Struggling to get your company noticed? Here’s how to punch above your weight
Last Friday we had Linsey and Deborah from Bell Pottinger come in and run a seminar on ‘Punching Above Your Weight” - advising our tenants on how to get their company noticed by the right people, a very relevant topic for some of our younger companies.
They’ve kindly drafted a guest blog for us summarising the key points. Excellent advice, no matter what sector you’re in!
Your prospective customers face information overload every day. They tackle an expanding in-box of emails; they learn ‘something new’ from twitter, LinkedIn and instant messaging; whilst fitting in meetings, conference calls and events. It’s no wonder that as a start-up business, you can find it hard to get noticed.
Experienced in raising the profile of start-up organisations, leading to successful trade sale or IPO, we’ve developed a short list of hints and tips to help you gain an unfair share of voice with the media and other influencers. With the right approach, you can build a profile disproportionate to your actual size, equivalent to the market leading players.
1. Identify your court of public opinion
Rather than try and approach your target market directly, first take a step back and look at who influences them; where they turn to make purchasing decisions. Are they peers? Investors? Vendors? Industry analysts? Trade associations? Media? Bloggers? Government? Or market analysts?
For example: analyst firm Forrester recently reported that 84% of us look to peers and colleagues when making business purchasing decisions. For many companies, ensuring that you make the most of your customers will have the biggest impact. This could be far more than simply writing up case studies, and more to do with aligning your customer stories to the sales process, and mapping who are your most valuable advocates and clearly seeing the programmes ROI.
2. Profile the opinion formers
Before developing your marketing plan, conduct specific research into the key opinion formers relevant to your business and market. You may know that ‘the media’ is important, but each journalist is very different, interested in different subjects, motivated by different needs. Develop a relationship ‘map’, profiling each person, and detailing your current and target relationship. This will shape your priorities and activities.
3. Take a 360 degree of your assets
Lots of companies approach influencers leading with a product or service message. However in many circumstances opening with another aspect of your business or how you fit into your market will resonate more effectively with your target audience. Think about all of your assets. Are you based in a relevant or interesting location? How do you fit or compete with a leading vendor? How do you link into upcoming legislation? What is of interest about your management team? It’s also important to think about what the media cover and how you can fit into their pages.
4. Map and motivate your endorsers
It’s no good simply building a relationship with your influencers and creating collateral that documents their endorsement. You need to create a platform that encourages and prompts them to deliver that message to your target audience.
For example, trade associations and large vendors are often looking for members or customer examples to support their product or service launch. You would be surprised how hard this can sometimes be for them. Be proactive. Let them know what you are doing and that you would be willing to participate in press releases, interviews, events etc. Don’t wait for them to think to include you.
If you adopt, one, all or none of these tips, we would urge you to think from your customers’ perspective when developing your marketing plans; look at who else can deliver your message for you, and think wider than the product or service message. In our experience, adopting this approach will make it easier for you to punch above your weight.
If you would like to talk through any ideas or challenges, we would love to hear from you email@example.com