How We Picked Our Tagline “Early Customers and Early Revenue”

In Ed Ipser’s recent Lean Canvas workshop I shared how we picked our tagline “early customers and early revenue.”

How We Came Up With Our Tagline “Early Customers and Early Revenue”

Ed Ipser has a tagline exercise in his Lean Canvas Workshop for Marketing and Sales this week at Lean Culture. I decided to share how SKMurphy came up with our “Early Customers & Early Revenue” tagline:

You can come up with a better tagline once you have customers. You can cheat by asking them how they would describe your product to a friend. The friend should be in a similar role or function so that it’s a peer to peer conversation.

It’s like this: you go see a great movie, and then you run into a friend the next day. You’re not going to spend half an hour describing what happened in the movie. Unless it’s a really good friend and they are really interested. Instead, you are going to describe the movie in a sentence. Here’s what happened. Then you see if they ask questions or act interested. If they are, you might tell them a little more.

For the first two years of our practice, we talked about helping you scale your business or accelerate your growth. We blended right in with the other 4,000 marketing firms in Silicon Valley that serve technology firms. So I had been talking to a founder a few times, and in our third or fourth meeting, I was sitting across from him at a Starbucks. Suddenly he looked at me and said, “Oh, I get it. I get it.”

It’s always refreshing to hear that from somebody that you have been talking to for a while. He had been looking at me like a dog watching television. His head was cocked to the side and he could hear the torrent of words coming out of my mouth but was having trouble connecting them with anything he knew or needed. He said, “I figured out what you are doing here, it’s early customers and early revenue.”

“That’s good,” I thought to myself. So instead of correcting him and talking about marketing and accelerating revenue I said, “yes, yes, that’s right.” And because amateurs plagiarize but professionals steal I decided I would use what he said word for word. Our outreach efforts went more smoothly after that and we’ve been using it ever since.

Sean Murphy on “early customers and early revenue” tagline for SKMurphy, Inc.

We’ve followed that rule ever since: if a client has customers ask them how they would describe it to a peer. We do this when we do “whey did they buy” or “win/loss” interviews. Then we put those words into case studies and testimonials.

When we launched BeamWise, we talked about “a design automation system for biophotonic systems that leverages a proven artificial intelligence framework to enable design space exploration, minimize errors, and cut time to market.” And I am giving you the abridged version. We were at an Optical Society Association meeting, and this very clever Russian optical designer had the same reaction. He came up to us after our presentation and said, “I’ve figured out what you guys are doing. You’ve developed a virtual optical bench.” And our chief Scientist said, “you’re absolutely right.”

Prospects must be able to your description before they are willing to sit through a demo or do a trial or evaluation of your product. The sooner you can figure out how your target customers will describe-and, therefore, understand and appreciate–your product, the faster you will increase your customer base and your revenue. Just remember
Kristin Zhivago’s advice that “Your Brand is the Promise You Keep.”

Next week we kick off a bootcamp for customer discovery that includes the “ask your customer to describe your product” as one of the exercises. It’s on the inverted classroom model and has proven very popular. You can learn more and sign up at “Customer Discovery Bootcamp for Market Exploration

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