An internally incubated startup ultimately spun out of the parent company, IPfolio was conceived by Founder and CEO Rupert Mayer as a powerful yet lightweight IP portfolio management system. I originally joined as a FT Director of Marketing to assist during the initial incubation period, which comprised all of the Go-to-Market activities you’d expect at this stage in a B2B SaaS startup’s lifecycle: strategy and positioning, messaging iteration, development of a digital presence (branding, website design and development, initial content marketing), sales enablement (creating sales and marketing assets and resources), and event planning and management.
After a year full-time at IPfolio, funding storms interrupted the journey. After their resolution, I returned two years later as marketing contractor. Sales had grown despite some important marketing holes that I quickly filled. The next three years saw a build-out of sales and marketing personnel and resources. During this “second time around”, I brought in my preferred design resource for product marketing, a website update and other digital marketing and marketing communications requirements.
Content Marketing Heavy on Creativity
Content marketing was a big focus and something we had a lot of fun executing. A particularly successful endeavor was four analyzes of IP’s relationship with culture and society:
- IP of Santa’s Sleigh
- IP of Super Bowl 50
- IP of the Fourth of July
- IP of the FIFA World Cup
Popular with customers and IP media, they countered an oft-cited (and lazy) observation that “doing marketing for boring industries” must be pedestrian. What those commentators ignore is that people working in niche, so-called unsexy industries are humans who want to be educated and entertained like everyone else. We found ways to talk about IP and highlight the utility and value of IPfolio’s software platform beyond simply repeating the feature list ad nauseam. All the content we produced was reused in IPfolio’s marketing automation-driven lead nurturing outreach.
ROI of Being Different in Your Market
Three years after I returned, IPfolio was acquired by iPan. IPfolio’s product, marketing differentiation and customer service mania successfully distinguished it in a market where too many competitors do little more than bold a feature list and call it marketing. In software categories where features can be easily copied by competitors, product functionality often isn’t sufficient to drive growth or survive until an exit. In those situations, a marketing strategy executed with creativity and imagination can profitably distinguish You from Them.