MARKETING IN A STARTUP
Ron Carson - VP Marketing
Innovation Asset Group
March 18, 2009
• ~10 Years in Silicon Valley, ~5 Years in RTP
• Companies: Tandem, Compaq, Digital, HP
• Startups: patent troll and a B2B software company
• Industries: Healthcare, e-commerce, Pharmaceuticals,
Telecommunications, Banking, Biotech, Supply Chain, Intellectual
• Roles: Business Development, Sales and Marketing
• Currently: VP of Marketing with a strong bias to market strategy,
business development and customer acquisition
WHAT I WANT TO SHARE
• Marketing vs. marketing
• Some start-up reality perspectives
• Things I would have wanted to know
• What I do, why I do it and how I do it
• I hope it helps
• Angel Investors:
• “I’ve just lost 50% across my entire investment portfolio. Why would I invest
with a high risk, early-stage company when I could invest in beaten-down,
highly liquid stocks like GE or Apple?”“
• Can you be cash-ﬂow positive in 6 months?”
• Venture Capitalists:
• IPO market is dry. M&A market is tight. No easy exit.
• May just let you die if you’re already in the portfolio.
• Only funding truly stunning business plans, preferably
with revenue already ﬂowing
• “So, if I buy this, who can I ﬁre?”
• Payback must be (way) less than one year.
ROI almost does not matter.
Spending is close to frozen.
"...Because its purpose is to create a customer,
business has two -- and only two functions:
Marketing and innovation. Marketing and
innovation produce results, all the rest are costs."
-- Peter Drucker
“There will always be need for some selling.
But the aim of marketing is to make selling
The aim of marketing is to know and
understand the customer so well that the
product or service ﬁts them and sells itself.”
— Peter Drucker
Strategic Marketing Tactical Marketing
- Market Analysis - Lead Generation
- Market Sizing - Advertising
- Market Segmentation - Promotion
- Target Segments - Awareness
- Unmet Needs - Websites
- Competitive Analysis - Collateral
- ... - ...
Have to get this right... ...for this to work.
Alignment is Key
IF YOU GET IT WRONG...
• In this economy, you are dead.
You Bonehead! You’ve wasted your investors’ money
• Wasted time and your business is dead in the water.
• Wasted money
• Wasted credibility
• I learned hard lessons:
• Secure Electronic Transaction
• Electronic Health Record It’s Not OK
• Intellectual Property Management
• Others I continue to observe…
HOW TO GET IT RIGHT
Know Your Customer
• To have knowledge or information concerning.
• To be absolutely certain or sure about something.
• To be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information.
Your opinion, while interesting, is irrelevant.
- Pragmatic Marketing
GETTING TO “KNOW”
Examples Useful For
Broad trends, market
sizing, growth rates, Superﬁcial, academic, in-
Industry Analyst Reports Forrester, Gartner
segmentation, actionable intelligence.
Third party validation
Usually too focused on
TD Ameritrade, Motley Trends, growth rates,
Financial Analyst Reports near-term investment
Hot Topic Issues. Identify Editorial calendars
Industry publications (incl.
IP Law & Business companies, people and necessarily shift. Hype
topics of relevance. sells - possibly misleading.
Broad trends, current
The readers digest
Business Publications BusinessWeek, Forbes events. General
Personal Conversations Danaher, Analog Devices, Dose of reality - needs,
with 30 prospective John Deere, Biomet, pains, barriers, Risk of short-term bias.
customers Cephalon, etc. opportunities
The phone is your friend.
WHAT TO TALK ABOUT
• Formulate hypotheses for:
• The problem, the product/solution
• Test hypotheses
• Talk to prospective customers, present problem - listen
• Incorporate into product/solution concept - test & listen
• Reﬁne (repeat as necessary)
• Verify - problem, product, business model
• Go/No Go
CONCEPTS TO KEEP IN MIND
(THINGS I WISH I LEARNED EARLIER)
• Business Equation Concept
• a.k.a. Ecosystem, value chain, life cycle, etc…
• Bottom Line: track the ﬂow of dollars through a market or company
• Who is going to make money or save money?
• Buying Processes
• How will the purchase be made? Who will make it?
• never under estimate.
• Probe for alternatives.
• Fast Fail - always look for this
COLD CALL BASICS
• Write down your objective
• Script your opening pitch
• List questions you want answered
• Pick up the phone (don’t read your pitch)
• Take notes
• Request permission to follow up
“WHO YOU GONNA CALL?”
• You have a target market segment, a problem theory to test, a
solution concept to bounce off of someone -- so who do you
• Tap the local network.
• Use tools success the ones below to ﬁnd relevant people and
their contact info:
• DO NOT rent or buy lists!
SOME STUFF WE DID
Top-down and Bottom-up
Built Marketing DB
Low Cost Marketing
Primary Target Market Sizing
• Primary Target Market Top-down
• Companies with a degree of IP complexity to be managed.
• Number of companies with SIC codes which correspond
• Complexity can come from the number of assets in the to IP-intensive industries: 46,000
portfolio, the number of incoming and outgoing obligations
associated with the portfolio and from company speciﬁc IP • Estimated percentage in our primary
workﬂow automation. target market: 10%
• As a rule of thumb, we look for companies with more than • = 4,600 companies.
300 patents in their portfolios, and over $300M in revenue.
• These are companies in need of an IP management
solution, and with the ﬁnancial resources to pay for one.
Today: 2,500+ named companies and 5,500+ contacts that
are candidates for one or more Decipher Modules:
• Secondary Target Markets Innovation, Portfolio Management, Commercialization.
• Medium sized companies with between 100 and 300
patents in their portfolios, and less than $300M in revenue.
• These are companies who understand the strategic
importance of IP and are actively seeking an integratd IP
management solution. • Adding contacts from the
target audience (5,500 and
• We do not activley prospect in this segment at this time. growing)
• Manually compiling list of named companies
• Target Audience within our target market. (2,500 and growing)
• Within the target market companies, we seek the person
responsible for corporate intellectual property strategy. • Initial list of companies with more than 300 patents = 1000
companies (Calculated this list to be under estimated by a
• Common titles include Chief IP Counsel, Vice President of factor of at least 2x-3x)
• Marketing Foundation
• New Website - describes solution in (mostly) terms the market used to
describe their needs/wants.
• SEO Optimized
• Direct Marketing Infrastructure & automation -- track & measure
• ~3,000 target companies in marketing database
• >10,000 contacts - multiple departments can inﬂuence sale
• 40,000 lower quality contacts in newsletter DB
New Leads Generated Growing Visbility IP Currents Conversions
Downloads, Demo Requests, Contact Us
Raw Leads from Events, Datasheet
White Paper Downloads & Subscriptions
White Paper Downloads
15 60 40
July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan 0
0 Nov'07 Dec'07 July'08 Aug'08 Sept'08 Oct'08 Nov'08 Dec'08 Jan'09
July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan
Direct e-mail Campaign Performance
•Multiple keywords on Google ﬁrst page.
6% •SEO leads generated include multiple
Fortune 500 companies.
Target = 3%
IPO CEO - MIT CTO- CIPC - Cost IAG-
•Faster Sales Cycles
Innovation Control Dennemeyer