When it comes to launching a brand and building a company, it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of making a big impact in the marketplace. However, it's important to understand that you're not alone in this goal. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 300 out of every 100,000 adults launch new businesses each month, and many won’t have the funds to take their dream to the next level. That is, of course, without the help of investors.
That’s why it’s vital to figure out what most investors look for in a budding venture. As a backer myself, I focus on a number of qualities — chief among them is a brand's growth potential. And it's worth noting that the one thing almost all high-growth companies have mastered is customer engagement, which includes everything from marketing to sales to customer service.
The path is clear: The better you engage with your desired audience, the more attractive your brand and company become for the professional investor community.
Customer Centricity Equals Growth
Engagement doesn’t develop in a vacuum. Oftentimes, it focuses on the three T's: talent, training and technology. You need talent and strategy to connect with a customer base, as well as comprehensive training to fine-tune all processes. In fact, high-growth companies are twice as likely to have leadership in place across all areas involved in engagement, including marketing, sales and customer service. Then, you need adaptable technology to connect with consumers regarding their questions, concerns and wants.
For example, Amazon.com has a true mastery of customer centricity. Besides requiring management team members to spend two days at the customer service desk every two years, each decision and new innovation that comes out of the e-commerce company has the customer in mind. No wonder Forbes named Amazon the most engaged company of the year.
Overall, when you keep an eye on the customer base, you ensure fewer setbacks and limit ego-fueled attitudes within your team. You also guarantee that everyone is on the same page from day one. Then, when you build a strong team that trusts in the process, you’ve got a company that’s working diligently to reach your goals and objectives as well as catching the eye of smart investors.
3 Ways to Better Position Your Brand to Investors
Use the following guidelines to ensure your brand embodies the top qualities investors are looking for:
- Cater to your customer base. An increasing number of brands are investing in the customer experience — and for good reason. Consumers who value a more personalized experience will shop three times more frequently, and they're 10 times more likely to be valuable customers. Consider this: When promoting its new photo app, Google partnered with Zappos and leveraged an experiential marketing strategy that took a mobile cupcake truck to Austin, Texas. Sure, customers walked away with delicious baked goods, but they also gave something back to Google: images they snapped using the app, which boosted consumer engagement. Cupcakes might not strike your target consumers’ fancy, so take a deep dive into their interests and brainstorm with your team about how you can craft a campaign that provides a fun "give and take" to get your product out to the market. Trust me, investors will notice your efforts.
- Leverage available data. Consumer data can tell you a lot about the marketplace. That’s why 70 percent of business executives consider it a critical piece of their sales and marketing efforts. After all, if you don’t know your customers, it becomes nearly impossible to engage with them in any meaningful way. Take Netflix, for example. The media service provider has learned that customers are at a greater risk of churn when usage dips below a certain threshold. To combat this, Netflix uses customer data and analytics to monitor changes in content consumption and to develop algorithms to offer more personalized recommendations to subscribers. You can follow suit by tapping into your own data, looking for patterns in where consumers drop off in your marketing funnel. Investors take data seriously when making decisions, and you can impress potential buyers by already keeping a pulse on all of your customers’ habits and activity.
- Invest in technology. You always want to give consumers an experience they’ll enjoy. However, there’s often too much data to capture and interpret effectively. That’s where technology's benefits and tools can clear up the confusion. In fact, 90 percent of IT decision makers say technology has done wonders for improving customer experience.
One such product that’s making waves is Medallia, a customer experience management platform that helps brands capture and analyze customer feedback across multiple channels. The collected data can then be converted into actionable insights on how to provide consumers with the experience they desire from your brand. Look into your current tech tool kit and identify the holes in your customer feedback approach. Investors are always looking for red flags, such as customer disconnect. However, if you have the best tools and a strong plan in place to address these needs, investors will be more confident in writing you a check.
When you take the time to understand consumers and then introduce them to all of the things you know they’ll enjoy, you'll increase your chances of becoming a high-growth company — one that’s attractive to potential investors. Consider how you can use the above steps to put your best foot forward. If done right, you can impress potential investors with the fact that you're already on top of what your brand needs and what your customers want.
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Dustin White is the CEO and founder of Made Brand Management and a partner in The Mulholland Group. After spending 20 years building and investing in marketing and advertising businesses, Dustin saw the need for an investment and management company to assist brands in transitioning their strategy to direct-to-consumer.