Foundational Marketing

A practical guide to building awareness and creating demand as a new company

By Trusted CMO

No matter how groundbreaking your product is or how well it solves a customer's problem, it won’t matter unless your potential buyers know you exist. 

But often, marketing teams dilute their impact by chasing new tactics and channels that don’t make sense for their goals and don’t fit their target customer. Or they just get started with marketing too late. 

So, how can your company build awareness and drive demand for your product with limited resources.

This article builds upon our previous post on positioning, messaging, and branding. We cover the fundamentals of building a sound marketing motion that meets your target customers where they are and drives demand for your product. 

Testing your positioning and messaging 

Once you've worked through your positioning, messaging, and brand, you must test them with prospects and stakeholders to understand what resonates and doesn’t. 

Note their objections, discuss them and decide where to change your story or adjust parts of your messaging and proof points. For example, let’s say you are selling an analytics dashboard that unifies sales and marketing data to help CEOs track the effectiveness of those efforts in one place. 

Your prospects might push back like this:

  • We’ve invested in Salesforce and/or HubSpot and already have dashboards and reporting we can use. 
  • We’re generating lots of paid marketing leads, so sales should be able to convert those immediately into MQLs—no tracking needed.
  • Since our launch, we have had 200 pieces of media coverage, so we know we’re doing something right. 
  • Sales are getting five meetings a week without any marketing. 
  • We don’t have the time, money, and resources to invest in another dashboard. 

You could counter every one of these statements with a provocative question like this:

  • By looking at your existing dashboards, can you see which leads marketing generated have resulted in closed/won deals? What was the best paid campaign you ran? How fast did sales close that deal? 
  • How many paid leads are interested in buying your product? How many have you closed? And what was the cost per lead? 
  • How many net-new leads have followed up with you due to your PR launch? 
  • Are five weekly meetings enough for you to reach your revenue goal? How many opportunities were created as a result of those meetings? 
  • How much time and money have you spent already, and do any of your current dashboards indicate where you are getting the most bang for your buck? 

The results of this querying exercise are the foundation for improving your messaging and positioning because they help you understand how your product delivers differentiated value from your competitive alternatives. 

For example, you might create a campaign with adjusted messaging to emphasize how CEOs struggle to navigate go-to-market strategies because they’re drowning in data without clear insights into which efforts are working and cost-effective.

Remember, anything you do to build awareness must also create demand. As a small company with limited resources and budget, you can’t do one or the other. 

Building awareness

Start with your key messages and pick apart each objection with examples that support your positioning. Using the above example, “CEOs are drowning in too much data to identify what’s working” might be one key message. 

Translate those statements into tangible assets and themes on your website, in social posts, presentations, etc, that you can distribute across digital channels. The assets you create must educate your customer about how your product helps them achieve their desired outcomes. 

And they have to reflect your brand, too. Is your message consistent with what you are promising, visually consistent, and different from your competitors? 

Creating demand

Many founders think of demand generation as lead generation and believe acquiring net-new leads is the critical thing marketing should focus on. Yes, bringing in new prospective buyers is important, but they’ll never buy if they aren’t interested in what you’re selling.

When you bring in net-new leads (from paid advertising, events, webinars, asset downloads, etc.), you must nurture them until they are ready to try your product or talk to sales.  Educate them so they believe your solution will help them and are prepared to try it. This juncture is where awareness and demand meet buyer belief:

“Disseminate assets that proactively counter the objections you encounter in the buying process, removing friction wherever possible and making your product easy to buy.” 

Activating your demand channels 

Consider how you’ve bought something in the past. Some want to buy the “best” – a BMW or the newest iPhone. Others like to shop for something that meets an exact (or niche) need. In contrast, others depend on friends and colleagues to advise them. 

Maybe a regular newsletter you read wrote about a product and thought it might help you solve a problem you hadn’t articulated. Whether it’s reading a newsletter, watching a YouTube channel, or attending a conference, as a buyer, you are researching. 

As a seller, you must also research to identify where your buyer hangs out. 

  • What platforms are they most active on? 
  • What creators and social accounts do they follow? 
  • What newsletters do they read? 
  • What podcasts do they listen to? 

Once you understand where to reach your prospects and what you should create to educate them, you can activate your demand channels.  

Create a consistent cadence, test, and measure

Cadence in marketing is the frequency and rhythm in which you populate your marketing channels. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to send a regular newsletter. Cadence means you will send that newsletter monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly. You can’t send it one month and skip the next month because you don’t feel like it or you think not enough people are reading it. 

One of the biggest reasons marketing campaigns fail is that companies give up too soon if they don’t see the immediate results they expect. They skip experimentation and creativity in favor of something that delivers an immediate result, even if those results don’t build your pipeline. Once you’ve figured out the best content, channels, and cadence for your audience, activate and commit to them.

After establishing a consistent cadence, measuring, testing, and learning from your marketing motion is essential.  Are your campaigns working? Is there something you can fix? 

Often, execution is the problem. You're inexperienced, don't have enough people to help you, haven’t thought through the process, and might not even know what great campaigns look like. This initial struggle is part of growing a marketing motion inside your company, an implicitly iterative process. The important thing is to self-assess every month (or at least every quarter). 

How are we showing up? How can we meet our customers where they are and stand out? Do we make it simple for customers to buy? Regularly return to these foundational questions to diagnose where you are, determine whether you’re getting where you need to go, and what success looks like.

Need help building marketing. Talk to us.

See what we can do together

See what we can do together

Lets Talk

Blog Articles