Startup to scaleup: how should your marketing change?

Congratulations! You are officially moving from the status of startup to scaleup. It’s a big move that brings lots of opportunities, and you have managed it because you have been successful. What that success looks like will be different for different companies. For some, it’s because of sales: either a few big global sales, or in other cases, huge numbers of small scale sales. For others, it will be because you’ve landed investment. In some parts of the world, grants allow a startup to accelerate their growth and really anchor themselves in the market.

However you have managed it, you will now be leaving the slightly bootstrapped feel of a startup in which everyone had to pitch in and do what they could to see the business flourish, and specialisms can start to emerge. In this period of growth, you will also see that things start to change. 

Most of those changes are positive. You may change offices because you need to create more manufacturing space. You may hire new staff because you need to expand the delivery to your customers, invest a little more into Research and Development, or find that new skills are needed that you cannot continue to grow without.

Each of these changes will bring new processes and procedures (lucky you!), because these changes will need structure built into them to ensure that your company reflects the new stage of development that you are in. 

It’s an exciting time to be leading your business, but in all of the busy change, make sure that you don’t just prioritise expanding your sales team and product team. There’s a big gap in that sales process, and that is marketing. 

The marketing strategy that you implement now, in this stage of growth from startup to scale-up, will be absolutely critical. It’s not possible to simply continue on exactly as you have before, and you will need to change your marketing strategy. 

That is because your positioning in your marketplace will now need to be different. you are no longer purely a challenger brand that is attempting to disrupt the leaders at the top of the field. You are now middle of the pack, a rising star, and that means your messaging will need to shift to reflect that. 

You will also need to signal to your audiences that your business is taking this change. Not only do your investors need to know that you are continuing to be successful, after all the ways they have supported you, but you will also want to reassure your customers that you are growing and may be able to offer them a variety of additional products or services in the future. 

Don’t forget that other big audience you want to communicate with: your competitors! you need them to know that your business is a force to be reckoned with. By clearly communicating your shift from startup to scale up, you’ll show them that you are a force to be reckoned with. 

But you’ve got more than enough to do without adding a new marketing strategy to your list. So how can you do this in an easy way?

  1. Review your ‘about us’ online and in brochures: take out any mention of ‘startup’ or ‘just beginning’, and you’ll quickly shift that perception.

  2. Update your social bios: this is the bit many people miss! Ensure you cover all your social platforms and keep consistency.

  3. Refresh all collateral and investment decks: this may take time, but it is well worth doing. By ensuring all your collateral is up to date, you can go into sales meetings with confidence.

  4. Send an announcement newsletter: especially if your growth is because of investment, an award win, or winning a big client, tell the world!

  5. Encourage team to change mindset: this will take time, but encouraging your team to shift their mindset will go a long way to changing how they communicate about you as a brand.

Congratulations again. This is the beginning of something really exciting: and while it will take a huge amount of work, there are big rewards to be reaped when you update your marketing strategy.