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If your tech start-up is prepping for its series-C funding round, your Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has a challenge ahead. They need to rapidly professionalise the company’s marketing, branding and communications, bringing them up to corporate standards.

They need to show that they have achieved the goals set at the last funding round. And that they have the expertise, the series-C marketing strategy, the technology and skills to achieve the results any series-C investors will demand.  

From scrappy tech start-up to corporate professionalism 

At this stage in the start-up journey, the challenge isn’t simply about what the potential customer can see — though that is still important. It’s also about the technology, frameworks and strategies behind the scenes. 

What does the CMO have to do to get the company ready for series C funding? 

  • Demonstrate a communications strategy that addresses each user segment at every point in the customer lifecycle in a way that maximises returns. 
  • Adopt marketing automation as part of the fully technology-enabled strategy for demand-generation and the maximization of customer lifetime value (CLV). 
  • Have a credible demand-generation strategy for taking the business into new segments, new geographies and other new audiences.
  • Develop mature account-based marketing strategies and practices, to ensure and demonstrate maximum revenue growth from your install base.
  • Own a powerful thought leadership platform that creates sustainable conversations and clear market differentiation and leadership. 

To get your start-up through its series-C funding round, brand identity, corporate messaging guidelines, communications strategy must all be comprehensive, flexible and contain all the elements required to enable these and other innovations.  

For instance, if you’re building a personalised digital journey, driven by CRM-based marketing automation, your start-up’s brand identity and marketing architecture must contain all the elements required to support that effort. The system must be able to pull these automatically from your libraries to create the asset it needs, at an industrial scale. 

This requires a combination of marketing, revenue, technical and operational knowledge and practical expertise. For many start-ups, it’s huge leap in combining greater marketing structure, with far more detail in strategy, larger amounts of data and a much greater and broad ranging use of technology. 

We call this stage-by-stage approach the start-up marketing investment maturity path. It runs from pre-seed to series-D. At each stage, the challenges associated with convincing investors, securing funding and hitting growth targets are unique.  

To find out more about the marketing investment maturity path, check out our infographic. 

When technology is a false friend 

In one sense, there is a lot of reassurance at this stage in the start-up journey. CRM platforms, marketing automation, digital-experience — these are all known quantities. You can buy into off-the-shelf technologies and follow ready-made plans. 

That’s all good. But it’s not a substitute for having the necessary architecture underpinning your branding, marketing, corporate messaging and communications. 

The best martech in the world will not help you if: 

  • Your messaging is inconsistent across touchpoints in the lifecycle. 
  • Your communications aren’t tailored to your audience segments. 
  • Your visual branding is a bad fit for your value proposition and brand personality. 

Without the right approach to start-up branding, marketing and communications, you can find yourself with a technologically flawless technical implementation of automated, data-driven marketing at scale and still fail to hit your growth or investment targets. 

Investors want to see conversion metrics, not tech metrics 

In this scenario, the technology-related metrics will look great. But your conversion metrics won’t, because while your comms might arrive in the right inboxes, your messages won’t land with your audience.  

This won’t help you grow your user base or your revenue. It will not help you meet either your series-B goals or convince investors that you can credibly achieve any goals they set as a condition of series-C funding.  

The answer is to make sure your CMO has access to a marketing, branding and comms team that has experience taking start-ups through their series-C funding round. You could choose to build this team internally. But this involves time and cost overheads that many start-ups will find prohibitive.  

The answer is to find an external partner with start-up marketing expertise, right away. A good tech marketing agency will work with you to identify exactly the tools/tactics you do and — and don’t — need for your series-C funding round. It will help you develop exactly the mix of branding, marketing and communications your company needs to achieve its current goals and to give it a platform fit for future growth and evolution. 

The Rubicon Agency has three decades of business and consumer tech marketing experience working with both start-ups and some of the world’s leading established technology brands. 

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