What Should Your Start-Up's Growth Marketing Strategy Look Like?

Published on: | Updated on: | Trisha Miles


We all know there’s not an all-encompassing playbook with everything you need for your Go-To-Market strategy. Every company has different business models, goals, objectives, target audiences, etc., that require a tailored GTM strategy. It must be carefully crafted to ensure the business can hit its KPIs and drive revenue. 

Building your start-up growth marketing strategy can be a daunting task, but thankfully there are replicable foundations you can use to build the baseline for your GTM strategy. 

How to Develop a Growth Marketing Strategy for Your Start-Up

Tune into this episode of Growth Marketing Chat to hear Laura Kendall, VP of Marketing at MadKudu, cover: 

  • Prioritizing the positioning work early on before launching demand gen initiatives 
  • The questions to ask yourself and your team when determining which marketing activities to launch 
  • Balancing short-term and long-term approaches that will all positively impact the bottom line 


Video Transcript:

CAROLINE: Hi, today I'm here with Laura Kendall. Laura is a B2B marketer. She's been in B2B for her entire career, and she has been the first marketing leader at three companies. So congratulations on this. That's quite an experience. Thank you. 

LAURA: Thanks for having me, Caroline.  

CAROLINE: Yeah. Sorry. I almost forgot that Laura is also the VP of Marketing at MadKudu now. So thank you so much for being with us today.  

LAURA: Very happy to be here.  

CAROLINE: So today we're going to talk about go to market strategies because as a marketing leader for early stage companies, you've had the opportunity to develop quite a bit of go to market strategies from scratch. And so my question for you is how much of the strategies do you think are replicable kind of from one company to the next? And beyond that, what would be your advice to marketers to think through the go to market strategy and what activities they need to prioritize first? 

LAURA: Yeah. So, I mean, I know everyone kind of wants a quick answer to what's the magic playbook. Unfortunately, there is no magic secret sauce or recipe that you can take from one company to another. Not every series of that company needs the same thing. What's unique about joining very early stage companies is you're often starting without a lot of historical data or any firm learning on the marketing side that you can really lean on to inform your next move. 

So it's really learning as you go, and you're often executing and building your plan in parallel. But as far as being able to repeat, there are some things right. Every sales and marketing organization needs a funnel or stages or buyer journey. Whatever analogy you want to use, they need that operational foundation in order to successfully track KPIs, conversion rates, identify what's working and what's not and ultimately building the baseline. So you have those metrics to then inform a few quarters down the line what you want to do within your go to market strategy. 

Another thing that I would suggest and I've seen and have repeated at the companies I've been at is prioritizing early on the positioning work. So that is really thinking about how you're articulating what your product does. But more importantly, what problem you're solving. So it's not about making sure you have all of the features of your product highlighted on your website, but then said that you're attracting the right audience and then solving through your messaging exactly what problem they're feeling most. And the tricky part about positioning is really that you're not going to get it perfect the first time, and you're probably not going to get it perfect the second time. 

Messaging for any company is probably a consistent project or initiative, and it should always evolve over time. So that's one area where getting started in early, I think, is going to be beneficial as far as different. How you should think about a go to market strategy and building it from scratch. I think that there are several questions that you can ask yourself, and I'd be happy to share some of the ones that I think about in my career.  

CAROLINE: Yeah, I think that'd be great. But before we go into this, I want to go back to the positioning and how important it is to really get it right. And there are plenty of resources on that, that talk about this in more depth. But, you know, launching into demand gen before the positioning is right before you're somewhat comfortable or confident that yes, it resonate right. Then you can end up wasting a lot of money on your demand gen intiatives if your positioning is not right. 

LAURA: Right.Yeah. There are very much... They're hand in hand. And really the positioning from a company perspective, is quite important. It starts with the founding team. It trickles down to the leadership team. It expands, it permeates in all departments. How you think about hiring your next great or the top talent? How are you positioning for that? How are you ensuring that customers know what your future vision for the product and your company is? And it's not just about the what it is that you do. It's about who you are for and what problem you're solving. 

CAROLINE: Yeah. I love this. Okay. So to go back to the questions you ask yourself to prioritize marketing activities, I'd love to hear your thoughts. And what are your questions that you're asking yourself? 

LAURA: Yeah. I think there are a few. One, I would say around the persona we are going after. What are they like? What do they dislike? What do they care about back to what problems are they trying to solve? If we're not connecting to their pain points, we might be seen as a nice to have or or an irrelevant solution. So, for example, if they you have a more technical buyer, you're going to want your content to be catered towards them less fluff, more data-driven, more pragmatic than a non technical buyer. So that's one example. 

Another area question that I would ask around is whether or not the problem once you've identified it, whether or not that problem is something that your customers identify with or no, they have. And I are strongly feeling that pain point. Or if the majority of your total addressable market perhaps is unaware that they actually have that problem. So that kind of can show itself through things like your content strategy. So top of the funnel content for educating the market and thinking about how you put the bug in their ear that they do have. This problem is going to be pretty top of mind for you as a marketer. 

Other things to think about are what is the sales process look like? What's the deal size enterprise marketers are going to want to think about how analysts play into their marketing strategy and field marketing more so than marketers that are selling to small to midsize organizations or have a very transactional sale. And then the last thing that I would think about is what is the top level company goal? Or are there any large initiatives for the quarter for the year that the company is really driving towards Because with minimal marketing resources, when you join an early stage company, you want to make sure that what you're doing actually aligned with that, because you go out and start building something that the company might need two years or three years down the road. It's great to be that forward-looking, but you might you might be wasting some precious resources and time, for example, if I'm spending my time building a community hub on our website in a place for all of our customers to engage with each other. And I do this before I've built out an audience and how to run some tests on what forum they're looking for and whether or not this is something that solves a need that they aren't being able to solve through other communities. I might be wasting, like I say, precious time and resources too early. 

CAROLINE: Right. Yeah. That's a really good point. That's a really good point, because sometimes we can have brilliant ideas as marketer. It would be, like, really fun and that eventually people might really enjoy. But is that the best thing to do right now? Probably not thinking about impact in the next what is going to have, but what is going to have the maximum impact in the minimum amount of time is the question that always go after.  

LAURA: But in the same breath, you have to balance what is the short term approach versus the long term? Like, there's certainly a balance in terms of your marketing strategy that you have to think about. We've got to deliver, you know, leads to sales. We need to drive pipeline growth. We need to impact the bottom line, which is revenue for the company. But there are long-term play that if you didn't start thinking about early on, you'd be doing a disservice to the organization by only focusing on the short term.  

CAROLINE: Right. Right. Right. I think you talk about positioning and vision and then making sure that people understand where your company is going as part of your messaging. And this is usually not driving a lot of necessarily like revenue, like, right away. 

LAURA: Right.   

CAROLINE: But it does help with positioning you in the market. It does help with fundraising. It helps with evaluation. And like being part of that narrative is really important and not something that we can just do or look as marketers, you know.   

LAURA: That's a perfect example of something that I would bucket in that long-term strategy.  

CAROLINE: Right. That was fantastic, Laura. It's definitely past my usual ten minutes, but I really enjoyed it. So thank you so much for coming here today and sharing all your insights with us. 

LAURA: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.