In startups, marketing is most associated with one function: demand generation. After all, the early stages are the proving ground for getting the product in front of as many prospective users as possible. And for good reason: These at-bats are invaluable for collecting feedback, cementing product-market fit, and securing early revenue.
Today’s tech marketer is armed with an unprecedented toolkit of resources to plan and measure our efforts. While the specific tactics can vary across industry verticals and user types, there’s a general roadmap for launching a brand and growing an inbound funnel. Once we fail fast, adjust course, and reinvest in what’s working, then we reach the promised land of a demand generation: a consistent strategy with predictable outcomes.
So, what happens when we pass this litmus test? In my experience, the game changes. Specifically, there’s the opportunity to deploy our limited resources differently. Now that customer adoption is a reality, the marketing function recalibrates with a larger concentration in customer success. You’ll know you’re in this stage when the investor and management scorecard gets longer. In addition to lead acquisition and conversion metrics, your reporting arsenal cites churn, contract value and promoter scores as meaningful markers.
Here are four observations I’ve encountered in marketing during this second phase of growth:
1. The brand matters. Okay, the brand is always important. But, there’s a point when it becomes more than a color palate. Here, the product positioning is crystal clear and has outpaced the iterative test stage. There are user personas with a well-defined problem and motivation factors. And, most importantly, the team, customers, and partners have bought into what it means to be associated with the company. This is when your brand guide starts to include words like “culture”, “authority”, and “on-boarding”.
2. The leadership team reads Disney. In addition to unconsciously streaming repetitive theme songs, Disney is the master of “experience.” Customer experience isn’t a new concept. What’s changed is that smaller firms are investing in creating an own-able experience for customers (and employees), before it creates itself. In this economy, experience is the currency for being different, forging long-term value and driving retention. One side observation: experience initiatives only work if there’s leadership investment and support.
3. Think “inside” the box. If we agree that branding and experience matter, then it’s no surprise that employees come first. In my experience, this “inside-out” approach can be a turning point in a company’s trajectory. Writing a mission or values statement isn’t enough from the marketing department. Integrating employee engagement initiatives into budgeting, company programming and processes is a calculated bet on the future of the business. In today’s tech, culture is often confused with perks. Water bottles and tee shirts are great; an aligned, empowered team of high-achievers is even better.
4. Build a community. There’s a point of maturity where a “community” is formed around the underlying mission of the company. This group is centered on a shared belief that is larger than the product or entity. You know you have one when customers refer customers, and employees recruit employees. The marketing function flexes its brand muscle to build communities through activities like user conferences, customer forums, peer socialization/gamification, and recognition programs.
Demand generation will always be a key tenet in marketing, and one that requires continual investment and innovation. Yet, as our product and market grow, we have an opportunity to extend the marketing function to live beside and below the sales funnel.
Phil Daniels is Co-Founder of Springbuk, where he leads Marketing for the leading employer-facing health intelligence platform.
By Jamie Merisotis Chief Executive Officer, Lumina Foundation
The worlds of work and learning are merging in powerful ways, driven by the exponential growth in human knowledge. This means the abilities needed in the workplace go beyond simple “job skills” that can be learned quickly through a short-term training program. I was with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock when he released the newest National Governors Association report, “Governor’s Action Guide to Achieving Good Jobs for All Americans,” at the opening session...
Virginia-based Nestlé USA says only 40 employees will be laid off at the company's Fort Wayne distribution center. A spokesperson for Nestlé tells Inside INdiana Business a WARN Notice filed with the state incorrectly stated the facility would close at the end of the year, affecting nearly 70 workers.
Wednesday was National Senior Citizen Day and three seniors are being celebrated for their contributions at a coworking space in Hancock County. Idea Co-op, which officially opened its doors earlier this year, has taken on three "senior interns" following a chance encounter at a local Kiwanis meeting in December. Jill Snyder, director of economic and business development for Idea Co-op operator NineStar Connect, says the men approached her with the goal of being involved in...
Fort Wayne just opened its brand new riverfront Promenade Park to pomp and pageantry, hoping to make it a draw to Indiana’s second largest city. But now the Allen County community has something else to celebrate. The editors of Realtor.com declared Fort Wayne as the hottest real estate market in July for the entire country.
Ethanol production at an Indiana biofuels plant will be stopped and the owner blames Environmental Protection Agency policies and the oil refining industry. South Dakota-based POET Energy announced the plant in Cloverdale will be placed in “idle production” within several weeks, though no date has been set. The ethanol producer says 100’s of local jobs will be impacted, but the news release did not specifically mention “layoffs” at this point.
A pair of northwest Indiana casinos will soon add sports wagering to their offerings. Horseshoe Hammond Casino and Ameristar Casino East Chicago are both set to open sports betting areas at their respective casinos ahead of the kickoff to the 2019 NFL season.