The Roadmap: A Core of Zer0 to 5ive

The Roadmap: A Core of Zer0 to 5ive

By Michelle Pujadas, Founder & co-CEO

The Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™ dominated the early years of Zer0 to 5ive, and it is in large part what we built the company around. It was 1999 and the internet boom was in full swing. Companies with an “i” or “e” in the front of their names were seeing crazy valuations, and everyone had the next best idea for how their company was going to disintermediate something. Companies with little or no revenue were taking out full-page WSJ ads at nearly $100K each, and new entrepreneurs, brimming with confidence, were signing 10-year leases on real estate, committing up to 50% of their raise – I kid you not. It was in this context that the Roadmap became the go-to service for many venture capitalists and entrepreneurs looking for sanity, and a pragmatic go-to-market plan.

The Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap is a research-based process for building a strong brand and messaging foundation, and a viable go-to-market plan. If you asked any marketing pro to come up with the steps for creating a strong plan and brand foundation, you would probably see some semblance of the Roadmap. What’s magic about the roadmap is that it is just that – a roadmap to help you move confidently from Point A to Point B in a way that makes sense and as importantly, protects you from many brand and marketing pitfalls. It was popular in 1999 and remains so today.

The Roadmap consists of 6 steps, 0 through 5:

0 – Objectives
1 – Research
2 – Positioning and Messaging
3 – Brand Strategy
4 – Brand Identity
5 – Go-to-Market Plan

View (or download) full details here:
The Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™: Getting to a Go-to-Market Plan

I encourage every early-stage entrepreneur to use it with their team to ensure the best possible start, and every growth-stage entrepreneur and marketer to use it when planning a product launch or market expansion. A full Roadmap can take 8 or 10 weeks to complete. In our early days, the final deliverable would be 4-inch thick binder jammed with research, analysis, ppt slides and creative, much different than today!

Going through the entire Roadmap process is a huge undertaking with real impact, providing tremendous value to our clients who will make critical decisions based on our recommendations. Importantly, the Roadmap has taught me, and everyone who has worked on one, how to think and approach every engagement. It’s a lesson that we share and promote vigorously throughout the organization. We know that you can’t jump to the end, without going through the process of learning, analyzing and thinking.

At last count, the Zer0 to 5ive team has completed close to 100 whole or partial Roadmaps and more than 150 positioning and messaging sessions. The Roadmap approach has been used by early-stage companies and industry leaders. We would love for you to use it for your next planning session, or have us help you implement it!

20 Days to 20 Years!

By Michelle Pujadas, Founder & Co-CEO

Zer0 to 5ive celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 20 days – May 21st. It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by since we opened our doors. This will be the first of a series of blog posts celebrating the last 20 years, recognizing many of the people who made our success possible, and looking forward to the next 20 (!!).

Zer0 to 5ive was a long time in coming. In 1998, I was an SVP at Ketchum’s Pittsburgh office, leading its Tech Practice and traveling 13 days a month, with two young girls at home. I loved the job, the people, and the clients, but Ketchum was looking for big global companies for its tech roster, and Pittsburgh – home to Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, and Duquesne universities – was becoming a hub of startups. These startups had big ideas, but little idea of how to launch into the market, never mind build a long-term brand. From this “perfect storm” came the idea of starting Zer0 to 5ive, which at the time would focus solely on emerging tech. The “when” and “how” was on my mind until I finally pulled the trigger in 1999, with Santi – then President of a Westinghouse division and now my co-CEO – filing the paperwork on May 21, to become “official” as Zer0 to 5ive, LLC.

Getting to our own launch – and early success and momentum – involved many people whom I want to thank. Some I still know and talk to regularly; others I have lost touch with over the years, but still feel their impact. So a BIG THANK YOU to Mike Bolton, former Managing Partner of PA Early Stage and SVP at Safeguard Scientifics, who encouraged me to go it alone and provided many an introduction; Harry Wallaesa, former President of Safeguard Scientifics, who had the confidence to bring me on as VP of Marketing for Safeguard, while also acquiring one-third of Zer0 to 5ive with the idea of providing real marketing services to Safeguard’s growing portfolio of companies; Bob Longo, our very first client at Carnegie Learning, who then went on to bring us into a number of other edtech opportunities—including working on Apple’s PowerSchool brand for 4+ years—and who remains a friend today; Laurie Mizrahi, who designed our wonderful logo, in return for messaging; and Jennifer Helfer, our first employee, who has gone on to be an agency superstar in London.

Additional THANKS to Paul McKeon, CEO of Crescent Communications in Atlanta, and his business partner, Ruth Doering, who entrusted the expansion of Crescent when I left Atlanta to move to Pittsburgh, knowing that we would ultimately be folded into Ketchum and that I would have a home in Ketchum’s Pittsburgh office. Zer0 to 5ive is modeled after Crescent – one of the first agencies to understand the power of integrated marketing for tech companies.

In our early months and years, we had wonderful co-workers, clients and partners – thank you to all who believed in us, especially those from the Safeguard family and its various venture funds, and to the 0to5ers who helped the Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™ become a reality and a sought-after service, and who made Zer0 to 5ive an agency that clients returned to again and again.

Last, but certainly not least, a big THANK YOU to my husband Santi, who believed that I could do it, supported me, and then left his own thriving career to join me to ensure Zer0 to 5ive would be a commercial success – who knew that revenues and cash flow were not the same??!!

Stay tuned for more posts from me over the coming days and weeks!

GTM Planning for Health Tech Startups

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the Plexus Healthcare Innovation Hub in Philly. What an amazing place for health tech startups, especially medical device companies to get started – the space, equipment, people and networking at Plexus are incredible!

I was lucky enough to follow two amazing demonstrations that kept everyone glued to their seats and fully engaged – the first from Dr. Alan Flake of CHOP, who demonstrated an artificial womb that has the potential to significantly decrease the mortality and birth defects that can arise with premature births, and the second from Dr. Johann deSa, founder of Instadiagnostics, which is innovating healthcare at the point of care. Both companies have the potential to have a tremendous impact for patients.

My presentation was focused on how to develop a GTM plan for these types of startups that can stand up to the scrutiny of seed or first round funding. I was excited to present because not only do I love to see what’s coming next, I want to help what’s coming next get funded, get to market and get adopted.

My presentation followed the steps of the Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™ – what you need to do to get to the point where you can develop a defensible GTM plan, especially necessary when you are looking for funding. These steps are:

0. Objectives

1. Research

2. Positioning and Messaging

3. Brand Strategy

4. Brand Identity

5. GTM Plan

As part of the presentation I also gave out this handout, which includes tips for conducting research. Basic competitive, industry and prospect research is within any entrepreneur’s grasp – you just need to know where to look and what to look for. My Tip Sheet will help!

One thing that I emphasized throughout the presentation was setting realistic and measurable goals. Too often entrepreneurs, in an attempt to impress investors, are unrealistic as to how hard it is, and how long it takes, to actually get your product market-ready, launch and acquire customers. Your objectives need to reflect your reality of time, money and resources, as well as market readiness and competition. Seasoned investors will appreciate that you understand the road ahead.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of my presentation, or learning more about the Zer0 to 5ive Roadmap™, please reach out to me via LinkedIn or at

Top 3 Reasons Why PR Professionals Should Work From Home and the Office

By Alyson Kuritz

In recent years, the topic of telecommuting has been a divided issue. Some swear that in-office interaction boosts creativity and, in turn, productivity. Others feel that working at home is the optimal environment for best employee performance. A recent survey found that 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce says they would like to telework at least part time.

There are pros and cons to both in public relations, which is why I theorize that a combination is the best way to get the best out of those in this demanding industry.

Greater Productivity

The heart of public relations means sharing clients’ messages, announcements, points of view and thought leadership with the media. Shortly after that press release is distributed or the new proactive pitch goes out, it’s time to make the ever-important calls to media. Easy right? Not for those who work at an agency and don’t have a personal office.

With experience at a few agencies, I have found that a popular office environment involves an open space or “bullpen.” This means constantly vying to find that open conference room or borrowing someone’s office while they’re in a meeting to avoid disturbing colleagues – not always an easy task.

Working from home a few days per week offers PR professionals the freedom to make dozens of calls without distracting anyone and the ability to pitch your client without background noise of what happened on last night’s Game of Thrones.

Improved Home and Work Life Balance

PR pros tend to work long hours. Oftentimes this means traveling to meet with clients in person, facilitating media interviews at trade shows, and managing in-person media tours. All of these can eventually take a toll on personal and family time. By having the option to work from home a few days per week, employees are able to participate in family dinners or enjoy happy hours with friends.

Eliminating a commute, even a couple of days per week, can improve employees’ overall stress levels. Not only does this mean that they don’t have to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but those with significant commutes can also hit the snooze button a few more times.

Enhanced Communication and Tech Knowledge

When not directly in the same space as co-workers, there is dependence on phone, email and, in my case, Gchat and Google Docs to communicate with colleagues. This means clearly explaining yourself, staying on top of deadlines and being cognizant of what your team members might be working on.

In addition, my colleagues and I are always on top of the latest presentation technologies. You name it, we’ve tried it. This has been an advantage for our clients who are not local to the area. Whether presenting the latest PR plans or facilitating a media or analyst interview, the fact that we have experience working remotely has proven to be a true asset in this industry.

The Future of Work from Home in PR

While it may not be suitable for all industries, working from home a few days per week certainly provides unique benefits for public relations agencies, PR pros and clients.

As technology closes the gap (and commute) for a majority of the workforce, I predict more and more PR agencies will warm up to this idea, finding they can save on commuting time and costs, while increasing productivity and satisfaction.

Winter Retreat 2013

Winter Retreat 2013

The ground was covered in snow, but our Zer0 to 5ive winter retreat warmed up our Philadelphia offices for a few days in December (quite literally in the conference room!)

Bringing the team together in this way was great — building and reinforcing the culture of Zer0 to 5ive, from the principals to the interns. Activities such as fun, educational presentations from team members or the 2013 review/2014 preview may be the official parts of the agenda, but the simple act of noshing on bagels and donuts with lots of coffee in the morning with different coworkers was just as valuable.

We’ll be posting some of our great presentations on this blog in the months ahead, including:

  • Crossing the Chasm (a perennial favorite) and its vital approach to marketing technology companies
  • Social media tactics to help companies connect with their customers and create conversions
  • Google Hummingbird’s impact on SEO techniques
  • Optimizing meetings for greater productivity and less boredom
  • Web development techniques that boost the quality of your website

These sessions drove great dialogue with our interdisciplinary team of PR pros, designers, developers and project managers. Every retreat generates new ideas that we carry forward into our day-to-day activities and add to our toolbox.

All in all, the retreat was a great capper for 2013 and a great preview of 2014 for the entire Zer0 to 5ive organization!

Happy Holidays to All!

10 Things I Never Thought I’d Know


This summer marks my seventh (!!) year since becoming a “professional”, and I can definitely say that I have learned more in my career than I ever did as a student. Working in this industry, there are challenges and decisions to be made every day that test your instincts and your ability to strategize, plan, and execute effectively. And I love it.

While there are many lessons learned that seem obvious, such as never opening up a conversation with a reporter with “did you see my email?” or always making sure there is a plan with measurable goals in place, there are a number of things I have learned that I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d know.

Working at an agency like Zer0 to 5ive, we have the luxury of touching various companies each day, each with different challenges and audiences. As a result, we need to be well versed in their industries so we can pitch, write and plan intelligently.

Here are the top ten things I have learned in the past seven years that I never thought I’d know, but have helped me understand and pitch my clients effectively. Some are interesting, some are not, and one day, I may even use them outside of work…like when I am watching Jeopardy?

I hope you enjoy them, and I look forward to seeing your #11 in the comments.

  1. The most hated industries in America are telecom, banking, and airlines
  2. The number one stress among nurses is incivility
  3. 90% of deliveries made to an auto dealership are made at night
  4. Staples is the 2nd largest Internet retailer (next to Amazon)
  5. A trash container for business can cost up to $20,000 and is frequently stolen by other waste services companies
  6. One in every 1,000 to 1,500 intra-abdominal surgeries results in a sponge left behind in a patient
  7. The number of dollar bills currently in circulation in has risen by 42 percent since 2000
  8. 75 percent of all withdrawal transactions occur at the ATM; nearly 90 percent of deposit transactions still take place at the bank counter
  9. The 131 million Americans who watch video on the Internet watch on average about 3 hours of video online each month at home and work
  10. The largest growing segment of the population to be affected by HIV/AIDS is African American women and girls

Post by Kathleen Fusco
Zer0 to 5ive Director


Zer0 to 5ive’s Campaign with OraSure and “Magic” Johnson Recognized in PRWeek

OraQuick Magic Johnson Conan O'Brian

Meghan Sinclair/CONAN

The last few months have been a busy time at Zer0 to 5ive as the team prepared for the launch of the “Make Knowing Your Thing Today” campaign on March 25th. The campaign was an integrated marketing program for the OraQuick® in-home HIV test and included Earvin “Magic” Johnson as the spokesman for the campaign.

From a TV and radio tour to a multi-channel advertising effort, the Zer0 to 5ive, OraSure and Ferrara & Co. teams worked together to drive awareness of the OraQuick test and of the need for people to know their HIV status.

Going forward, the “Make Knowing Your Thing Today” campaign will feature nationwide activation events and a contest at where participants can upload a photo or video about why they got tested for HIV. The winner will be part of a future OraQuick promotion.

See the full story from PRWeek and check out some of the coverage from the Make Knowing Your Thing Today campaign with Magic Johnson:

Conan on TBS

NOW with Alex Wagner on MSNBC

Post by Bob Minkus
Zer0 to 5ive Sr. Strategist

The Importance of a Company Culture
Company Culture Teamwork Puzzle

How important is the culture of a company? Well, according to one of the most successful CEOs today, it’s exceedingly important. Warren Buffett, business magnate, investor, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, wrote in an annual letter to company shareholders, “culture, more than rule books, determines how an organization behaves.”

Company culture is defined as the personality of a company. It outlines the mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, and work environment. From top executives to newly hired employees, a company should be connected by a common culture. For Google, fueling employees with complimentary breakfast, lunch, and dinner is an important element in their culture. The organization has about 25 themed cafes at its Mountain View, California location, offering employees free food at a cost to Google of around $7,500 per person, per year, as estimated by Business Insider.


Fall Retreat 2012: Going for the Touchdown


For a couple of days in November, the entire Zer0 to 5ive team holed up in our Philadelphia offices for our Fall Retreat. The focus of this retreat was education and we were able to learn with some very hands-on activities that went beyond PowerPoint presentations and into the application of the principles.

There were some of the usual retreat activities, all with a football spin for fall: account reviews, a crash course from ouraward-winning creative group and way too much caffeine. However, the opportunity to brainstorm with local entrepreneurs on a variety of topics, including branding, website design and go-to-market plans, made it a touchdown for all of the team members.

The beauty of these interactive group sessions are undoubtedly the unique lessons that each individual departs with. Here are just a few key takeaways that struck me as often overlooked – but ultra-important – best practices, for those starting a new business or endeavor.

Get off the sidelines and into the game: If you have a business idea, do yourself a favor: get organized and get the ball rolling. Don’t lose out on a great opportunity because you hesitated for too long. Just like there are new players coming from college to the pros every year, someone will be always be rising up to steal your thunder.

Develop a good game plan: Start with a clear and concise business plan. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m pretty sure neither was any successful business! It’s the foundational elements like this that keep you on track and focused on the end goal, even when the unexpected happens.

Identify your fan base: Whether you’re offering a product or a service, know who you’re trying to appeal to. Some business models are best suited for the mass market while some appeal to highly targeted niches. Knowing who you’re targeting allows you to answer the key sales questions of how, when and where to target them. If you can’t answer those questions correctly, you might end up looking at a lot of empty seats.

What are your best practices for entrepreneurs? Leave them in the comments below!

Post by Kristen Everett
Zer0 to 5ive Senior Strategist
Twitter: @krissyeverett

Meet Jennifer

Jennifer Moritz
Name: Jennifer Moritz

Title: Managing Principal

Education: University of Pittsburgh, B.A. in Journalism

Hobbies: Music, photography, independent film, traveling, food, visiting NYC playgrounds

Favorite TV Shows: Six Feet Under, Shameless, Homeland

Favorite Singer/Band: The Clash, REM, Radiohead, The Smiths, Simon and Garfunkel

Favorite Book: Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger

Favorite Sports Teams: Pitt Panthers

Greatest Accomplishment: Becoming a mom

PR/Marketing Advice: Always know your topic cold. If you have confidence that your pitch will make a great story, it will be easier to convince a reporter of that.

Twitter handle: @j_moritz