing to achieve that role in the growth of a business? How can marketing move from just an executor to become a strategic part of the organization?" Below is what I learned from a mentor early on in my career that forever changed my thinking about the role marketing must play in young companies. Know WHAT marketing's strategic purpose is in the organization:

  1. Track the overall market and competitive dynamics

  2. Determine how to penetrate early chosen markets at maximum speed - with emphasis on the "ideal" customer

  3. Build out the category/positioning & competitor kill points

  4. Lead the GTM team

  • PR and bus dev position the company for early market leadership

  • Product marketing is the SME for "ideal" customer for dev team, marcom, sales, etc. & builds out selling advantages

  • Marcom - discovers the "ideal" customers & builds programs that generate leads and prove key points of the category and positioning BAM! I love what i DO.




Startups find themselves pulled into many directions during their critical early stages. However, at your company's onset, you only possess the financial capital, energy and focus to address a short list of priorities. Below are the eight marketing priorities your startup must nail to dial-in product/market fit.



1. Identify Market Need


You must build a clear idea of the market you will be competing in. Doing this means identifying your potential pool of customers by discovering unmet needs, defining your competition and identifying market leaders.


In your company’s early stages, discovering market need is your most critical priority.


2: Develop hypotheses about your ideal customer base.


Create a profile of your ideal customer by asking these core questions:

  • What pain is your customer burdened by without the advantages of your product or service?

  • Do you know the10X advantages of your product/service?

  • Which advantages do your customers value most?

  • What advantages can only be obtained by utilizing your product?

  • Have you quantified both the extent of your customer's pain and how your product/solution advantages address their needs?

Take these questions and fuse them together to build a persona of your ideal customer. Give them a name and an identity. Only by making them real and bringing them to life can you truly understand how serve them with your product or service.


3: Segment your possible customer pool & identify top prospects


There are many ways to segment the market, but optimal segmentation should correlate with two key points; how you’ve grouped your prospective buyers (your ideal customers), and how you’ve positioned your unique advantages.


Your goal is to create a segmented group comprised of customers who will intrinsically value your solution. Instead of trying to target everyone in the segment all at once, find the top prospects to focus on. These are the customers that have a high probability of buying your solution based on their pain, your product advantages, how you specifically solve the pain and most importantly, timing – are these prospects motivated to address their pain right now.


4: Position your solution based on your unique advantages


Put yourself in the perspective of the customer and proactively state the position your solution will own in their mind. How does this solution differ versus other alternatives and solutions? Develop a positioning statement that includes who your ideal customer is, what your unique 10X advantages are and how your product differentiates itself from the competition in the category/offering you have chosen.


5: Become the expert of your ideal customer’s pain


Create customer relevant problem statements based on customer pain and the disadvantages of other competitive approaches. Relate the problem statement to its impact on the customer and then solve the problem with your advantages. Provide proof of your ability to solve their problem. You must become better than anyone else at describing your ideal customer’s pain.


6: Develop a storyline that speaks directly to your ideal customer


Your positioning statement and ideal customer problem statements form the basis of your storyline and establishes your point of view concerning the customer’s unmet needs. Each member of your company interacting with customers, investors and influencers must stick to this storyline and stay true to these key messages.


This storyline framework must include:

  • Key takeaway & vision (gap in the market)

  • Storyline (rational)

  • Key messages (promise, benefits)

  • Use cases (product, solution)

  • Competitive differentiation (market and customer)

  • Proof points (evidence, importance)

Messaging must be unique – meaning your claims need to be differentiated from any messaging your ideal customers may encounter. Do not use marketing speak in your messaging. Instead, use real language that is relevant and meaningful to your customers.


7: Engage with your ideal customers


Develop hyper-focused campaigns targeted at your hot prospects. Make sure to build clear goals with metrics that help validate your advantages and dial-in the profile of your ideal customers. Each campaign highlights your story while delivering messaging and value props. Deploy and test that messaging through multiple channels (social, email, Webcasts, and other digital and traditional channels) to understand which messages resonate best with your ideal customers and which channels drive the most engagement. You have to do whatever is necessary at this stage to secure conversations with your prospective ideal customers.


Think of this priority as demand gen "light" that serves to engage your ideal customers.


8: Above all - partner with the product team and together track, measure and iterate constantly


The best way to track, measure and iterate is to build a product/market fit engine. These purpose-built engines anchor metrics and can pinpoint early indicators of your product/market fit. Your value advantages and messaging are the gas that powers the engine. Engines ask questions such as why do customers specifically love your product, how much do they love it and what holds them back from loving the product?


Tracking and scoring these with the product team and through a product/market fit engine will help you dial into a metric that enables you to gauge your product/market fit.

Conclusion


Your early stage company will most certainly find itself burdened by an onslaught of priorities. But the truth about priorities is you can only have one at a time. To survive these early stages, you must put all your energy into finding product/market fit as quickly as possible.


Stay true to these eight steps and you will have a good shot at progressing your company to the next stage of growth.

      I  marketing for early stage companies

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