Three weeks into my new role as Head of Marketing at D Square it’s time to share my first experiences and findings. First of all I have to say that I’m extremely grateful for the experience. In all my previous roles and opportunities I have been mostly on the execution part of marketing strategy. This time it’s on me to build it from the ground up.
Stealth or not?
While D Square as a company has been around for a couple of years, the focus of R&D in the last two years has been towards developing a brand new product from the ground up, called TrendMiner. At a certain point in time, Bert Baeck [CEO, D Square] decided to close down all public communication around the product in order to further operate in stealth mode.
There are two main reasons to operate in stealth mode:
- Avoiding competitors insights in your product before it’s ready for production.
- Providing Corporate Marketing breathing room to develop the marketing backbone.
Since the competitive field D Square is playing in consists mostly out of well established companies in a change averse buying culture, the first reason is not really necessary. Most companies you’d consider competitors would actually be more Technical Alliance Partners anyway so we’d even be happy to share our information with them.
There is always a limited amount of resources a startup can afford. Focussing as much as possible resources to building a great product is a logical result. But that’s not enough. There are two major questions of which customers will want an answer once you are ready to release and sell the product;
- What have you built?
- Who are you?
Taking your time to both determine the answer to these two questions and building a strategy on how to communicate them is why you are in stealth mode! What is coming out of stealth worth if you can’t even show/explain what you have have built? The backbone I am talking about is building the components that support that messaging strategy:
- An F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) section to answer basic questions and demistify uncetrainties (i.e. competitive FUD)
- an extensive online Wiki
- a KnowledgeBase for release notes and bug fixes
Every piece of information about your technology, except for your protected IP, should be available for free to everyone.
Who are you?
What do the following taglines mean to you? “Think Different” – “Connecting People” – “The best a man can get”. Exactly: Apple, Nokia and Gilette. These are not just randomly chosen taglines that came from the marketing department. These are the core identities of those companies. This is what they represent. It’s the WHY behind the WHO. I’ve worked at companies that had taglines like “Frictionless IT”. If there’s one thing the projects never were, it was frictionless. But I’ve also worked at a company whose tagline was “It just works” and it did, both the product and the tagline. There is nothing worth more for marketing than a tagline that truly connects your customers to the company.
Now you’d say this is marketing basics 1o1 and it is. But for me it’s more than marketing; it’s company strategy common sense.
[Marketing] Books are meant to be an inspiration, not a user guide. If you want something to be your guide, let it be your common sense!
So one of the first things I asked our CEO when I got on board was: Who are we? What do we stand for? His answer was: JOINT INNOVATION. So in the next few months one of my primary focusses will be what this means to us and our customers. Because if they don’t see it, it’s going to be a worthless marketing tagline. And if there’s one thing I don’t want to stand for as a head of marketing: it’s being worthless 😉Be Social and Share: