In the United States alone, there are an estimated 72,560 startups operating across the nation. Covering every vertical in existence, from retail to insurance, these innovative solutions provide services that many brands may need, but are unaware of— so, how can we bridge this gap?
Meet Nick Fuller, CEO of King Street Ventures (KSV). Nick runs an innovation accelerator for Fortune 500 CMOs, connecting them to the latest and greatest companies in the startup ecosystem. We are excited to delve into his industry insights, honed by two decades of experience in digital marketing and transformation.
What inspired you to create King Street Ventures?
I noticed a disconnect between the innovations bubbling up in startup ecosystems around the world and the corporate marketing community. CMOs of Fortune 100 companies are busy managing global brands and simply don’t have the time or resourcing to monitor the startup ecosystems, yet they know that these new technologies have the potential to either disrupt their business or create a competitive advantage.
I started KSV because I didn’t see this information being provided through traditional agencies and consultancies. Our belief is that if you “win the experience, you win the consumer,” and it is the startups around the world that are providing brands with a competitive advantage by engaging new and existing customers in new and novel ways.
What is your top tip for start-ups looking to enhance their media presence?
At KSV, we like to tell our startups and agencies that we don’t sell their services, we generate demand through inspiring and educational content. My best tip for any startup is to focus on educating your target audience and on using your best client testimonials to convince new customers of your offering.
King Street member companies inhabit cities around the world— what are some of the benefits of a multicultural approach? What are some of the challenges? What are ways to overcome these obstacles?
More often than not, the best startups and innovations around the world are found outside of Silicon Valley. We also notice that if a startup is gaining traction in one part of the world, there is an opportunity for a brand to work together with them and gain a “first-mover advantage” by bringing them into a new market. This is why we monitor startup ecosystems all over the world – to ensure that our corporate clients aren’t missing out on the next big trend or technology.
Similarly, diversity is a core tenant of our company. Diversity in every sense of the word, from ethnic, gender and racial diversity to geography. We celebrate diversity because we know that diversity of ideas and backgrounds leads to innovation (and it’s simply the right thing to do).
What advice do you have for technology startups hoping to stand out in an increasingly crowded market?
Find your brand’s purpose and unique voice. Stop leading with your features and think about how you add value to your client. For a masterclass on marketing tech, be sure to watch my conversation with Scott Larson, the head of brand creative and Salesforce.
What are the most common stumbling blocks for start-ups as they consider marketing / PR strategies for their businesses?
Approaching the market before you have a convincing story to tell. The building blocks for any good story can be found in a successful case study. Don’t tell the world what you’re going to do, show them what you did and how it moved the needle for your client’s business.
For CMOs looking to educate themselves on innovations in marketing, what is the best first step for them to take?
The best place to start would be to sign up for KSV’s Corporate Innovation Council for curated access to the world’s top startups. We have a community where executives can meet other corporate innovation leaders, meet and mentor our startups and learn about companies that are gaining traction with similar brands.
Another great place to start is to subscribe to the newsletters of major venture capital firms, attend founder meet-ups in your own community and visit one of the many global tech conferences. CES in Las Vegas is a great place to start and offers an entree into the global ecosystem.
What has been your marketing technology highlight of the year so far? How do you think it will reshape marketing efforts in the future?
There is so much attention on Generative AI that it’s hard not to bring this up as the core technology development of the year. GenAI is powering the future of customer engagement, content creation and software development. Additionally; our corporate clients are asking us for solutions to generate additional efficiencies both in their operations and marketing.
How would you advise brands hoping to fully revamp their marketing strategy?
Gaining an outside perspective on your brand and business is the best first step. What you do next should be a guided conversation with an experienced brand and business consulting firm. If that sounds a bit heavy-handed, simply take a week to unplug with your leadership team and workshop it out in an offsite. And finally (and most importantly), talk to your customers and truly get to know them. The best marketers in the world know that the greatest insights you will ever have are by observing and talking to your customers.
What is one final thought you’d like to leave our readers with?
Be curious, lean in, and love the journey! The world is changing every day and nobody knows what the future will bring. The only way forward is to continually educate yourself and surround yourself with people whom you know are creating the future.
Nick – Thank you so much for being our guest and sharing your insights!
Interested in learning how we can leverage our connections to help your brand tell smart stories? Reach out today!