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Messaging for Technology Startups — Building Your Messaging Strategy

Whether you are a high-potential tech start-up in Silicon Valley or a disrupter scrambling to set yourself out from the crowd in less tech-centric locations, messaging for your business can make the difference between success and failure.

The stakes are high. Each quarter, just 2,400 start-ups receive venture capital funding globally, roughly half in North America and half in the rest of the world, says the quarterly PwC Money Tree Report. That’s less than 10,000 funded new companies per year — worldwide. Competition for this funding is intense. Differentiation is a key component to attracting hard-to-find funding. If you intend to disrupt an industry, you must be able to grab attention in under 30 seconds, and explain how you do it in less than two minutes. This is what’s known as the elevator pitch.


Why do I focus on technology and disruption? Because these days, all businesses are technology businesses. Companies that aren’t using technology as a basis to compete are likely to fail. Over the last few years, I have helped tech companies in Silicon Valley with their messaging and marketing. These companies ranged from Seed to Series B maturity levels. In 2019, I have found the challenges facing start-ups around the world are similar, if not identical, to those in the United States. By following this guide, you can build a marketing machine designed to generate more leads, more proposals, more revenue, and a predictable deal flow. The last aspect is critical — if a company can predict their deal flow, they can plug in any new product or service into the system with forecastable, repeatable results.

This step-by-step process can get you from a standing start to a structured lead generation program in just two to three months. In the third month, deal flow will begin. By Month 15, once you have gone through a few sales cycles and you are able to measure the outcomes, deal flow becomes predictable and repeatable. And that, my friends, is the key to building a successful, scalable business.

Messaging Framework Dial

Why messaging is critical


Messaging is quite simply the face of your brand. Messaging — finding the right concept and meaning that you can authentically express to your market — becomes the core of your go to-market strategy. Taking time upfront to craft a compelling set of messages pays big dividends.

Doing this will get you noticed faster, speed up your sales cycle, and provide the hook your prospects need to trust in you and to buy from you. The right messaging drives written and visual communication (copy and design) and creates an emotional connection with your audience. Messaging communicates the big picture problem you solve, the pain you address, your competitive advantage, and your value proposition.


When a comprehensive messaging platform is handed over to your writers, designers, and lead generators, they are able to generate great copy, marketing programs, and designs aligned to your strategy, your brand, and your culture. With great messaging, you can succinctly communicate your value proposition, with only adjustments and not entire strategic pivots required, as you go to market and measure results.


The power and influence of your marketing grows exponentially when your entire team speaks the same language with a common voice. Your website, collateral, advertising, event graphics, and presentations do likewise.


Follow my system, and your customers, prospects, employees and competitors will quickly understand what you are all about. Great messaging is a formidable, competitive weapon.


6 Point Messaging

Building Messaging Platforms

• How can I create an emotional connection with my customers?

• How can I stand out from the crowd?

• How can I explain my business in a compelling way in less than two-minutes?

It’s worth repeating. Messaging is the public face of your brand and your company. Indeed, if you have a great product, the success or failure of lead generation and conversion can come down to one thing — messaging.


My process begins with Simon Sinek in mind — Start with Why. Why do you do what you do? Why does your company you exist? What is your purpose?


In our workshops, we address 10 key components to unpack the messaging platform. These include the big picture problem you are solving, the pain you address for your target market, and your real competitive advantages.


People will buy from you based on two fundamental truths. First, they have to trust you. According to behavioral scientists, this requires three personal interactions. The second reason people buy is the emotional connection. However, the willingness to pay for your products is directly linked to the size of the problem you solve, or the amount of pain you are addressing. The bigger the problem you solve or the pain you address, the more money you can make, plain and simple.


So — while the ‘Why’ will attract attention and drive customers to you, it’s the ‘What’ they want to see when they enter the buying cycle. A typical example is the digital or traditional advertisement that customers respond to by clicking through to your landing page.


The outcomes of this messaging exercise make that possible by including messaging on website sliders, product and company tag lines, and your elevator pitch.


Greg Serandos is a strategy consultant for Sausalito Technology Advisors

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