Lessons Learned from a Venture Capital Presentation

Yesterday we attended an informative “Start Up Study Hall” with the Start Up Ladies over in Fishers, IN. The speaker was Don Aquilano, who is Managing Director at Allos Ventures. While he talked a lot about what they do, how VC firms work, and all of that math, ROI and stuff, what really stood out to us was the way he talked about the companies they choose to invest it. More importantly, some of the reasons WHY they chose to invest in them. Why does this matter? Because this is where your marketing and your messages come into play. Think about a VC firm looking at you as a good investment, the same way that a potential customer might look at you. Do you understand them? Do you help solve their problem? Is what you do or say memorable?

The things that make your business a good investment also drive customer buying decisions. So let’s talk about what those qualities are.

Creative Is Just One Piece

Yes, great creative does get you noticed. We are only a few weeks post Super Bowl Sunday – with everyone tuned in for the game, Gaga’s halftime show, and especially the ads. We look to be entertained, moved and inspired. Brands look to connect with us as customers, to get us to feel things about them – we like them, we trust them, we want to support them. There is a lot more that goes into these memorable pieces than just the shiny creative.

Clarify Your Marketing Message

We recently worked with a client who was good at saying what they do, but needed to work on why they do it. When you come from a place of WHY, it can provide powerful connection points for your customers. Usually a company’s why is focused on a problem the customer is facing – and how they can solve it, to improve the customers lives in some way, shape or form.

Begin With Why

As marketers, we have a lot of great tools at our fingertips. Still, one of the first questions we ask clients is who are you talking to? What is most important to them as it relates to what you do? Frequently asked questions are great insight into customer concerns and needs. If they are constantly asking you about work on certain features, options or expanding product lines, you may find new marketing opportunities. If you’re business is so new that you don’t have any FAQs from customers – then focus on who you are developing your product or service for. You’ll here these customers defined as target audiences, buyer personas or just personas.

The VC leader talked about the companies that they invest in have really dynamic people. They are very passionate about the customers problem and working to solve it. How well you understand the customers, their issue(s) and how you approach the solution is the core of who you are and why your company or products have been created. Figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll often clarify who you’re doing it for, and why it matters to them. This is your marketing foundation.

Sometimes Less is More

Sometimes we get caught up in the need for all of the marketing “things” – websites, collateral, ads, social media channels, email marketing, etc. etc. etc. Many of these work together to support the marketing, sales and service of many companies. Still, consumers today want information when they want it, where they are and they want it as clearly stated as possible. So let your messages be simple, clear, concise and to the point. Use marketing channels where THEY are. The VC mentioned how he doesn’t want some 100 page deck about the company, he and his team would prefer a clear, to the point piece that answers their main questions. They can always ask more detailed questions – give them enough to get them to engage with you. (Yes, this refers to customers too!)

Think about creating a short statement that includes: why we do what we do, how that impacts our customers and ultimately what will build the business.

For us, we know there is a lot of pain when it comes to websites and web marketing. Too many businesses and people are taken advantage of because they don’t understand all of it. Our goal is to educate customers as much as we market for them, so they are empowered, understand how all of their marketing supports their company and ultimately helps grow the business. Simply stated, we want to take away the pain. What about you?

If you’re struggling to figure out your why, or why it should matter to your target audiences, maybe we can help. Give us a call at 616-490-1068 or email us today to start the conversation.