A Compelling Story That Can’t Be Ignored
Having a compelling story that the market simply cannot ignore is an essential ingredient for every successful company. This is especially true – and difficult – for startups, who are most often attempting to introduce a new approach or technology into the market and don’t yet have brand recognition. Developing that killer story that will rapidly propel your company to huge success is the job and the magic of great startup marketing.
In order to get prospects to pay attention to you, your ideal story should not only resonate with their deepest hopes and fears, but must force them to think about their jobs and their roles differently. Creating this story requires deep and intimate understanding of the new technology and capabilities (current and future), markets and trends, target buyers and internal company dynamics, etc. It also requires a great deal of creativity to identify the optimal positioning and unique messaging that knocks people out of their traditional ways of thinking.
I have had the pleasure of working with a number of successful tech startups, and I have found the hardest transition can be scaling effectively from the conversations with friends willing to sit through your explanations and origin stories, to the broader market who won’t give you the time of day unless you can grab their attention in 5 seconds. Solving this is my super power and the most fun part of marketing for me.
I have spent the better part of the last 20 years in B2B software, including security, productivity, operations and infrastructure. I also have experience in the service sector, hardware, B2C, and others. So, how do you know if I might be able to help you with your marketing and GTM strategy?
- Are you still in stealth mode and thinking about what the winning strategy is?
- Are you starting from scratch and need help figuring out which way to run?
- Is your revenue growth slower than you want or need it to be?
- Are you having trouble getting people to understand just how awesome you are?
- Are there new market dynamics that are forcing you to rethink strategy or message?
I firmly believe that to succeed in any of these scenarios, there needs to be a shift away from existing narratives to create a new story that hasn’t been told. There are certainly other important factors, like having great technology, good market timing and an excellent team. But without a story that makes the market sit up and pay attention, scaling to notable success will be very difficult.
A Plan for Success:
When it comes to marketing, there are many things that can go wrong or keep you from reaching full potential. Often it is because there was just not sufficient thought that went into crafting the right story before operationalizing. I cannot tell you how many CEOs I have worked with who laid out a history of tremendous activity that failed to materialize as revenue. If you want the best results, there is an order to things.
The story should always come first. Only then will Sales and Demand Gen activities pay off at the level they should. With most of my clients, I start by creating a Marketing Foundation document that becomes the source of truth for all future activities. Then we make sure to create a strong set of core collateral materials before cranking up the rest of the marketing machine.
1: Marketing Foundation
This becomes the foundational document that drives content and go-to-market strategy. In addition to “the story”, it describes relevant market dynamics, ideal target audience(s), competitive landscape, and sample messaging and copy blocks.
2: Essential Core Collateral
Every company has different needs, but should have a great-looking website that projects core elements of the Foundation doc, plus a few other select items, like a short solution brief, white paper, thought-leadership article, killer sales deck, etc.
3: Operationalize Demand Gen
With the basics done, demand generation and ongoing collateral creation extend into the future. Establish a brisk cadence of new collateral, events and social media, while operationalizing campaigns and other outreach activities that directly drive leads and sales.
Email: bduckering (at) gmail.com