the Justin Brady Show


State of the economy for founders

Founders are in for a wild ride as the economy looks shaky. “Early-stage founders are still getting funded at a rapid clip,” said Braley. But later-stage founders are experiencing a crunch. That means for series B or C founders, the goalposts have moved. Founders and startups need to demonstrate profitability a lot faster to get more funding. Gone are the days of endless burn and fundraising. Braley highlights a piece recently written by a colleague at Bain, Sarah Hinkfuss titled The Fintech Formula: A Data-Driven Blueprint for Creating Enduring Value.


Smart growth moves for founders

Many founders focus on just selling the product to the market, but many forget about building the brand and focusing on messaging and vision. Braley says the earlier you think about brand and developing your messaging, the better. Growth and brand work in tandem. “As you grow and scale, you really do need to layer on the brand component,” she says. “There is a point in your startup’s lifecycle where you need to consider brand; and consider making sure that sort of transactional marketing is still there but is augmented by a relationship you have with your customers. And the earlier you start to think with that mindset, the better.”


Is earned media still valuable?

There was a point where, at least in my case, I’d publish a new piece and see thousands of clicks. But those days seem to be gone. Getting value from communications is more of a long-game content strategy.

“Now it’s really a flywheel. You produce content that hopefully other people engage with and enjoy. You disseminate that content through a variety of channels, whether that’s email, social, or paid social. Maybe you do a podcast or two talking about that topic; it bubbles up. Mainstream media starts to get interested in covering it. Mainstream media potentially covers it. And then you put money, potentially as well as organic social, behind the paid media behind the topic. Then you publish on another topic that’s tertiary to that.” said Braley. “You build a reputation that way as a company or individual. It’s not linear anymore where media coverage is the only goal.”

It requires a multi-channel approach today. Unique content created by your marcom team is the starting point.




Where should founders put their comms cash?

When cash is low, precision and lowering your CAC matters. Braley was talking to folks at a Bain Capital event, and one founder figured out their enterprise customers like golf tournaments. These tournaments are actually quite cheap to sponsor, so when they sponsored, they found a high conversion. It’s super old school, and most marcom people would likely frown on it, but it worked.

Braley says the key is focusing intently on the customer to understand their values, then naturally putting yourself into the channels they utilize.


Allison Braley, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures

Allison Braley helps fledgling brands and early-stage startups become household names. She is the head of marketing at Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) and their portfolio across all stages (Seed to IPO). She was named one of Business Insider’s top 36 public relations pros in the tech industry in 2021, and PR News’ Top Women in PR for 2016.




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