The startup scene is on the path for exponential growth in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and it is no secret that this region is primed for success, especially in tech. On May 17, WeWork brought together local area entrepreneurs, techies and businesspeople for a Lunch and Learn led by Leah Nurik, founder and CEO of our very own Gabriel Marketing Group (GMG).
Leah spoke on how D.C.-area startups can accelerate business growth with marketing and public relations. The event began with an overview of GMG’s integrated marketing and PR services. Leah, who has more than 20 years of experience, gave a brief background on what makes GMG unique in the tech PR and marketing space, particularly our depth of experience and unified approach that ensures that organizations’ goals and messaging are aligned across all channels.
Once the audience was more familiar with GMG, Leah discussed the current state of startups globally, and how D.C. might not be in the top 10, but it is quickly moving up. She explained that D.C. isn’t always looked at as a startup hub, but because of everything it has to offer, more and more companies are starting to grow out of the area.
She then moved on to how marketing can be beneficial for startups, explaining the different marketing pillars she lives by: focus, brand, message, differentiation and process.
- Focus: There must be a clear focus for your product, as well as a focus on buyer personas – your target audience. Once you are able to focus on your product/business and its targets, you can begin building a brand.
- Brand: The brand must be consistent with your focus, as the brand will be what your audience associates with your business/product.
- Message: The message is key. Across all aspects of your business – product, client retention, etc. – the message must be consistent with your business’ focus and brand. Differentiation: When asked, “Who are you competitors?” most businesses believe they don’t have any. But disruptive products can only be disruptive to an extent. There is likely already someone in the space who has thought of the same idea, which is why it’s important to know the competitive landscape to differentiate your brand from others in the space.
- Process: On the marketing side, businesses must have set processes in place. From first creating knowledge to client retention, businesses should practice a set process for bringing new customers in and fostering existing ones.
A key subject that Leah discussed is the importance of integrating all aspects of marketing for a business’ success. In order to support growth, everything from branding to your product’s technology and user discovery must be integrated into the overall communications strategy. Many startups forget to look at their strategy as a whole and leave out certain steps, such as demand gen, which could slow the entire business journey.
The conversation then switched into public relations and the different elements of strategic PR. These include: communications infrastructure development, influencer relations, media relations, thought leadership, strategic counsel and research, community consensus and social media. To help explain how all these elements work together, Leah examined three different case studies and how each company achieved success through an integrated marketing and PR approach.
The one-hour lunch and learn ended with a short period for questions and answers and networking. A favorite audience question was, “What would be the preferred online marketing tool for a B2B, mid-market tech product?” Leah gave a simple, straight forward answer – LinkedIn. She recommended focusing on using the social platform (LinkedIn Pulse) to build thought leadership through content, ads to attract more customers and drive conversions, and also interacting within LinkedIn groups to build brand awareness.
Attendees walked away from this interactive discussion with a deeper understanding of the PR and marketing realm, as well as its benefits for both up-and-coming and established businesses.