What we do

We know how to make Thought Leadership communications work to take you to the next level

Services Marketing Group (SMG) is a boutique marketing communications agency that specializes in positioning and content development for startup and early stage technology companies. For more than 15 years, SMG’s President, John Ortbal, has served as marketing consultant and content expert in creating communications to launch and/or reposition a series of successful venture-backed software and hardware companies including:

  • ITinvolve.com (launched Oct. 2011 – named Gartner Cool Vendor 2013)
  • ThePlanet.com (merged in 2011with SoftLayer which was acquired by IBM in 2013))
  • Postini.com (acquired by Google 2007)
  • EndForce.com (acquired by Sophos in 2007)
  • BindView.com (acquired by Symantec 2006)
  • RLX Technologies.com (acquired by HP in 2005)
  • AlertLogic.com  (launched in 2002)
  • PentaSafe.com (acquired by NetIQ 2002)

Along the way John and his virtual team have helped to create unique, thought-leadership campaigns that establish positioning and enhance the value of startup and early growth stage companies.

Our proven Thought Leadership methodology

Over the past two decades, we have developed a methodology that has proven its value in promoting our client’s products and services and setting the playing field in their respective market segments.  The key ingredients for thought leader marketing encompass what we call the “4-C’s”:

Create the Category – That means you set the playing field by defining the category that shapes the prospect/customer’s perception of the urgent problems they face and the logical solutions they should be looking for.

Clarify Competitive Advantage – In the process of defining the category problem/solution you must also communicate how your brand identity and positioning are different from all your other competitors (including what is often your biggest competitor: the status quo)

Confirm Credibility by featuring customer testimonials and case study narratives.  You must tell a compelling story that rings true to your target audiences.

Cultivate Channels with an integrated marketing campaign that leverages all forms of marketing communications—especially public relations and social media—with consistent messaging.


Curious to learn more? See our Successful Campaigns section.