Case study:


Proto-Marketing: an approach to selling designed for scaling products.

Gardn has given us experience and expertise that we simply didn't have before. They didn't just create a great sales story, they've helped us to get to a position where we can effectively edit and adapt the collateral ourselves
Tom Furrer
Chairman & Founder

When I was at Microsoft - dare I say in the very early days of online advertising - we did some very intriguing research on the family car buyer journey.

We’re all familiar with the purchase funnel, which looks something like this:

Purchase Funnel

You start your buyer journey at the top, aware of several options, slowly moving through the funnel. For family car purchases, this funnel actually looked more like a diamond.

Family car buyers would start with a single car in mind. Something their friends drove or saw on the street. They already had a car in mind. Only once they decided it was time to purchase did that desired car broaden with online research.

Proto-Marketing Funnel

At Gardn, this is what we think sales and marketing for scaling businesses should look like. If you’re selling a complex product into complex organisations, you need to think like the family car buyer. It’s something we call proto-marketing.

What Is Proto-Marketing?

It’s prototyping your audience and marketing on the fly.

It’s about selecting a desired prospect as a starting point.

Then you get selling. You research on the fly.

We tell every client of ours that as soon as you start talking to a customer about your product, something in the sales materials will need to change. It will happen every time. This is why sales must drive your marketing decisions, rather than marketing driving your sales decisions.

Sales drives marketing decisions and not the other way around.

In a practical sense, what does this mean? In addition to the standard pipeline information collected, we encourage our clients to record the following:

  • Client Objective
  • Client Pain-Point
  • Blocker to Next Step
  • Unexpected Insight
  • Hindsight Strategy

Yes, market research is important at this and every stage. But your market research will only get you so far. Here’s a great example from Infonic, a very innovative, forward-thinking fintech we’ve been working with.

Alternative Asset Management

Most of us are familiar with standard assets. The stock market is a good example. Prices change every minute. You’re always aware of the value.

Alternative assets are different. These could be land, property, wine, yachts…anything that isn’t… well… standard. Alternative assets are usually updated monthly through a very manual process.

It’s easy to make informed decisions on standard assets. For alternative assets, the monthly cadence makes even daily decisions more difficult.

Infonics' new alternative asset platform is changing that. In a nutshell, Infonic can help those managing alternative assets to get to a decision-point much more quickly. At its heart is a new daily estimation approach to alternative asset valuation. A real step-change for the industry.

The Infonic Connect Platform

We helped Infonic to focus their sales pitch to Asset Managers. It’s been a fantastic success. They’re testing their product with some of the worlds largest asset management companies as we speak.

What was interesting was the feedback we received from a handful of companies that didn’t go ahead. Here’s an example of their proto-marketing feedback:


We want to decrease the cost of doing business


We want to minimise cost increases

Blocker to Next Step:

Prove you can save me time fixing errors

Unexpected Insight:

If you could help our administrators avoid errors, that would make us look better and save us countless hours.

Hindsight Strategy:

Demonstrate how Infonic can free up the time of the team and their administrators.

Where Sales Drives Your Marketing.

Most interestingly, if you asked any asset manager what their primary objective was, it would be to make them and their clients more money. Infonic’s solution is now doing this for several global asset managers. This is where research and intuition pointed us.

However, it’s only when selling and demoing the product did the administrator opportunity become clear: save us time, save us money, save us fixing mistakes!

So as well as successfully targeting asset managers, Infonic's sales materials were also adapted to target administrators.

Infonic is a great example of an agile business launching a scaling product. They selected a desired prospect as a starting point. They prototyped their audience and marketing on the fly. They let their sales insights drive their marketing and not the other way around.

Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a proto-marketing approach to sales strategy.

Martyn Baker, Managing Partner

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