Early-stage Trajectories: How Marker Seven Enables Success

POSTED ON April 03, 2020

An exciting facet of Marker Seven’s service offerings is our ability to improve clients’ businesses holistically, not just from a product perspective. This is especially true for our early-stage clients who need guidance defining what market(s) to target – and how to engage them. Marker Seven’s internal business acumen, coupled with our close-knit relationships in the venture community, give us a unique ability to grow startups in ways that other agencies simply can’t.

Recently we’ve taken on two clients in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space that initially asked us to build digital products. But after our preliminary deep-dive conversations we recognized there were fundamental challenges products alone couldn’t solve. Namely, the monumental task of developing successful go-to-market strategies.

Both clients had growth trajectories typical of many startups: great products in retail outlets with consumer traction ramping up at an exciting pace. But scaling distribution was impossible given their modest funding and staffing levels. Our clients were caught in a classic growth trap: they weren’t big enough to attract the investment they needed to expand, yet were too small to fund growth on their own. It’s a serious problem that many companies of great promise never recover from.

In each case, we paused our product work and changed focus. Our first step was to bring in vetted, hand-selected members of the venture community to workshop the challenges faced by our clients. We’re not just talking MBAs, but former C-level leaders of major corporations who we’ve cultivated strong relationships with over the years. It’s truly a master-class in business for anyone fortunate enough to engage with them.

The results for both clients were substantial. We determined that while consumers loved their products, each company actually offered a higher value to other businesses than consumers. The shift from B2C to B2B with a focus on white-labeling was a game-changer because it allowed for highly-targeted sales engagements, streamlined distribution, bespoke products, and IP development. Virtually eliminated were the major costs of advertising, expensive packaging, in-store promotions, consumer care, and large sales teams. Perhaps most importantly, it allowed the leadership of each company to focus on what they truly loved – making amazing products.

Today, each company is gaining significant traction in terms of steady revenue and outside funding. Investment firms, angels, and high-net-worth individuals are seeing the growth of these businesses, getting excited, and getting involved. Now there’s forward momentum where, before, there were seemingly insurmountable roadblocks.

At Marker Seven, our goal is to foster great businesses and the people building them. If your business is facing similar challenges to the ones above, simply drop us a line. There’s no doubt we have a lot to discuss.

  • John Clauss
    Partner