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The Message and the Market

The most successful established businesses earn 36% of their revenue by launching new products and offerings. Compare this to the bottom quadrant of companies earning only 10% of their revenue from new initiatives. It’s clear that success in new launches translates to success in business.

Beyond staying relevant to your customers it’s keeping pace to fend off new entrants. Every single month roughly 775,000 startups are launched in the U.S. market. And it’s on the rise, up 28% from 15 years ago. Half of them will fail before their 5th birthday, but it demonstrates two things: first, the market is crowded, noisey and moving faster and two, launching well isn’t just important — it’s critical.

So what do organizations do? They plan. They build. They refine. A simplification of the process might look something like this:

1) Build Product
2) See if customers buy it
3 Refine until they do

Finding success is about achieving Product/Market Fit and offering a product that satisfies your customers. 

But here’s the thing. It usually doesn’t work. Most studies place the fail rate at 70-95%

There are many reasons why a Go-To Market effort is likely to fall short, but here’s two big reasons:

Fail #1: It’s under-funded and under-resourced.

Fail #2: Leaders are so love-struck with their product they overlook the market, target audience, customer pain points and the message.

Introducing Message/Market Fit

Our focus at Native is to solve for that last one: the message. In many cases, the stronger the product, the weaker the message. Because a good product sells itself right? Actually, no. It’s common for a few of these challenges to still occur:

  1. Audience - Targeting the wrong market or wrong point in the adoption curve.
  2. Position - Customers can’t tell difference between competitors or alternatives
  3. Story - Too product centric. Missing a narrative. Claims may not match reality or pass the believability test or solve an actual need.
  4. Channels - Not reaching customers. Difficulty telling the difference between winners and losers. Chasing too many avenues. 
  5. Resources - Sales, marketing, comms, product, customer service are telling different stories and/or not equipped for upcoming growth.

The objective isn’t perfection. It’s finding fit. That’s why our team follows a methodology we call Message/Market Fit. We’ve found that when it clicks, things do scale.

Here’s a preview of our playbook:

Start with Confidence: Market Intel

Here’s what we hear from our clients:

“We need more customer data to support decisions.”

“We need more competitor data to focus our efforts.”

“We need to size up the market opportunity.”

Launching anything is walking up an invisible staircase. It helps to have the confidence to take each step. It starts with Market Intel. This comes in many forms such as audience studies to learn the motivations, stressors, awareness, perceptions and affinity for the brand as well as competitive analysis to understand the whitespace in the market. 


Validate Brand Fit

Here’s what we hear from our clients:
“We need to introduce or re-introduce who we are.”

“We’re not standing out from the pack.”

“We’re trying to be everything to everyone.”

If your brand is the real estate you take up in your customer’s minds, it’s helpful to know how they’ll interpret your message so it can be sharpened and sharpened to actually penetrate the noise surrounding it. Clarity is key. Branding isn’t a decorative process, it’s a distillation. It’s saying No to good ideas to pursue a singular great idea. Then pointing all efforts to dramatize and pour meaning into that singular focus.

Achieving fit can be measured through brand awareness & affinity studies, branded search data, online sentiment and on-going feedback loops similar to net promoter scores.


Validate Creative Fit

Here’s what we hear from our clients:

“We need to tell a more strategic story”

“We need to tell a more compelling story.”

“We need to tell a more visual story.”

The science of marketing must leave room for the art of story and design. Data points us in the right direction, but emotion and feeling and narrative is what sticks with us and motivates us to action. There is no magic formula, but we find that a tried and true checklist helps us recall past learnings and ensure our current direction is as strong as possible. It reminds us to open strong, help the audience feel like an insider and find a rule or two to bend.

Achieving fit can be measured through engagement and conversion metrics. Set pass/fail criteria based on industry standards and company objectives. Cut the losers. Double-down on the winners. Learn from them all.


Validate Channel Fit

Here’s what we hear from our clients:

“We need more awareness, influence and credibility.”

“We need better conversion and lower acquisition costs.”

The biggest culprit to channel strategy is hand-me-down plans that rely on too few channels or chase far too many. Our analysis looks at a number of factors from funnel stage, demand acquisition vs demand generation, impression count, impression quality and impression influence in terms of dollars and time invested. This analysis creates a “picture” of the full marketing plan and often exposes areas of under-and-over investment allowing for quick improvements.

Achieving fit can be measured through something very simple. A model that hypothesizes dollars in and dollars out. We set our pass/fail criteria then implement and optimize against this until the model proves accurately profitable returns and is ready to scale.


Activate the In-House Team

As we find fit and prove optimal ROI through execution, we do something different in our industry. We activate your in-house marketing team.

Through a series of trainings and hand-offs, we taper off from a supplemental partner to working our way out of a job by delivering messaging playbooks, brand workshops, annual planning workshops, creative templates, campaign handoffs and workflow consultation.

We’re not trying to medicate the problem.

We’re here to cure it.


The Reward

Through this process the product is more dialed in. 

The message matches the market.

The in-house team grows more capable.

And we’ve all climbed a hill worth climbing.


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