Posted On October 27th, 2014 by Crowded Ocean
Over our six years in operation, we’ve helped launch 31 startups—some home runs, some loud doubles, some singles (luckily, no strikeouts to date). But, like a sports team, we sit down after every game and do a post-mortem, looking for lessons that we can apply to our next client and their launch.
This past week we launched our 31st company, Snowflake Computing. By any of our own standards, it was a very successful launch. So far.
A note about the ‘So far’ above. We practice something called ‘Sales-Based Marketing’—that the job of Marketing comes down to 3 words: Make Sales Easier. So we really won’t know how successful the launch was until we get through the first sales cycle. Still, there are some components and lessons from this launch that are important enough to share, even though the launch is in its early stages.
A great team is critical: Snowflake’s three founders, plus their VP of Products and Marketing, Jon Bock, were self-critical from the start. They knew they had something big and were honest to know that they didn’t know how to articulate it. So we dug in for weeks, then months, crafting the positioning and messaging.
The right PR team: After a long search, we selected Kulesa Faul, who took a seat at the Big Table and participated actively in building a full PR program for Snowflake and determining who on the analyst and influencer side they/we should go after.
A well-Known CEO doesn’t hurt: Things hit another gear when Bob Muglia, ex-MSFT senior exec and a well-known figure within the press and analyst community, joined the team as CEO. He immediately hit the phones with a ‘stay tuned, we’re on to something huge here’ message.
Sales was involved from the start: In designing the website and creating the right content, we didn’t work in a vacuum. We had Sales articulate the desired visitor experience for the website, their concerns/needs, and the content that would move them from tire-kicker to interested prospect.
The Results So Far:
- 42 briefings, 39 pieces of coverage. Kulesa-Faul’s outreach program was phenomenal, but they would also be the first to note that Bob’s joining the team made it easier to book 42 briefings. But that just gets you the meeting: Bob and Jon were unflagging in their enthusiasm and consistency of message across the entire spectrum of meetings. The result was the unheard-of 39 pieces of coverage.
- A strong website, rich in content. Once the PR initiative does its work, it’s time for the website to develop the interest. The website that debuted on October 21 had four white papers, two videos (one of the founders, one of the early clients), a data sheet, and a compelling “Letter from the Founders.”
- Upcoming activities: the site also promotes Snowflake at the upcoming AWS re:Invent tradeshow and an upcoming webinar.
Was the Snowflake launch perfect? Far from it. Way too many last-minute revs and technical emergencies. But, compared to the other 30 launches we’ve managed, it was a dream—thanks in large part to all the players mentioned above.