5 Essential Factors For Your Tech Startup Marketing

Sharon
Blog Start-Up Tips

Whether or not you’ve noticed, it has happened to you before.

You’ve come across an interesting article, or an eye-catching LinkedIn post, or a friend mentioned a new company to you. Following your instinct, you clicked on the link, or the company’s profile, or searched the company on Google – and that tiny inkling of curiosity vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

Why? Because you landed on an outdated profile, or a company homepage that looks like it hasn’t been updated in 10 years, or started reading an article and noticed two grammatical errors in the first sentence. 

People are perceptive, and in order to function in a world where we are constantly inundated with profiles, articles, and websites, we have developed extremely efficient filters to hone in on the best of the best (and toss aside the rest). 

Luckily, I’m here to tell you how to survive the harsh judgment by telling you the 5 must-haves in B2B startup marketing, so you can be sure to set yourself up for success.


1. Updated Website

Where to begin other than the pinnacle of a company’s presence on the world wide web? Their website. 

A website is where someone goes to find out more information about a company; when they were founded, what their mission is, what they sell, the list goes on. 

On a technological level, websites are an incredibly important marketing tool for lead generation. So, the information you display on your website and how you display it is vital. 

If your SaaS startup marketing plan doesn’t include a website with impeccable UI/UX design and call-to-action (CTA) buttons in all the right places, you’re missing out on the opportunity to begin the process of nurturing your site visitors and converting them into customers.

And, despite what some people say, looks DO matter. 

Landing on an outdated website (you know, the ones that look like they came straight out of the early 2000’s) is a major deterrent.

So when creating your website, be sure to invest in excellent UI/UX


2. Social Proof

Another marketing mistake startups often make is lacking social proof across their website and social media channels.

Testimonials and case studies of satisfied customers may seem like a take-it-or-leave-it option, but in reality, these are extremely powerful tools to persuade customers to try your product.

It takes a special type of consumer to purchase a product if it has no reviews. Why would someone take the risk of paying for a subpar product or service when they can find the same exact item with plenty of raving reviews? 

They probably wouldn’t. Which is why you must invest time and energy into gathering testimonials and conducting case studies on pre-existing customers that are satisfied with your product and are willing to vouch for your startup’s reliability and product quality. 

Plus, testimonials and case studies can also be used as engaging content to distribute through your various channels (social media, startup marketing campaigns, newsletters, etc.), making it a win-win.


3. Use Your Competition

So – you’ll make sure that your B2B startup marketing strategy includes an extremely user-friendly, updated website with a plethora of CTA’s and incredible social proof. What next? 

As discussed in a different blog, startups are usually swimming in an extremely fierce ocean of competition. 

And yet, working at a B2B startup marketing agency, I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to count how many times my clients have insisted that they are way better than their competitors and brushed them aside.

This right here is mistake #3. 

It’s great that your product or service outperforms your competition, but that doesn’t mean you can pretend that they don’t exist. 

If you underestimate your competition, you remain ignorant to the options your potential customers are comparing to your product. And while ignorance is bliss, this kind of bliss doesn’t make money.

Use your competition to your advantage – study what works for them, what doesn’t, and use it to inform your B2B startup marketing strategy.


4. Consistent Branding

Another marketing mistake startups often make is having inconsistent branding, or no branding at all.

Creating a brand is no simple process, sure, but it is one that is well worth the time and money. Why? 

Because a company’s brand is a company’s story; their why. And in order to stand out amongst the competition, your startup must tell a compelling story that draws in your audience and sparks their interest.

Without this captivating story being told consistently across all marketing materials and platforms, you risk losing and even confusing current and potential customers.


5. Social Media

The fifth most common tech startup marketing mistake is underutilizing social media.

Similar to a website, social media has become one of the predominant marketing tools in the B2B world.  

From LinkedIn outreach to sponsored ads to good old organic content, social media has become a serious lead generation instrument in the orchestra of a marketing plan.

Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to utilize social media to its fullest potential, you should be sure to at least upload a post here and there to let customers know that your startup is alive and well. 

Better yet – hire an agency with expertise in SaaS startup marketing that can cover all your marketing bases for you, social media included.

Check out our website to learn more about what services SAGE offers to the leading B2B tech startups.

What is B2B brand positioning, and why does it matter?

Sharon
Blog Branding

Brand positioning in tech marketing is no differentto any other kind of branding. It is the story about your company, product, or service, which sits firmly in people’s minds and is made up of many different elements. The way people perceive your brand directly impacts on your value. 

Contrary to popular belief, a ‘brand’ is not your logo or a clever tagline, it’s how you are wholly perceived by your audience. When it comes to building your B2B brand awareness, competitive positioning is the key to creating differentiation. Setting your product or service apart is a critical factor in the ‘seize or decease’ of a very competitive market. The main goal of an effective B2B positioning strategy is therefore to influence consumer perception by effectively communicating your brand’s advantage over the competition. 

In their classic book “Positioning: A Battle for Your Mind, Jack Trout and Al Ries stress the importance of reversing communication with your audience. Instead of communicating the advantages of yourproduct or service, effective B2B competitive positioning turns matters inside out and searches for the solution to the problem not inside the product, but inside your customer’s mind. “Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.” (Ries & Trout, 2001)

Tech start-up branding and effective positioning are no different, you should always remember that your audience relates much better to solving their pain rather than obtaining a gain.


How do we know what already exists in people’s minds?

Each one of us holds in our mind countless products and services which we subconsciously organized into categories and associated brands. Good positioning is the ability to tap into the existing connections that already exist in your customer’s mind. 
Let’s demonstrate this with an example: think of everyday things we all use, like clothing, cars, and food. What comes to mind? most likely the big brands associated with each category. For example, when you think of chocolate you’ll probably think of Godiva, Lindt, or Hershey’s. If asked about cars, you’ll name Toyota, Mercedes, or Ford. 


Leading the category

But what If I asked you to name an electric car? Tesla will probably be the one to spring to mind, and I’ll bet you’ll also be thinking of its founder, Elon Musk. 
Back to positioning – Elon Musk is not Tesla’s founder, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning are. They founded Tesla motors long before Musk onboarded the company, yet most of us attribute the Tesla brand to him. This is just one example of great positioning! Tesla is now a household name. But if you try and think of another electric car brand, it may take you a while. Just as if I asked you to name the tallest mountain in the world. Most everyone knows it’s Mount Everest. But what about the second-tallest mountain in the world? Not many people would know.
You get my point. Nobody cares about the second. 

Another great example of owning a category is kleenex. “Pass me a Kleenex” simply means pass me a tissue but owns such a powerful position that its name is synonymous with a tissue, just like Band-Aid is with a plaster. When your product or your company’s name becomes a generic description of the product you sell, you have won the positioning game and locked down your spot in the mind of the consumer. That’s easy. 


But what if you are not the (lucky) first in the category? 

It simply means you must try harder.

Does that ring a bell? It probably does, since it’s one of the most iconic examples of a brilliant positioning strategy employed by Avis. Back in the early 60s, the leader and king of the rental car category were Hertz, who dominated the market unequivocally. Avis needed to come up with a positioning strategy that would take on the category leader. Rather than aiming for second place, they chose a different approach.


Their positioning was as simple as it was genius: “We are only in second place, and that’s why we try harder. When you’re not the biggest you have to.”  Avis’s positioning paid off, literally.

What is B2B brand positioning, and why does it matter?
So, when you think of your company or product, tap into what people have in mind, and find your unique value proposition to position yourself on the ladder. By ladder I mean look at the category you’re in and where you fit in. A ladder might be organized by price, velocity, or customer satisfaction. 

How do I use the ladders to effectively position my product or service?

You can invest all your time and money trying to climb to the top and dislodge an established brand, or you can implement creative branding and relate your brand to a leading company using the powerful tool of associative psychology. 
Another great example is the 1996 Daihatsu Hijet MPV Ad:

What is B2B brand positioning, and why does it matter?

To successfully position your product or service in the mind of the consumer, you need to find a specific position – a niche. A great example is the wildly successful ‘Dollar shave club’. Their name alone beautifully demonstrates their unique value proposition: cheap, affordable, and convenient. Up against the market leader Gillette, they positioned themselves as a cheeky alternative which is more relatable and appealing to the younger generation.  


How to create an effective B2B market positioning strategy?

1. Determine your company’s uniqueness by comparing it to competitors

2. Identify the current market position

3. Do a competitor positioning analysis

4. Develop your positioning strategy


The different types of Positioning Strategies: 

  • Product-centred:  Associating your product/ service with attributes of a certain beneficial value
  • Price-centred: Associating your product/ service with competitive pricing
  • Quality-centred: Associating your product/ service with high quality
  • Application-centred: Associating your product/ service with a specific use
  • The competition centred: Making consumers think that your product/ service is better than that of your competitors

Let’s have a look at the chocolate industry as an example: 

What is B2B brand positioning, and why does it matter?

Creating a perceptual map in market positioning

When looking to position your brand, a perceptual map should be created to show consumer perception of the different brands you’re up against. Outlining this map will allow you to position your competitors and find your unique value proposition in the market. You can find free templates for creating your perpetual positioning map
The great value of perceptual mapping is in the visual impact it provides. 
If you’ve ever come across Scot Brinker’s MarTech 5000, then you know the B2B SaaS market is exploding with solutions. That’s great news for consumers, but less so for sellers. 

What is B2B brand positioning, and why does it matter?

After positioning yourself and choosing your unique value proposition, you now have the complex mission of communicating with your target audience. 
Remember– a promise needs to be fulfilled, and your positioning will determine your brand’s entire look and feel from now on. Establishing your brand in the minds of your customers will take a long time and can only be done through consistent performance and communication. 


Conclusion

B2B brand positioning is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of creating your brand and an absolute must for launching a successful marketing strategy aimed at growing your business. Done and executed professionally, it has a long-lasting effect and easily outweighs any quick gain advertising campaigns.