Marketing Architecture, New Book Shows Small Businesses How to Attract Customers, Hires, and Investors in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic
Entrepreneur and marketing expert, Kai Sato, introduces a step-by-step guide for companies with less than 50 employees to win customers, land talented employees, and get investors lining up at the door.
Early in 2020, a company named Crown Electrokinetics was in need of outside capital. The creator of a sustainable smart glass technology, it was owed millions of dollars from a licensing agreement that was several months past due. The company’s CEO, Doug Croxall, was forced to fund the business out of his own pocket, but the team needed more time to improve the technology to the point where it could be commercialized at scale. Within months, at a time when the pandemic forced many businesses to shut down or even declare bankruptcy, the company not only landed strategic investors but also added several key hires and brought a beta product to market. Today, Crown Electrokinetics is publicly-traded on Nasdaq.
So what changed? One of the major improvements was the company’s “Marketing Architecture.”
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Doug Croxall, said, “Crown Electrokinetics became a different company when Kai Sato got involved and introduced us to Marketing Architecture. We’d been so product focused, basically hiding under the radar, and this approach to marketing immediately put our company on the map. We quickly completed a capital raise, established a pipeline of potential customers for our beta product, and even took the company public. The process laid out in Marketing Architecture can be transformative.”
Marketing Architecture is a simple yet effective approach to finding your target audience and empowering word-of-mouth. This is vital to all companies but especially smaller ones because the recommendations that we receive from trusted sources are ultimately the most effective form of marketing. However, many businesses often fail to present themselves effectively, focusing too much on product development. Or as billionaire investor and Paypal co-founder, Peter Thiel, said, “Even if you have an incredibly fantastic product, you still have to get it out to people. The engineering bias blinds people to this simple fact. The conventional thinking is that great products sell themselves; if you have [a] great product, it will inevitably reach consumers. But nothing is further from the truth.”
Marketing Architecture shows business operators exactly HOW to get their incredibly fantastic product out to people. With the end goal of empowering word-of-mouth, the book first shows how to build the “Foundation” for your Marketing Architecture. This consists of your company’s brand, website, and product. With the Foundation in place, the book then details the nine “Levers” that your company can utilize to stand out, drive traffic, and reach new customers. Examples of Levers include your team, social media, press, and partnerships. The same fundamentals also apply for attracting hires and investors, and the book explains how each of those is a separate target audience, requiring appropriate differentiation. Tying it all together, there is the Marketing Architecture Scoring System, a 25-point grading scale that helps you assess your company at all stages of growth and improve over time.
The author of Marketing Architecture is Kai Sato, an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor to both startups, corporations, and family offices. When the pandemic intensified and businesses struggled, he heard from dozens of companies wanting his help. But instead, he decided to invest that time into writing this book, with the goal of benefiting even more companies. He said, “If I could have simply recommended a book that helped tie things together better than this one, I would have done it. Trust me, it would be a lot easier than writing this damn thing. But seeing a company with a great product that is being derailed by terrible marketing is like watching my best friend drown in a kiddie pool. Their salvation is seemingly so simple, but they’re either incapable or unwilling to help themselves. It’s almost unbearable for me at times. But like dealing with an addict, they have to admit that they have a problem and then decide to solve it.”
Sato continued, “I know that because I’ve been there. In my first two jobs, I found myself trying to sell products for companies that were poorly marketed, first at a publicly-traded company and then at a startup that I’d co-founded. It took years of mistakes and basically setting millions of dollars on fire, but I developed a deep expertise in marketing. So much so that I became the chief marketing officer of a food company that was ultimately acquired and have recently become the chief marketing officer of a publicly-traded company. Along the way, I’ve built a portfolio of early-stage companies around the world, and the Marketing Architecture approach laid out in this book has helped them raise or generate millions of dollars.
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