Scaling success: marketing tactics for complex products

Blog published by KISS, under Business Development, Location / Positioning, Marketing, Start ups, Strategy

As you scale up any business, you know there are huge challenges, especially when your offer is very complex or very new. You have larger, more diverse audiences to connect with. Great marketing can help reach almost all of them, as long as it is done with intelligence and a good core strategy.

In my experience great marketing for a complex product in, for example, life sciences needs three main things:


If we are taking your offer to market, we have to have a fair understanding and great respect for the work you’ve put into advancing the science, so we commit time to doing this. And the scientists we work with respect our role too.

Crystallising your message

We don’t just look at what you do, but also why you do it. By refining what you do and why, and articulating it in simple language, you enhance your communication in paid media, key presentations, media interviews and those impromptu ‘elevator’ pitch scenarios. We look carefully at the decision-makers you want to reach, to learn as much as we can about them. You may feel that they are a very small group indeed. This is often true, so we will explore this in some detail. Even when you have an extremely niche offer, evidence shows that getting a ‘yes’ from that key customer, analyst or investor needs more general awareness-raising and influencing a number of other groups around them who in turn influence their decision, so there are probably more key audiences for your messages than you think.

Hard data

I sometimes call it ‘gold panning’. We use proven techniques we’ve designed for complex products, and we build a set of key messages, benefit statements (in ‘ladders’) and an overall brand persona, all based on the ‘gold’ we sift out carefully: solid empirical evidence, relevant to your audience, that makes you stand out. We practice using these in real scenarios, and obviously they become core to our marketing work with you. Then we plan how, when and where your target groups will see it! We know you are not a consumer brand and that your target group are probably looking for very specific information about your work.

The good news is, we can now be very precise in both placing messages and measuring reaction using geolocation, programmatic messaging and other new technologies: industry advances have rewritten the rules here in the past five to ten years. Obviously the first task in marketing is simply to be noticed by your target, so along the way this may mean a new website, brand or name.

This work is also useful for other vital audiences like your staff, contractors, their families, even regulators and politicians. We find these key messages can reverberate from the boardroom right through the organisation and beyond. They help a much wider group to grasp your core purpose – how you are making a difference. You’ll feel more comfortable as a Board in front of analysts, buyers and the media. Strong clear messages do a lot of good internally, particularly for a fast-growing company and boost morale, recruitment and retention in any organisation.

In our experience, having a very complex offer only sold to a limited market is not a constraint on doing great marketing. In fact, to fully realise your long-term plan or exit strategy you’ll need it. Founders also tell us that the outside perspective we bring is very valuable.

If you’d like to have a brief and informal discussion about how we might help you scale up, call us now.

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