How I Help Early Stage Companies

Mark Donnigan

You’re the founder of an early-stage startup. You have launched your product, but now that you know it won’t sell itself, you aren’t sure what a great marketing function is, and you need help. 

However this happened, you need help discovering, developing, and getting on the path to dominating a market category. You find me and get in touch. And then… you discover I can’t help you because I am booked solid with a few later-stage companies at a price an earlier-stage company cannot afford. 

You feel frustrated – and I feel frustrated because I want to help as many companies as possible. I believe in the power of marketing to build companies. Still, with my multi-year virtual CMO engagements, I can only work with a few companies each year.

I have a solution for companies of all sizes, and I call it Guided Market Development

Guided Market Development is a lighter-weight, lower-cost version of my core Virtual CMO program. The main difference is the time commitment from my side; think of this as getting 100% of my brain and industry expertise, but instead of actively participating in the implementation and operations, I let the client company handle the work and run regular 1:1 workshops/coaching calls over Zoom.

This approach frees me up to work with your early-stage startup, making the cost and time commitment workable for you while providing tremendous value. Clients working in this manner typically work with me for multiple years because the outcome is the same: 

    1. Your company will receive the operational framework and playbooks for building your marketing function. 
    2. Establish a category Point of View (POV), and develop a strategy that increases the company’s odds of winning the market. 

Meanwhile, investors have a solution for their early-stage portfolio companies that need marketing acceleration.

Let’s say you are a venture capital or private equity firm partner. You’ve seen startups use marketing effectively to get bigger funding rounds or disrupt an entrenched market. You want as many portfolio companies as possible to execute effective marketing. So you get in touch with me.

And, again, you find I cannot help because I am at capacity. I’ve tried since I want to touch as many companies as possible because many seed stage and pre-series A company founders need someone to guide them on making their first sales hire. And what skills the first marketing hire must possess. 

Every company and market is unique, which lends itself to my Group Market Development Coaching sessions.

The heart and soul of this work is the information I provide to my Virtual CMO clients. I love the opportunity to embed over multiple years and walk a company through the end-to-end success cycle for go-to-market and market development. But the cost and stage readiness do not always align, so I offer a way to help at the very early stage of a startup.

My methodology and frameworks are on the LaunchBuild, and Scale pages. Email me to discuss your work and explore how I can help.

Want to know the secrets to growing a tech startup? Listen to this podcast interview to learn more of my business strategies.


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