Goose Capital, Artemis invest in P6
Until recently, the concept of marketing within the startup sphere was often equated solely with lead-generation. It's not entirely inaccurate to say that "marketing is lead-generation," as revenue generation is undeniably the end goal of marketing efforts.
However, what tends to be overlooked by founders is the intricate path to achieving revenue generation and how marketing can pave the way. I firmly believe that a similar paradigm exists in the realm of B2C marketing.
I'd like to start by establishing a distinction between Marketing and marketing. This distinction might not be perfect, but it encapsulates how I conceptualize these concepts. When I refer to Marketing with a capital "M," I'm alluding to the overarching strategies that companies employ to drive revenue through marketing and advertising activities. This is the domain of the chief marketing Officer. The role of a CMO entails overseeing marketing and advertising efforts to ensure their alignment and efficiency in achieving the company's broader strategic goals.
Given this concept, where should a startup begin when figuring out their marketing strategy?
There is a common tendency amongst startups to create a product, establish a name, and swiftly attempt to enter the market. While the initial step for a startup involves achieving product-market fit, I advocate that once this milestone is reached, startups should pause to invest time in crafting their brand identity. Branding serves as the facet of a company that sets it apart and defines itself. This encompasses articulating a vision, mission, and values. Founders have the opportunity to shape their company's voice, articulate how they add value to customers, and delineate the organizational culture they aspire to foster. This phase is pivotal because it establishes the foundational elements that necessitate internal alignment for efficient scalability.
Once the brand is established, it can be handed over to a skilled marketer to start driving revenue growth. However the path to revenue growth goes straight through brand awareness.
This distinction can be perplexing, as the activities described here largely fall under the Marketing umbrella. However, I find it beneficial to differentiate between marketing and advertising within the broader context of Marketing strategy. Marketing revolves around cultivating brand awareness. Marketing is about building brand awareness. In marketing campaigns the wording can be about the company and its team. While I don’t recommend the old visuals of people in a boardroom having meetings, it’s ok to talk about the people and goals of the company in marketing campaigns. What does your brand represent? What is your product? What do you do? Who are your people? What are your values? It’s ok to share all of these things, and depending on the channel a company is marketing on, their marketing person will be well equipped to display this.
Advertising has a different tone and purpose. When advertising a company is talking to their customer, and offering the customer a solution to their pain and problem. This is a company’s what. I assume that a company that has made it this far offers a solution that is a cure, and not a nice-to-have.
Most advertising campaigns follow a simple formula, “are you suffering from X?” with a clear answer of “our company can solve that with Y”. If the answer to the pain question is yes, there is a good probability that the person will click on the ad they are seeing. That probability improves when the advertising campaign is layered on top of a well executed brand awareness campaign.
Although I'm not a psychologist, I do recognize the potency of the subconscious mind. This isn't about psychological manipulation, but rather an acknowledgment that the subconscious retains more than the conscious mind is capable of. Unlocking this potential might be challenging for individuals, but for marketers, the process is comparatively more accessible. Present information to an individual, and as long as they see it, their subconscious mind will register and retain it. This underscores the importance of brand awareness in revenue generation. By exposing a target audience to the company’s messaging through brand awareness campaigns, enhances the likelihood of engagement.
This fundamentally reshapes how companies connect with their ICP.
When an individual encounters advertising, a part of their brain will recognize the brand and might even associate it positively. This underscores the criticality of brand awareness, as it allows companies to focus on their target audience and continuously engage them until they are ready to make a purchase. Determining the precise moment when a customer is ready to buy is nearly impossible. However, this moment invariably arises, usually propelled by a pain point. When that decisive moment arrives, the goal is for the company’s brand to be the first that comes to their mind or that they see. This necessitates an ongoing investment in brand awareness campaigns.
So what does this mean in the context of startups?
A key component of any Marketing strategy is capital efficiency. Founders must familiarize themselves with crucial metrics, such as:
While it's acceptable to commence with assumptions, any shifts in these assumptions warrant corresponding adjustments in a Marketing budget.
In the initial stages of a company’s lifecycle, a significant portion of sales might stem from direct, personalized selling efforts. This entails founders engaging in activities like providing software demos for enterprise sales or conducting face-to-face interactions within the target market. However, as revenue grows, capital is raised, and founders transition from selling to leading, this selling strategy should be phased out. This also marks the moment for founders to begin contemplating their Marketing budgets.
A starting point for figuring out your Marketing budget can be based on a CAC to LTV ratio of 1:3, where CAC is a third of your LTV. Once you have determined your CAC to LTV ratio, you need to determine what your revenue goal is, and then set your marketing budget based on that. Finally, you need to divide your Marketing budget between marketing and advertising activities. Depending on the stage the company is at, the division should be around 60% for marketing and 40% for advertising to start. This is to enable brand awareness to work its magic to build an audience for retargeting.
If you’re unsure about how to proceed, we can talk.
In the upcoming months, I intend to delve deeper into several topics:
I hope these insights contribute value to the founder journey.
Yosef Levenstein is the chief marketing officer and venture partner at Golden Section Ventures.