Dispatches from Inside the Classroom: Day 3 & 4

Day 3

Best Marketing’s Liz Sara, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship, kept the MBA students on their toes with best practice approaches to targeting the market in last night’s Business to Business Marketing class. Sara stressed the importance of identifying pain points. “The key to figuring out the business buyer starts with understanding who has the pain or problem that you are solving with your product or service,” she explained.

Guest speaker Nikhil Palekar, founder of nVeloped, shared that his company is focused within the healthcare supply chain industry. The company makes it easy to send and receive secure email using his simple, secure email plugin. Palekar and his team found a pain point and clearly addressed it.

Day 4

Day 4 moved beyond pain points and competition to go-to-market strategy. Sara brought two local CEOs to the classroom who discussed their company’s channel strategies. Chris Parker, founder of New Horizon Wines talked about his distribution strategies and challenges he is facing in exporting Virginia wines to luxury merchants and hotels in London, England.  Chris Duffus, founder of LEAF College Savings, talked about his approach in bringing his 529 college savings plan product based on gift cards to market using partners like AAA and AARP.

Sara closed the discussion with the following, “whether it’s savings plans, wine or widgets, choosing the right channel partners involves careful targeting, clear communication of your value to them, and clear understanding of the specific market they serve.”

Sara-05Aug13-97Liz Sara has 20 years of experience in the local high tech community as an entrepreneur, business leader, angel investor and philanthropist. In 2001, she founded Best Marketing, LLC to provide early stage software companies with strategic marketing, PR and business development services. Her company offers clients all the benefits of a full-scale, seasoned marketing department on a ‘virtual’ basis — eliminating overhead and headcount associated with full-time staff. Previously, she played a principal role as co-founder of SpaceWorks, an eCommerce software company, where she facilitated its startup and growth to nearly $25 million in revenue; at America Online, where she designed the PR program and investor road show for the IPO; at United Press International, where she facilitated a turn-around strategy; and for LEXIS/NEXIS, where she was instrumental in the creation and successful launch of a new division. Ms. Sara holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland. She is a member of the Business & Professional Women’s Committee of the Corcoran; the Women’s Committee of National Museum of Women In the Arts; and the Board of the Capital City Ball. In addition, Ms. Sara is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

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