Marketing ScaleupFrom Seed to Round A

From Seed to Round A: A marketing scale-up story

Long story short:

We started working as Firedome’s marketing team in late 2018 (soon after they completed their seed round). We were in charge of working on strategy together with the founders, as well as running all prioritized marketing activities end-to-end, from setting up goals and timelines, to operational planning and implementation. In less than a year, Firedome secured their Series A funding round much earlier than expected, and we had to quickly scale up budget planning and ongoing operations, redefine high-level objectives, and set new quantitative goals.

The modus operandi of a startup company completely transforms when they go from post-Seed to post-Round A activities. Board expectations evolve and the challenge shifts from establishing the initial marketing DNA to focusing on achieving market leadership positioning in the market. Hence, our focus shifted from building the marketing foundations and working on initial awareness and recognition, to much more aggressive and intensive activities. As the company rapidly started to grow, we had to re-adjust and serve a growing number of internal stakeholders (sales, product, etc.).

From Seed to Round A: A marketing scale-up story

About Firedome

Founded by Moti Shkolnik, Sharon Mirsky, and Orr Chen in 2018, Firedome develops innovative, dynamic, real-time endpoint cybersecurity solutions for IoT manufacturers to protect their devices (Home IoT, IIoT and enterprise IoT). Firedome offices are located in New York, Tel Aviv and Belarus.

Marketing objectives and challenges:

It was obvious that the IoT landscape was trending and there was great momentum, which required both agile operations and a best-in-class approach. Sharon Mirsky, Firedome’s co-founder, was looking for a 360-degree solution provider with the appropriate startup marketing experience, the right attitude and a “just like an internal employee” approach.

When we started building the Firedome brand, we had to get going very fast and focus on multiple marketing buckets in parallel.

Because Firedome develops innovative solutions and in many aspects establishes the next industry security standards, market education and shifting paradigms were a major part of the game plan. We were in charge of Firedome’s voice and had to ensure that it was being heard across multiple industry discussions.

The agility-quality approach

We followed our multi-area puzzle approach: First, fill in the immediate activities needed to meet initial KPIs. Once previous activities required fewer resources, we added more new activities to the mix. We kept maintaining a backlog of requests – these were occasionally examined during strategy and sync meetings in order to re-prioritize our mix against the company’s business KPIs.

Seed- level marketing focus

We always discuss focus areas with founders and explain that a startup marketer must match activities and budgets to the startup’s current stage. The stage – and accordingly, the activities – can be defined by the KPIs, the number of employees and, many times, the funding round.

When we just started working with Firedome, our focus was clear. As a B2B company targeting the IoT device manufacturing industry, we had to start by laying down the proper marketing foundations. This included establishing the messaging and building the story, working on a brand new website, building event and sales collateral kits, running PR activities and then moving forward to establish the foundations of top-of-funnel educational content marketing.

We had to follow the ‘good enough’ principle in order to move fast enough. At the same time, we had to meet a high-quality standard that the founders were very adamant about, wishing to position themselves as opinion leaders in their area.

We love numbers. Luckily, almost every marketing KPI today can be measured. We created Gantt-like tables in order to measure deliverables as well as pace. In order to measure the inbound progress, we created smart forecasts and compared the actual metrics periodically.

Just a couple of examples of deliverables in phase 1 of the brand’s launch:
Collateral – both printed and digital, to support outbound activities Events PR Content creation and distribution

Putting on the post-Round-A marketer’s hat

Once Round A was secured, our perspective had to change quickly! We had to recalculate our marketing trajectory.

We added some new parameters that we wanted to measure, namely demand-gen MQLs and SQLs. We also set measurable metrics around market positioning. We knew that we had to calculate multiple touchpoints with prospects, measure levels of engagement and additional metrics that were not our top priority when we first started.

Today, we maintain a monthly report that aggregates data from multiple platforms. Trends spotted in this report are shared regularly in our management meetings.

Here are some of the activities we heavily invest in:

Content marketing
We continue to invest in building a top-tier content arsenal. In addition to our value-added blog articles, we have now introduced premium (gated) content to the mix. This fuels the demand-generation bucket that was recently added to the marketing mix.

PR work and distribution
We continuously work on pushing PR announcements, from Round A completion to strategic partnerships. This means that we wear both marketing and PR agency hats: Our implementation work includes writing the announcements, running media outreach research, building an online press minisite, scavenging for top-tier exclusive coverage opportunities, pitching relevant journalists and bloggers and tracking results.

Paid PPC and Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
The combination of having a bigger budget to work with and having a considerable content arsenal at our disposal enabled the launch of paid campaigns that are optimized towards our goals. We plan, set, manage and maintain Firedome’s multi-channel demand-generation activities.

Marketing Automation
The need to set up a proper marketing automation solution became urgent as our inbound operation grew. After reviewing quite a few solutions (as we always do, with each startup we work with), we decided to onboard with Hubspot. We currently use the system to set up automatic (drip) emails, landing pages, view analytics and more. We also work with Firedome to ensure seamless communication between the marketing, product marketing and sales teams; we believe that today, sales operations can’t be optimized without it.

Outbound activities
After thorough research, and considering the new budget that we now had at our disposal, we have built an industry events calendar. We manage our operations around these events (registration, speaking opportunities, booth design, collateral, give- aways, promotions, event logistics and more).

Summary

Partnering with Firedome and taking part in their journey is not only a huge pleasure and a great experience for us at G2M Team; it’s also a real privilege. Our work is far from over. There are so many important items on our backlog list, waiting to be planned and implemented. But each step we take helps the company take another leap towards reaching its goals, and this makes us proud.