You built the product and the team… but how do you create a lasting business? Success comes from building a bridge to your audience, joining the dots between concept and market need. These are the pillars that support that bridge.
Everybody has an idea for the next big thing – at least, to hear them tell it. But if you’ve put in the work to start a real business, you know that the idea is the least of it. It’s about execution – and beyond that: communication. First, you have to do your concept justice, making sure you build an excellent product and (at least as important) an excellent team, enabling you to meet and exceed customer expectations. Then you have to make sure the world knows about it. And that’s harder than you may think.
“Build it and they will come” is a nice idea but in reality, your audience is overwhelmed with options; the chances that they just happen to stumble upon your offering, no matter how awesome, are vanishingly small. Within tech especially, you’re broadcasting to the whole world… and so is everyone else. To get heard above the noise, maybe you can shout louder. Throw advertising dollars at the problem, get your company name on a stadium, whatever it takes. Might work, if you have the stadium-sized budget. But even then, name recognition isn’t really enough. And as a startup, let’s assume you don’t actually have hundreds of millions to spend.
The smarter alternative is to build a bridge to your audience with meaningful, relevant messaging that meets them where they already are. We’re talking about marketing communications, of course: everything, from advertising to PR to blog content, that gives you a chance to tell your customers why they need what you’re offering. How do you do it? Let’s dig in.
The foundation of everything is a solid brand strategy. You need to know why your business exists, what you stand for, why your potential customers should care. This may not be as easy to pin down as you think. Especially in tech, it’s easy to fall into the trap of confusing features with benefits. You’re excited about how cleverly you’ve solved a technical challenge, but what does that mean for your customers? How are you solving their problems? And why should they pick your solution over any other option?
Once you’ve crystallized your brand so that you know exactly what story you’re telling, you have to pinpoint exactly who you are telling it to. That may very well be more than one group. For a blockchain platform, for instance, you may be addressing app developers, end users and token investors – not to mention venture capitalists.
Figure out who these audiences are for your brand, and then fill in the picture. What kinds of app are your target developers creating, and what features matter to them? Who are your end users (for instance, are you addressing enterprise customers or gamers?) and what are they looking for? What about token investors: do your brand values align better with risk-averse value investors, savvy yield farmers or speculative traders? And crucially, you need to ask: what makes you relevant to each of these target groups?
When you’ve answered these questions, you know where your bridge needs to go – you can build that route to bring your customers over to you. And figuring out the nuances of each target group will help you answer the next crucial question… how to talk to them.
The fact is, very few customers care about the same things you do. They don’t know why your protocol design is better. They don’t want to. They want to know how to solve their business problems, and your product is just one of many options available to them – options that probably include choosing a completely different kind of technology, or even doing nothing at all.
Let’s say you have a blockchain network that’s streets ahead of the competition on security and efficiency, and thanks to these great technical advantages, you believe you can finally drive enterprise adoption. You might want to shout from the rooftops about your great Byzantine fault tolerance and low latency. But that’s not likely to convince your customers to make the costly and risky decision to change their systems. You need to figure out what will.
So you know where your bridge starts from, and where it’s going, but how do you connect those two places? You need solid pillars to support your communications – in the form of a range of specific topics and messages.
To design your communication strategy, once you’ve clearly defined your brand and your audiences, you must identify both your core talking points, and the broader topics that will provide an ongoing source of material. Without this, you will quickly run out of content ideas and be left delivering only reactive and repetitive communications; that’s no way to build a market presence. Remember, the goal is to bring your customers over the bridge. They have to know that you exist; and what you can do for them; and they have to want it. Fresh, engaging, relevant content is the best way to get their attention and draw them along every step of that path.
At THE RELEVANCE HOUSE, we’ve developed a reliable framework that lets us design a unique storytelling strategy to deliver ongoing content generation for each client. We can systematically lay out the relevant themes and identify a range of topics within each area; even better, we can situate all that within the customer journey. That means we always have access to sparkling communications ideas for every marketing need.
This framework builds on our scientifically based brand strategy development to ensure your communications are rooted in rock solid foundations. Your brand, your audience and your storytelling are too important to be left to guesswork – they are the base of everything. Following the approach outlined above, you can build a bridge that will connect your offering with your market, and allow you to truly make your vision a reality.