There is an old Sufi fable tale of two travelers who came upon a distant village. One traveler’s arrogance and lack of empathy towards the villagers was a fatal mistake that resulted in a painful end. While another traveler spent their time understanding the villagers, becoming one amongst them, and later benefited from their association.
A long time ago, a traveler chanced upon a remote village and made it his home. The villagers were happy to welcome the traveler and share its bountiful resources with him. They only warned him to stay out of a grove they believed was inhabited by monsters. Curiosity soon got the better of the traveler, and a few weeks later, he found his way to the grove. To his surprise, he realized the 'monsters' were nothing but watermelons — scattered across the grove and growing large. Realizing the villagers were just being silly, he cut one off a vine and carried it with him to the village square, where we demonstrated to the horrified villagers as he carved off a slice and proceeded to eat it. Shocked at the sight, and realizing the traveler was an even more fearsome 'monster', that was gleefully devouring the ones that inhabited the grove, the villagers rallied together to defend themselves and attacked the traveler and beat him to death.
A few months passed, and yet another traveler found his way to the village. Settling in much like the first, he, too, was warned about the grove. Soon curious himself, he spent days speaking to the villagers to learn more about the grove. Finally, earning the trust of a few bold villagers, he asked them to join him to learn more about this grove. Soon, his party of villagers arrived at the grove, and keeping a safe distance, observed the 'monsters' for hours. They kept revisiting the grove for days until finally realizing the monsters never seemed to move or do anything more than just lay about. Soon after, with a few villagers in tow, the traveler ventured into the grove armed with sticks and poked the 'monsters' to see if they reacted. Not caring enough to budge, let alone pounce on them, the non-threatening demeanor of the monsters offered the villagers enough courage to touch them. Soon onto rolling them over, they soon realized they were nothing but some curious fruit. It didn't take much longer before the villagers discovered the joys of the fruit. Their village later became known for their delicious watermelons, which they cultivated and harvested in great numbers for many years to come. The traveler, too, now well-settled in the village, lived happily ever after.
This story is something I read when I was about seven years old and has stuck with me ever since. The lessons are even more profound today, in my thirties as I see founders and brands struggle to find a logical path to engaging meaningfully with their audience. You’d be hard-pressed to find fault in most founders; they’re typically quite passionate and authentic in the belief of their offerings. But at times, founders can also get a bit too fanatical, making them oblivious to some inherent flaws.
Since I laid the foundations of Altorise in 2014, I’ve operated on the belief that we must seek out and empower the best ideas in the world with the power of great design, marketing, technology, and data. If we became the ideal marketing agency, the brands we empowered would grow exponentially — correct?
It turns out that while as marketers, we aimed to elevate our brands towards advocacy at the pinnacle of brand trust, the real question that persisted was if the offering was something the audience cared enough to use in the first place.
Product market fit, or PMF, is the culmination of sharp audience insight, strong product fundamentals, and a successful business model. We have discovered the only path to success today is a multi-disciplinary approach. Weaving product, technology, design, and marketing amongst other vital functions to build a powerful venture.
As interruption marketing dies a slow death, and great products soar with seemingly zero advertising spends. The balance of power today rests in the ratios of customer lifetime value (LTV) against customer acquisition costs (CAC).
Our place in this bold new world has prompted a significant realignment. Altorise is pivoting from an agency or consultant role to one that is more deeply invested with our brands. We are focusing on the singular goal that we are in it to win it.
A few pillars on which we’re building the new Altorise include:
We are a marketing accelerator that invests in ideas we believe in deeply. That means we’re going to work at raw ideas and whittle away at everything that isn’t critical until we reveal the gem underneath. We will work alongside founders & investors every step of the way to ensure pivotal growth aspects of marketing, design, and technology are ready for growth. Like any great athlete, marketing too isn’t about hitting only sixes (or home runs if you’re into baseball); it’s a process of passionate learning, hard work, constant iteration in techniques, and pivots until you find a cadence ready for growth and massive success. The essential aspect being trust, which we build with our partners over many dates.
Bold experiments are how startups can win without going toe to toe with larger players with colossal marketing war chests. Each day an agile audience is moving between platforms and mediums in search for exciting and engaging content. Destiny favors the bold, and we enjoy the excitement of harnessing the power of these new platforms for good. From the metaverse to a publication with a passionate following, our job is to seek out opportunities others miss.
Leaning into tech is an extension of any brand since the audience expects their customer experiences across digital to echo the brand’s own unique style. From web to mobile, retail to cracking retention for SaaS users, technology is an integral aspect of business success and we are invested in ensuring its success.
Improving the product for users in each release and aiming for that same goal over and over again is critical. We believe in the constant innovation and earnest passion for delivering fantastic user experiences and delighting users with even greater value than they came in for the first time around. You cannot fake brand trust, it is earned through a series of actions that reinforce the belief users have in products they love. Keep this up and you’ll create advocates and even more passionate users who believe in brands that do everything in their power not to let anyone down — not a single user.
Keep it nimble and learning to say no is an effort each time. We’re often eager to grow our team with passionate and talented folks keen to join our team constantly. Likewise, we’re also tempted to take on big checks, or the opportunity to win exciting opportunities with a pitch. But, our work is the product of immersion by a passionate and tightly knit team. You cannot pitch without immersing yourself, and to expand would scuttle what makes us different. Our team benefits from the easily accessible veterans and the bold ideas from the youngest interns. It takes work, but when we focus on our thumb-rule to be ‘in it to win it,’ saying ‘no’ becomes (ever so slightly) easier.
Above all else, we are also chasing the dream to aim to solve even greater and more meaningful challenges. From homelessness to climate change, we believe a good idea has the power to change the world. We’ll work to make a dent in the universe with the quality of our spirit and good old-fashioned grit.
We love exploring exciting new ideas. If you have one and would like to have a candid conversation with us, drop us a line at [email protected]
Meanwhile, with this release and the next, stay tuned for exciting new changes and innovations at Altorise.