How the right marketing plan can increase your next pre-money valuation

January 31, 2019

Including the pure essentials for a marketing plan that builds value into your company, Proctor + Stevenson shows you how the right marketing can increase your next pre-money valuation with our exclusive whitepaper.

Throughout this article we’re going to explore how your marketing strategy will change, depending on the needs of the business through each round of investment. Whatever stage you’re at, however, the primary objective will always be to build shareholder value. So let’s start by considering an investor’s point of view.

“1/3 of all entrepreneurs fail or lose investor interest because they don’t know how to spend their money…customer acquisition frequently ranks as the second biggest reason why they fail.”
Archana Priyadarshini, venture partner at Unicorn India Ventures.

Demonstrating marketing’s value to shareholders

It’s time to think like an investor. How is your marketing plan going to show a return on their investment?

The proof point for each round, from series A, through B, C and towards float/exit, will be whether the value marketing delivered, justifies a further re-investment. Broadly, the value drivers for each round are:

Series

Strategy

Objective

A

Growth

Show sustainable revenue

B

Innovation

Expand into new market segments

C

Scale

Systemise consistent marketing operations

Series A: Grow. Fast.

This round is about proving the business model, showing there’s a revenue generating market for your proposition. Your budget for series A marketing, excluding wages for 1-2 personnel, is likely to be around £100-£150k per year, over two years. Fundamentally, this needs to cover brand development and an agile growth marketing program to test and refine your proposition.

1: Establish your brand’s fundamentals

Let’s be clear, this is about more than designing a logo, brochure and website. It’s about creating a brand that connects with your customers’ needs and desires, persuading them to buy what you’re offering, over and above your competitors. You only get one shot at this, so you’ll want to do it thoroughly, and get it right.

For a solid brand architecture, you’ll need to cover:

  • Market analysis: needs, trends, growth rates, competitors
  • Positioning: purpose, values, features, benefits, unique selling points, pricing
  • Proposition: buyer personas, value statements, reasons to believe
  • Creative development: logo, look & feel, personality, tone of voice, imagery, brand standards
  • Collateral production: website, brochure, stationary etc.

2: Develop your growth programme

As a rule of thumb, customers need to see your brand three times before they’ll remember you, and seven times to take action. With a modest budget, your plan will need to be agile, efficient and tightly focused on the market segment you’ve identified in your brand architecture, otherwise you’ll go too broad and dilute its effectiveness.

Your growth program should feature activity which is cost-effective, flexible and easy to set-up, run and optimise. You want to be able to test, fail and refine quickly in order to measurably show the results you need, within the time frame you’ve got.

Your plan may include:

  • SEO: optimising your website’s content to appear high in search results
  • Conversion optimisation: improving the conversion rate of visitors to your website
  • PPC: Running Pay-Per-Click advertising on search engines
  • Inbound marketing: writing content your customers will value enough to opt-in for more
  • Social media: running social media campaigns to build and convert your following
  • Sales promotions + affiliate marketing
  • Speaking at events, or running webinars
  • PR: off and online, engaging with journalists and influential bloggers

These activities will need specialist skills, supported by thorough analytics to deliver the results your plan demands. You might also trial:

  • Digital advertising and solus emails with key publications
  • A small presence at select events

Your plan will avoid cost-prohibitive print, ambient and broadcast media and an over-reliance on expensive events and paid media.

 

For more download our whitepaper here and look out for the next instalment in the series, coming soon!