Brands and Start-ups: 10 ‘first date’ surprises.
Since I started Tech2Brand six months ago, I have arranged quite a few meetings between Marketing Managers and Start-ups. The vast majority of these take place at the location of the respective start-up (eg. a co-working space / an accelerator hub). I always aim to avoid having the meeting at the office of the Brand – getting a Marketing guy away from his / her normal location helps to ‘level the playing field’ at an early stage.
However, both sides come out of the first meeting slightly surprised in some way or another. Listed below are the top 10 ‘first date’ surprises that I have experienced.
Marketing Managers are surprised that:
1. the air is no different in the ‘start-up’ world, it is just another business eco-system
2. the start-ups weren’t 18 year olds with acne, a great idea and nothing else?
3. start-ups are all ages, either gender and in the majority of cases have some pretty impressive work experience behind them
4. they (the brand) aren’t the only interest of the start-up – most start-ups are talking to (or have started work with) many brands – things move fast in the start-up world and business is business
5. they (the brand) can actually learn from start-ups, especially concerning the speed that start-ups make decisions and constantly pivot their strategies (topic of another blog I feel)
On the other side of the table, Start-ups are surprised that Marketing Managers:
6. don’t carry big ‘cheque books’ with them to make that instant ‘six-figure’ payment
7. have other things on their mind and may not ‘jump up and down’ with uncontrollable joy when they (start-up) present their tech
8. are pretty technically minded themselves and can (if in the mood) ask some pretty ‘techy’ questions
9. are different from anyone else that they have presented to (see my recent blog on ‘Presenting to the Marketing Manager’
10. will need time (and will take time) to make a final decision as to whether to work with the start-up
OK, so some of the above points are slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ but I think you get the point. Both sides are very different and have very different expectations before the first meeting.
However, after the shock of the first date, both sides realise that there is an opportunity to be had and it would be beneficial to meet again – to have that second date. Like everything in life, good things take time and both sides need to tweak their initial expectations and should look to collaborate and compromise with their new partner on an ongoing basis.
So in most cases, it definitely isn’t a case of ‘love at first sight’ (for either side), but surely that wasn’t really expected…..was it?