Ask Uncle Mat: How do I start attracting clients?
Meet Uncle Mat Braddy, the former CMO of startup-to-IPO brand Just Eat. Mat is now an entrepreneur building a new app, Rock Pamper Scissors, and is also a mentor to many London startups sharing his tips & experience.
Mat Braddy is now building his entrepreneurial app Rock Pamper Scissors
This week’s problem was a common one in the inbox this month - how to get the ball rolling with your new venture and attract your first clients.
“We work with in a very niche industry which many companies have never heard about using trucks as an advertising medium, how do we raise the profile of the medium without spending a fortune?” Ed Hollands - DrivenMedia
Mat says: Ed you start you thinking with spending and I’d say that’s a common assumption for a new idea however I’d suggest you start with thinking of your natural resources - which you have in abundance as a media owner.
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Who is your ‘Minimum Viable Segment’?
Start with some thinking around your likely clients. You have two big obvious groups; advertising planners & marketing leaders. But these are too large for now - you need to take a decision on who you think is your ‘minimum viable segment’. This is a core set of customers who you think are going to be most receptive to your channel and the early adopters.
Let’s pretend we are going to go for agency planners in promotional agencies instead of the more high end brand agencies.
Start a document and answer these questions: What’s their career background? How old are they? How do we identify them?
What do they need?
Next we need to consider what their goals in their role are? Providing clients with exciting new ideas which will be paid attention to is always a key driver. List the primary and secondary goals you believe these folks have.
Now think about the two main challenges these folks have in achieving these aims, then finally how DrivenMedia addresses these challenges.
What to say?
So consider now what are likely to be their common objections to your proposition. You are offering advertising on the side of vans so I can imagine worries around the cleanliness of the signage, the quality of the vans in your network etc. No brands want to be seen on the side of a clapped out Transit belching out grey smoke.
With all the above in mind it’s finally time to work out your position and message.
Figuring all this out
You can have a first pass at a lot of this on your own but there is no real substitute for chatting to the potential audience. Research specific conferences you think this group will be at? Go along as a delegate initially and work the floor at tea break. Ask about their challenges and priorities, listen carefully - do not be in sales pitch mode. Also talk to the organisers and get on their radar as an interesting new concept in the space - this can lead to invitations to speak at future events without the cost of sponsorship.
Getting the message out there
“Earn it don’t burn it” is a useful mantra for you at this stage. You have vans. Use them. Again with the persona in mind what stunts can you pull off to grab attention and communicate your messages? At Just Eat in Denmark we had a beautiful fleet of cars for delivering food in Copenhagen. In quiet hours for delivery but busy commuting times the team there would frequently get all the cars and park them along a road in a convoy outside key rail points. When you are confident in your segment and the message what can you do outside the conferences? Do these agencies tend to congregate in one part of London? If so can you have some fun there?
Web site - You told me that you are currently renaming your business & I assume as part of that you will be reviewing your current website. Again look at your persona work, consider the problems and challenges. For Rock Pamper Scissors we followed this process and discovered that clients are not worried about finding salons - there are plenty of them on most high streets. We discovered clients were far more concerned with which individual stylists could do a good job of the hairstyle they were after. This insight has changed our approach to what problem our app and sites need to solve.
We are all hypocritical creatures to a degree. We say we want to be first with innovative ideas but we still need to see other brands have given it a go first. Your site currently is not reassuring me - the photos you feature are all blank vans and I can’t see any proof of concept. You might need to kick things off here by approaching a few clients and proposing a joint case study with one of their clients for free or at cost. Everyone loves a freebie. Again, the contacts you make at the conferences could be great for this.
Most marketing is pretty bland. In one ear and out the other. But do a quick search for PaddyPower’s van PR stunts and you’ll have a good giggle & might get inspired to try a few of you own. Donald Trump is on his way in a few weeks. Just saying.
I hope that was useful and if you would like to learn a bit more about some of these ideas then I highly recommend a visit to this blog, Minimum Viable Segments by Michael J Skok, and to get really good at listening to potential clients then grab a copy of The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick.