VC and private equity firms need strategic marketing support to help elevate their portfolios.
As a VC firm principal or private equity partner, you know you need the right people on tap to help you find the right investment opportunities and understand their viability.
But once you’ve added a promising startup to your portfolio, you also need help to maximize the potential of that company so that you can generate a high ROI on your investment.
Early-stage startups are in a unique position: By the time that you’ve decided they’re worth betting on, they likely have a strong vision and a solid technical leadership team in place.
But they may still be months or even years away from building out a fully fledged marketing team, and the founders rarely have the time to dedicate to fleshing out an in-depth marketing strategy. So how can you help them build brand awareness and industry momentum in the meantime?
Traditional support from venture capitalists often involves help with mapping out a legal and financial structure, and with sourcing the right engineering talent to bring your portfolio companies’ products to the next level. But many top VC firms have strong marketing operational partnerships at the ready to support their fledgling portfolio companies—when used wisely, these can be your secret weapon.
Digital marketing priorities for high-growth startups are typically different than those of more mature companies. Startups need to focus on quick and cost-effective ways to get their brand out there, while also driving lead generation and user acquisition. Here are some key areas where a solid marketing operational partnership can make all the difference.
While early stage startups may not be ready to hire an experienced marketing team, they can tap into expertise with support from one or more agency partners, including content marketing agencies, SEO agencies, and PR agencies. Agencies typically have experience working across a variety of industries, and can offer out-of-the-box ideas for helping your portfolio companies grow. They can also provide the best-practice processes and structures that will make it simple to execute on their strategies as your portfolio teams ramp up their staffing over time.
Here are some of the marketing projects that VC and private equity companies should prioritize when helping their startup companies reach the next level:
Because these startups aren’t established enough yet to hire a high-level CMO, it’s a great time to rely on a fractional consulting model. As agency principal, I can support startups as a fractional head of marketing or head of content, working with internal stakeholders to assess needs, plan resources, and even support recruiting and hiring as well as providing external support with my agency team. I’ll help the startup team develop a phased growth plan, prioritizing their marketing strategy according to key goals and budget constraints. Partnering with an experienced consultant for the initial phase of growth gives early-stage startups the ability to tap into expertise that can help them grow their businesses, without committing to a long-term hire that they may not be ready for.
Working with an agency like Eucalypt gives early-stage startups and entrepreneurs access to a team of specialized talent, including writers, designers, SEO consultants, editors, and PR strategists. We’re able to curate the right tool of resources, with specialized backgrounds that align with the startup’s needs, to ensure a successful execution plan. Having worked with many startups over our past 17 years in business, we’ve developed our own streamlined processes and workflows that make it easy to get past hurdles, with the agility to shift direction easily based on changing needs. We understand the challenges and constraints that startups face, and we’re committed to helping them navigate through these challenges with our expertise and proven processes.
Content marketing and SEO aren’t only valuable for your startup portfolio, in fact: They’re so useful for generating relevant prospects that your venture capital firm should consider investing in these types of initiatives too.
For example, the VC firm First Round Capital puts out a regular publication, First Round Review, which offers insightful interviews and case studies with founders and executives from tech startups. It serves as an incredibly valuable way for First Round Capital to bring in potential portfolio companies, as well as talented recruits for those companies.
By focusing on thought leadership within your own marketing efforts, you’ll be able to attract the right startups who see value in your messaging, and create new partnerships based on trust.
When it comes to marketing—for both your VC firm and your portfolio companies—starting with an impactful marketing strategy is crucial. If you’re ready to 10x your startups, look for ways to leverage best-in-class agency and consultant partnerships to get there.
Eucalypt offers preferred partner pricing to VC firms who bring us on to support multiple startups. Get in touch to set up a free initial call.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than 16 years.
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