Australian growth marketing agency Ammo helps startups calibrate their

When you are the founder of a young startup, it is always very difficult to put in the right amount of effort to dedicate to marketing. Do it bad and you risk looking unprofessional. Hire a traditional agency and you could be wasting time and money.

In contrast, Australian growth marketing agency Ammo wants to ensure that its clients are neither over-investing nor under-investing. Geared toward tech startups, it claims it has “supercharged the growth of over 200 innovative businesses” ranging from fintech and SaaS to hardware.

Ammo is based in Perth and is an active member of Western Australia’s startup community, where it is “very highly regarded”, in the words of a survey respondent recommending . But if the person decided to work with Ammo, he said it was because “their results spoke.” (If you have growth marketing agencies or freelancers to recommend, please fill out our survey!)

After reading this, we reached out to Cam Sinclair, Ammo’s director, for insight on early-stage brand development, marketing readiness, and more. Watch our interview below:

Editor’s Note: The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you give us an overview of Ammo?

Cam Sinclair: Ammo is a development marketing team based in Perth, Western Australia. We work with startups and innovative businesses to help them set and reach their growth goals.

cam sinclair

Cam Sinclair. image credit: Aline Kubass(Opens in a new window)

We’ve been in this community for seven years, and are a small, lean team from a variety of backgrounds – none of whom are traditional marketing.

As a naughty kid I loved technology and was fascinated by how business worked. I always knew I wanted to find a way to help founders and innovators bring their great ideas to the world. After working in political campaigns, I realized that several skills overlapped with the skills startups needed: moving fast, being lean, communicating well, being adaptable, and staying resilient.

This inspired me to develop an “anti-agency” where startup founders could really feel like they had someone on their team who understood their challenges and the risks they were taking.

How do you collaborate with startups?

Our services cover every step of the founding journey. When you’re starting out, you’ll need a brand, strategy, and marketing infrastructure to reach early customers. As you grow, you will need ongoing marketing campaigns and automation that strengthens your funnel. As you continue to mature, you’ll need a wider reach that provides PR and ongoing strategic advice.

We like to keep engagement as flexible as possible as startups are always exploring new marketing opportunities or customer needs. Some are ongoing relationships, others are quick projects completed in a week. Our long-term relationships begin with a growth strategy workshop, where we identify a North Star metric so that everyone is pulling in the same direction from day one.

Our workshops help startup teams design a customer journey using the Pirate Metrics framework and turn it into a clear, step-by-step action plan that they can implement or outsource.

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There’s a survey on your site that encourages companies to check if they’re “ready for growth marketing.” What are the high-level points that make up the company?

It’s really about having a small number of early hardcore customers – evangelists. A lot of people call it product-market-fit, but it’s actually fit for the customer.

Without a clear, confident direction to reach and reach a mass audience it makes no sense to rocket a startup under way. Sure, you can get somewhere quickly, but where are you going?

We’ve made the mistake of taking on customers who were too early to develop, so we know how important it is to say “no” when it’s not a good fit. We can direct all the traffic in the world to your website, but without Customer Fit you will be fighting for every sale.

Startups need to do a few things right for them to be prime for growth. Not every startup will be ready for what we can do for them. We are also focusing on our customer fit.

For face-to-face work, who are your typical customers?

Our most successful relationships are with startups that have already established customer fit and are looking to grow rapidly. We work with both B2B and B2C SaaS companies as well as more traditional businesses that want to disrupt the way things work in their industry.

We have developed startups in Australia and abroad, including the neuroscience startup Hum, based in Berkeley, Calif. We worked with them for preorder channels, building learning/experimentation systems within the team and, more recently, providing advice at a strategic level, while identifying early customers and gathering initial investments.

What mistakes do you help startups avoid when it comes to branding?

Having worked with over 230 startups, we know what works and what doesn’t. Our clients work with us because they know we can help them avoid the pitfalls that inexperienced founders regularly come across and make the most of the tight budgets that startups run into.

Marketing agencies are taking money that startups don’t need to build brand recognition that startups don’t need. We would love to see those resources invested in building our product and talking to our customers.

That said, it’s important for a landing page or slide deck to be credible to customers, investors, and partners — and when startups invest less in their branding, people are less likely to hand over their attention, email address, and money. .

For example, some clients often don’t even have the appropriate logo files or a wide enough color palette to build a website that effectively converts people into clients. If someone doesn’t clearly see your “sign-up” button when they visit your website because everything on your website is blue, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is.

Can you explain why you recommend startups to build a “minimum viable brand”?

In the startup world there is a temptation to access a freelancer via an online marketplace (or worse – let an overzealous employee create a logo in PowerPoint). But it usually results in surface-level logo design without any consideration for how it might evolve over time or fit within a larger brand identity.

Other startups may work with an agency to build a brand identity, and this can lead to brand overkill – stationery kits, photography, great mission statements, and endless meetings. None of these require a pre-seed startup right now. This process wastes time and money spent elsewhere and traps startups with an expensive brand that cannot grow as they do.

We take the branding processes used by world class agencies and deliver it to the core parts of the brand you need right now. This leads to a minimum viable brand identity that is developed and built with the expectation that it will transform as your startup. It is driven by Lean methodology and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – it is designed to challenge perceptions and capture the attention of customers without much investment.

What process do you follow to help startups develop their minimum viable brand?

Initially we help them to come up with a name.

Naming is important so if possible we usually spend time on this part to avoid changing it in future. We want to make sure it meets the basic principles of uniqueness, brevity, appropriateness, easy spelling and pronunciation, similarity, detail, and safety (based on Marty Neumeyer’s branding-in-business book Zagg).

From there we design a logo. A good logomark (the “icon” part of the logo) is usually figurative and not literal. It should be scalable, simple and work in multiple environments including single color black or white. The logo is then complemented with brand color selections, fonts, and simple imagery direction to create a basic but useful brand guide.

Most importantly, we believe that your startup’s brand guidelines should be publicly available online, rather than a PDF hidden in a folder on your Dropbox. Somewhere you can direct your team members and partners to ensure that everyone maintains brand consistency.

How does Ammo compare to an in-house CMO?

Like the CMO, we are strategic. But unlike CMOs, we have experience with hundreds of startups in dozens of industries – we can draw insights and lessons from unexpected places when we’re working with clients.

While we are closely associated with commercial goals such as an in-house CMO, we also know the importance of moving fast for startups. This is why everyone at Ammo rolls up their sleeves and gets things done for our customers.

We don’t have the mindset to spend months developing an annual marketing strategy, we want to help our clients get in front of customers quickly, collect valuable data along the way and be nimble to customize when needed Huh.

How do you and your customers measure your impact?

At Ammo, we don’t measure time, we measure results. At the beginning of each project we define what success looks like with the client. Every customer is different, and we are accountable to him. We check back with ongoing clients in monthly meetings to see how we’re tracking the success metrics we’ve agreed upon, adjusting as needed.

All of this is measured through quantitative analytics, qualitative feedback from customers, and gut instinct.

In the past we have described our role as making ourselves obsolete – that our clients will grow large enough to be able to hire their own in-house marketing team. Today, we maintain many of these customer relationships in different ways by providing more strategic advice. Those long-term relationships are our biggest sign that we’ve made a valuable impact.

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