Why Marketing Must Be At The Heart Of Any Scale-Up Strategy

Harry Lang, CMO at Stint talks to us about his top tips for building a start-up brand. 


As tech businesses evolve from start-up to scale up, building a cohesive brand that is trusted and valued by your key audiences, be they potential customers or partners, is absolutely vital.

In my previous life in the online gaming space, I had a constant battle persuading C-Suites, clients and investors that you needed to define and invest in a brand that could speak fluently with your audience, if you ever wanted your direct response media and customer acquisition performance to go from linear to stratospheric.

It was through this experience that I’ve learned that there are three critical stages of developing and evolving a brand.




First, there’s understanding. You need to know who your audiences are, where they live, what they like. What they hate… effectively modelling the group that you’re trying to embed your brand within. People make friends with people they like, they trust and that they can relate to. Try and position your brand in such a way that befits your audience.




The second is awareness. Once you understand who you’re speaking with, you’ve got to get their attention. Finding the right channel mix, season and geographies is relatively easy. Choosing channels takes more time. Then executing a channel mix with creative campaign content that resonates, user journeys that offer little to no friction, and a product at the end of the rainbow that delights them is more tricky.





Third, engagement. To ensure  your customers remain engaged and happy, you need to invest in product quality, innovation and customer communication that meets their needs at the right time, via the right media in the right tone. Send a teenager a generic email to a rarely used email address and you may never get a response.

Everyone knows it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to find a new one, but oddly CRM and loyalty rarely see anywhere near the same budget or commitment as acquisition.

With all this considered, it would be easy to arrive at the conclusion that to build a brand from scratch you need to spend a sh*t load of money. But this is one common misconception that many fast-growth businesses make.

Many marketers and C-suite types believe that rapid brand-building requires above-the-line spend – ‘TV or bust’. But in reality, most successful tech start-ups and growth businesses didn’t have the budget to spend big on marketing campaigns.

If you’re not sitting on Billions in spare change, I’d recommend this simple approach:

Ask yourself ‘how does my product make a difference and why does this difference matter to our potential customers?’

This will help you to focus on product quality and start developing your core customer insight so you can deliver a targeted cross-channel brand campaign that demonstrates a creative, yet simple message at its heart.

A carefully considered, audience-centric and media-savvy brand strategy with foundations in great content can build brand awareness and credibility among audiences who could, with the right nurturing, convert into customers.