It's Okay to Be Needy!

With November around the corner, another cohort of Future Founders  Fellows is getting ready to graduate from the program. Future Founders is a terrific organization that inspires youth to become entrepreneurs. A s a Future Founders Entrepreneur in Residence, I've gotten to work closely with three of the fellows this year, all of them in the B2C space :
The first, Carson Goodale, is CEO of FanFood , an app that enables people to order stadium concessions from their seats. The team is making a lot of great headway, and you can find them at venues like UNC and Mizzou.
Danya Sherman, the CEO of KnoNap , is determined to make the world safer by helping women, and men, quickly and discretely test their cocktails for the presence of rape drugs. With her initial product development just about completed, Danya is getting ready to tackle manufacturing!
And then there's Ryan Lupberger, who is making a line of green cleaners that "Don't Suck" under the Cleancult brand name. Look for Cleancult products at a Container Store near you this January.
It's been stimulating to help these young founders as they grapple with things like getting the best work out of their teams, developing clear, focused messaging and identifying genuine points of differentiation in a crowded space. And, as with most businesses, identifying the real unmet customer need has been critical for Carson, Danya and Ryan.  
That's why we've included two pieces in this newsletter that help demystify Unmet Need in a cost-effective, scrappier way. We've also included our blog post about a fascinating Inc.
magazine article that digs into the world of maturing Direct to Consumer brands. 
Bain's B2B Value Pyramid

What are the unmet customer needs your B2B product or service really delivers on? The insights team at Bain has developed a tool, The B2B Elements of Value®, to help identify and prioritize unmet B2B customer needs.  
It's based on extensive research and consists of 40 elements organized into categories similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  
Read the post and check out the tool»  
Warby Wanabees

Who woke up this morning and said, "If only there was another consumer product I could have shipped directly to my house?" As much as I love   Dollar Shave Club's viral video and Warby Parker's stylish glasses, watching company after company pile on, I can't help but wonder if the trend is sustainable. A recent article in Inc. magazine examines how successful Direct to Consumer companies are coming full circle to traditional brick & mortar tactics. 

  Read the blog post and find the article»
Video - Using Human Words: How to Describe Unmet Needs

Clearly articulating your customer's unmet need is a great test of your ability to put yourself in your customer's shoes. During a recent workshop with entrepreneurs at Chicago's 1871, I took a few minutes to talk about  the importance of Unmet Need for your brand positioning, and how to more effectively articulate it. Watch the video»
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