It was a mild October day in Dublin when Jo went wandering through the exhibition hall. She was in a hurry - had to catch a train at 5pm. Her daughter would kill her if she got back late for Halloween.
There were hundreds of companies with stands - mainly startups. Jo hadn’t time to stop & talk to more than a tiny few. But Jo had a secret commission. She was a scout & got paid by results.
Her job was to find a couple of startups worth investing in.
Like many investors, her boss wanted to remain anonymous until after Jo had put together a shortlist. “How on earth am I to compile a list of startups worth following-up? I have so little time” - she was in a bit of a fix.
“All these technologies… it’ll take me ages to find out whether even a couple of them have invented something worth backing…”
Jo remembered what her mentor had once said: “Back the people - not the tech - it’s people who make tech work - remember they have to be really good to get their invention to stand out in a competitive market.”
Suddenly Jo was clear.
She walked down the line of startups. She could see each startup’s Name & Logo. She could see they all had a blurb underneath describing what they did - a paragraph - the kind you might put into a company LinkedIn profile. But she hadn’t time to read & delve into that spiel.
Jo wanted to know what was different about each startup…
She wanted to deal with people who knew what their business would deliver. In her mind it was all about making the world better for customers - creating value people would love.
She knew loads of tech companies with brilliant tech
but poor at communicating clearly what they did for customers. Jo wanted people obsessed with superb marketing - people who were not wrapped up in their own product but who valued customers above anything.
After all - unless a startup thought about this from the start - they would only design something people loved by accident.
Jo didn’t invest time & money in people like that.
Her boss wanted quality assured. As she walked through the crowd of exhibitors & people chatting, she clocked the companies that stood out because they had a clear strapline - a particularly clear & attractive pithy phrase that give her the essence of the brand - straightaway.
She had no interest in the name
That could be improved later. But she had no intention of getting into bed with people who hadn’t a clear grasp of their difference & value in comparison with other competing companies.
Jo walked past 90% of the exhibitors.
Some of them might be brilliant but she had no time for them. Good luck to them.
She spotted one she liked, named “Real Impact - putting awesomeness into your presentations”. Jo breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
Her boss didn’t do small investments.
Jo had to find someone worth a punt of at least 250K. Impact had no ideas who Jo was. She had no intention of revealing her hand at this stage. Jo walked over to the guy from Real Impact. He looked awesome. She knew she hadn’t wasted her time…
And the moral of this story is…
for you to decide. It’s up to you to take a serious look at how you position your business - so it stands out.
Listen to the "Never Knowingly Undersold" story here. Be warned: it’s in a different style & names names.
[This blogpost was first published in our More Meaningful Marketing Newsletter last Friday. Sign up for your copy below.]