Developing successful relationships with start-up clients, Warschawski founder and CEO David Warschawski says, takes two things: "You really need to know how to be able to do great due diligence upfront" and "you have to be willing as an agency to wait five, or 10, or maybe even 15 years for the payout for the work that you did."
Warschawski's connection with start-ups goes deeper than just a standard agency/client set-up. His W Venures, which works with start-up brands from the ground up, addresses all of the concerns that face a new company, not just their marketing needs.
Primary among those concerns is funding, and a lack of adequate funding can deal a major hit to a start-up's marketing efforts: "Because they have limited funds for marketing, they end up using someone who doesn't really know how to work with them and get them the best results. And that's expensive money that's being put out and ultimately doesn't allow them to get to the exit that they and the person who has put in the time and money wants them to be able to get to."
To help any communicator provide top results for a start-up, Warschawski has several suggestions for working with them effectively.
First, he says, agencies should test messaging and images through digital marketing early on to see what's getting the best ROI. Once that "fundamental building block" is in place, communicators can then get to work on "some of the more traditional things like public relations, like social media, like SEO, etc."
He also warns against the "incredibly siloed" state of the PR world. "That is a very unhealthy way for us to grow the future talent pool because the way the target audience responds today is in a 360-surround sound environment. So, if we can figure out how to expose our younger generation across the spectrum of things, they won't have to be perfect at all of them, I think our profession will be that much stronger."
Working with start-ups is a good way give young PR pros that kind of exposure, he says. "Having them work on early-stage companies exposes them to many things that they never get to see with a longstanding, or long-term, or existing powerful brand."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]