No company can afford to stand still. Even companies with industry-leading products need to keep innovating, creating new products to address unmet needs and marketing their solutions as effectively as possible in every market where they can deliver value.
It was this relentless commitment to growth that led software company Medius, a leading AP automation company, to reach out to Fulcrum Group for help with a critical product launch and ongoing product marketing expertise.
AP (accounts payable) departments literally keep the lights on. They receive invoices, make sure the invoices are correct, and pay them so that vendors, business partners, and—yes, utility companies—get the money they’re expecting when they’re expecting it.
It’s a challenging job. An AP manager might process thousands of invoices per month. Managers need to match invoices to orders, make sure each invoice is approved by the proper person, and watch out for fraud, such as criminals submitting invoices from fictitious companies. AP work can also be high-pressure and repetitive, which can lead to job burnout and low morale.
Medius addresses these problems with a powerful AP automation system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to autonomously process the receiving, reading, coding, routing, and approving of invoices. The Medius AI solution makes AP processing fast, accurate, and efficient, so AP teams can go home and rest easy, and businesses can trust their budgets and forecasts. The company now has more than 4,000 customers across 102 countries and processes $200 billion in annual spend through its system.
Medius is determined to continue leading the market, providing its customers with ever more powerful AI-driven solutions that address key challenges such as processing expenses and addressing fraud and compliance, and that build on Medius’s partnerships with technology leaders such as Microsoft, NetSuite, and SAP.
The Challenge: Deliver Great Product Marketing Without Any Internal Product Marketing Staff
Kim Albrecht is the Chief Marketing Officer at Medius. In early 2023, Kim found herself without any product marketing staff to help her meet key marketing objectives, which included refining the company’s marketing of its partner solutions and launching the company’s new Fraud and Risk Detection product. She had worked with Ian Hameroff, founder of the Fulcrum Group, at earlier companies and trusted Ian’s understanding of product marketing. She contacted Ian and hired the Fulcrum Group to provide a full range of product marketing services for Medius.
“It was critically important for me to find a team that really understands how product marketing works,” says Kim. “It’s easy in this industry to become swept up with the technology and to make product marketing all about the product. But for marketing to be effective, you’ve got to treat the customer as the hero, not the product. Our solutions are powerful because they help our customers do their jobs better, processing invoices faster and easier than ever before and gaining insights into spend patterns and risks. Our focus always needs to be on customers and what our products do for customers. Fulcrum Group understands that.”
Refining Partner Marketing for a “Better Together” Strategy
“Medius is a strategic partner of both Microsoft and NetSuite,” says Kim. “Our platform integrates easily with both these platforms without requiring any long, complicated integration projects. We needed to do a better job explaining how Medius and Microsoft are better together for Microsoft customers, and then we needed to do the same thing with NetSuite for NetSuite customers.”
Developing product marketing strategies built on partnerships can be tricky.
“We always need to make sure that we never put down our partners to prop up our own product,” says Kim. “Fulcrum understands this balance perfectly. They did a great job reworking our messaging and narrative frameworks in a way that promoted both Medius and our partners. And Fulcrum applied best practices throughout — as I knew they would — including testing the new messaging with customers. From that core messaging work, we were able to update our web pages, app store listings, and slide decks, confident that we were delivering messages that resonated.”
Launching Medius Fraud and Risk Detection
Then Fulcrum took on an even bigger project: launching Medius’s first product focused on detecting fraud and risk in invoices.
In most AP departments, team members have no way of detecting fraud in real time. Instead, they must rely on audits conducted months later. Only then, long after money has been disbursed — possibly to criminals — does the department discover that the same invoice was submitted multiple times or that an invoice suspiciously listed a new bank account number or that amounts on a series of invoices were improperly inflated.
Applying advanced AI algorithms, Medius Fraud and Risk Detection analyzes invoices flowing into AP departments and flags suspicious invoices in real time, giving AP managers a chance to review questionable invoices before they are paid. The product marks a significant advance for AP fraud detection capabilities, and it gives Medius an important new way of improving the lives of its customers. AP leaders no longer have to feel blindsided by fraud. Instead, they can feel confident that they have dramatically improved visibility into which invoices are problematic and which are fine, which should be flagged, and which paid as usual. And AP leaders can now report these findings confidently to CFOs, compliance officers, and others.
“The work Fulcrum did on this project was absolutely breakthrough,” says Kim. “They managed the whole launch of the product. They did everything, beginning with meeting and earning the trust of our product leaders to develop the core value proposition for the product. Then they built out a narrative framework laying out the value of the product from the point of view of our customers. Then, from this messaging and narrative framework, they were able to create everything else we needed to launch the product, including a sales deck, a web page, and blog content.”
“The feedback from Sales to this launch has been very positive,” Kim says. “Fraud can really affect people’s lives, and the messaging that Fulcrum develops resonates emotionally with our customers. That focus on customers is always very important to us. This product is off to a great start, thanks to Fulcrum.”
Next Up: Industry-Specific Marketing
Medius markets solutions that are useful for any AP department. But it also has offerings that address the needs of companies in specific industries.
“Medius works really well in certain industries,” says Kim, “and now Fulcrum is helping us refine our product marketing in those industries to make sure we’re really connecting with customers in the right way, addressing the issues these customers care about and using the terminology they expect.”
The first industry Fulcrum is working on is manufacturing.
“The AP process in manufacturing is highly complex with lots of invoices,” says Kim. “Fulcrum is helping us ensure we’re communicating in the most effective way with these AP departments. And Fulcrum is testing the new messaging with multiple manufacturing customers, something our previous product marketing staff never did.”
Fulcrum Delivers High-Quality Work While Increasing Medius’s Own Productivity
For Kim, the benefits of working with Fulcrum are obvious.
“Working with Fulcrum has up-leveled the quality of our work,” says Kim. “It also dramatically increased the productivity of my team.”
Fulcrum’s structured approach to marketing is also paying off.
“The core messaging that Fulcrum developed has become a nucleus from which we can develop more marketing materials while remaining confident that we’re always on message,” says Kim. “Without that nucleus, marketing materials tend to be one-offs, and the messaging overall becomes fragmented. The discipline of Fulcrum’s approach helps us produce more work of higher quality. Now we’re delivering more materials in all our channels, so we can always reach the right customer in the right way at the right time.”
Kim sums up her experience with Fulcrum this way: “With Fulcrum, I have a whole team of product marketing people working on my behalf, and it shows.”