Why we use a retainer + equity model.

Two reasons.  First, we want our clients to know that any recommendation we make about how and where they spend their marketing dollars is based solely on what’s in the long-term interests of their business.  We take no markup on any service or program that we recommend.  Second, we believe that our efforts will make a major contribution to your success.  If that happens, we’d like to share in that success

Reverse the hierarchy.

Technology marketing still, after all these years, can’t get out of its own way. Founders are still so technology-focused (or tech-biased) that they think the technology will sell itself. It won’t. Our job is to get entrepreneurs to turn the telescope around, to look at life through the customer’s eyes and understand what success looks like for them. Then startup teams can work backwards, until they explain how their core technology is the best path to meeting their customers’ needs.

One brain to train.

Most startups today have to develop, educate and manage multiple agencies one at a time—design, web, PR, SEO/SEM, social, demand gen—educating each one about their technology, market and business strategy. With Crowded Ocean, you educate us once and we take it from there as your initial head of marketing, recruiting and training all agencies and vendors, producing all programs, and managing all schedules/budgets and deliverables in support of your sales goals.

We don’t pull any punches. Neither should you.

Here’s a fact:  you know more about your market and technology than we ever will. Here’s another one: we know the world of marketing (its costs, schedules, players and tricks) better than you ever will. Our job is twofold: 1) to get you the best bang for your marketing budget, both in quality of education and cost; 2) to train you in this process so that you can succeed after we’re gone. To do that, we challenge every assumption behind the business—your desired place in the market, core technology, your messaging and the content your sales force needs to succeed. It’s your job to clarify all of the above in terms your market will understand—including pushing back where appropriate.

We want to work ourselves out of a job.

Some consultants overstay their welcome, trying to drag out the engagement. Success for us comes in two forms: 1) we hit all our goals and hire our replacement; or 2) we’re asked to stay on because everything’s going great and the client decides to defer hiring our replacement. Either way, the formula is the same: create compelling positioning, messaging and content; develop a great marketing plan/schedule/budget; hire the right team from our network of small agencies and consultants; see you through the initial sales cycle; help hire our replacement; and ride off into the sunset.

So what? Who cares? (Our mantra)

Good marketing comes down to repeatedly asking and answering these two questions—and in that process refining your outreach and your message. “Who cares?” has to do with targeting your audience—who they are, their primary and secondary business needs, and what they’re looking for in the way of solutions.  “So what?” is all about connecting with that audience, ensuring that your positioning, messaging and offerings are in line with their business strategy and needs.

Brand is great. Sales are better.

Technology isn’t an end in itself—it’s a means to solve customer problems and drive sales. It’s the same with your brand. While we’re big fans of branding, we believe your brand should be measured not by how it makes your customers ‘feel’ but by how it defines and drives your business. Build great products that solve customer problems, produce compelling programs that engage your customers, and treat your customers and employees well:  that’s a brand that everyone can identify with.

Whole-brain creative

Great creative starts with strong positioning and compelling messages. We work with you to develop a platform of left-brain messages that brings the customer to a set of logical conclusions; we then reinforce these conclusions with impressive creative that delivers those messages with emotional impact. The result is a memorable program that builds sales and your business while reinforcing your brand.

What’s it all mean to you? We’re a different kind of agency, one we think you’re going to enjoy doing business with for a long time.