Marketing & Sales

Better to keep a loyal customer rather than to gain a new one, according to Peppers and Rogers. Five steps to marketing strategy are: one, to listen to your customer; two, to choose the right partner; three, to market at the right place at the right time; four, to identify the right application; and five, to use smartly the concept of “pop.”

What does this mean in practice? Startups need to discover what the customers need with surveys or focus groups, find investors not just for funding purposes, clearly define the message and tone of voice, keep in mind that less and simple are better, and have a clear idea of identity to transmit their values and be consistent. In the end, selling is about relationships and within the relationships are different needs, lusts, values, and varying degrees of freedom and trust. Especially for some startups that provide products or services that the current market and the customers have yet to see or are accustomed to, it is ever more important to create strong relationships. If and when the relationship is good, selling is automatic, says Emiliano Fabris of the Galileo Visionary District.


Stories start with ‘what if’. They contain a world and a personal character, rather than something that feels more hypothetical, unreal. To make a story work, we need to be detailed, drawing up the emotions, desires and passions that we personally have. But there is no standard rule with pitching; that is why we need to be clear about who the audience is and engage them be it with a pertinent question or even an ask to join the team. At the end of the day, investors invest in people. Startups should therefore be opportunity oriented and think about the solution that creates links and take advantage of storytelling to pitch. Simply put, startups can ask themselves, “How would Pixar tell your story?

Our experience

Giulia Turra and Emiliano Fabris from Galileo Visionary District led the marketing and sales training with various interactive discussions and activities while our own Alessandro Leonardi, who came up with the idea of the Nature-Accelerator, continued preparing the startups for the demo-day pitching.

With our partner NEPCon

Our NEPCon partners joined us for Week 4 for Natural Bites and mentoring meetings throughout the week. Providing services in conservation, land use, traceability and responsible sourcing, NEPCon is an international non-profit organization that works towards sustainable use of natural resources and tackling climate change, with subsidiaries in 13 countries.

On Monday, Michael Jakobsen, customer relations manager, talked about NEPCon’s approach to service design, customer relation and value proposition. On Wednesday, Debora Van Boven-Flier, country manager for the The Netherlands and sustainable agriculture programme specialist, explained a wide range of sustainability certification schemes and how they can help businesses grow. Carmen Iturriaga, FSC & PEFC certification coordinator, and Leticia Calvo Vialettes, timber legality and certification expert, had plenty of opportunity to chat with our startups and share their experiences, also setting up individual meetings with our startups to discuss whatever concerns the startups may have.


Our startup’s experience

Marco Parrinello from Crické, which produces healthy, eco-friendly and tasty insect-based food says that his favorite part of the Week 4 trainings and seminars was the session with Michael because “it let me understand how important it is to create a map of customer touch point to identify a clear customer journey.” Emiliano Vettore from iGreengo, which provides a platform for users and providers of open green space, also says his team liked the touch point seminar the most: “We did not know the concept of touch point and ‘Customer Journey.’ We believe that they are essential elements to bring our customers ‘from point A to B.’ Now we’re doing it.” Using these concepts can allow iGreengo to improve their customer service and create empathy with their users, says Emiliano.

Wrapping up Week 4 and looking ahead

Having continuous interaction and meetings with NEPCon partners throughout Week 4, our startups were able to get different feedback and perspectives in addition to the regular seminars and trainings. Week 5, our startups will dive into financial plan and accounting.


WEEK 1 ARTICLE: Why do we hack startup business model?

WEEK 2 ARTICLE: How do we analyze a startup market?

WEEK 3 ARTICLE: How can startups use ‘corporate culture’ to innovate and embrace disruption?

Developed by ECOSTAR and powered by Fledge, the Nature-Accelerator is an intensive eight week acceleration programme for nature-based startups. As part of ECOSTAR initiative, Etifor Srl and the University of Padova, promote and manage the acceleration programme.