Why Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting?


Karen Lauter Utgoff brings a hard-to-find combination of knowledge, tools, and experience to new venture teams, established small businesses, and research organizations aiming to develop customers, enter new markets, advance new products and services and/or commercialize technology.


She integrates state-of-the-art approaches from her own work, the lean startup, design thinking, and others to help clients come to grips with fundamental questions about customers, target markets, business models, competitors, resources, and go-to-market tools and tactics in the context of financial and operational resources.

Engagements are tailored to meet the needs of the client.

Services include:

Market & Customer Exploration

State-of-the-art techniques within reach

Effective marketing/sales programs and successful products focused on the right potential customers and market ecosystems.

Karen helps clients identify and explore their options so they can make better product and market decisions.

Validating potential customer segments and target markets before committing to them reduces risk. While traditional market research techniques are often too expensive or not applicable, there are tools and techniques that can help.

Karen works with clients to use state-of-the art approaches (such a lean startup methods and design thinking), publicly available information that is often overlooked, and her own tools to better understand go-to-market options and to support sustained, significant growth.

Contact Karen to learn more about exploring market and customer opportunities to reduce risk.

Entrepreneurial Marketing

A systems approach to developing customers

In the absence of a proven method for creating customers, Karen helps clients develop and assess initial go-to-market tools and tactics with the goal of finding a cost effective formula for creating new and repeat customers.

The formula for creating and retaining “customers” is at the heart of every successful organization. Established businesses entering new markets may need to reinvent or evolve their current formula. New ventures must find a formula that works for them. Disruptive market, industry, or technology trends can shake the reliability of tried and true approaches.

Karen helps clients invent (or reinvent) go-to-market and customer creation processes using a systems approach to marketing and sales that takes into account the steps every potential customer must go through, a wide range of tools, competitive dynamics, and industry trends. For companies considering the efficacy of their current marketing and sales programs, Karen conducts analyses to reveal gaps and overlaps as opportunities for improvement.

Find out how Karen can help you invent, reinvent, or improve customer creation and retention.

Venture Development

Market and business strategy to enable growth

Successful venture teams must align market, product and resource development. Karen helps entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial teams to integrate these so their ventures can make progress.

Karen works with founding teams to supplement their deep subject matter and technical expertise with methods and tools to address market-related strategic issues such as business model validation, customer/market exploration, competitive analysis, bottom up financial models, evidence-based business plans, and investor discussions.

As operations get underway, she helps founders design and implement initial marketing and sales efforts, stakeholder outreach, early positioning, and other fundamental go-to-market challenges.

Contact Karen today to discuss how she can help your new venture accelerate its development.

Technology Commercialization

From patent to product-market fit

Technology commercialization depends on more than great technology. Scientists, engineers and technologists reduce and manage risk by incorporating market and customer considerations into their efforts going “all in.” Karen collaborates to support the transformation of inventions and know-how into products and services that customers will value, buy, and use.

Karen helps inventors and technologists to iterate through make-or-break questions such as:

  • “Are there customers with a compelling need for our first product and who are they?“
  • “Is our technology a good basis for starting a business?”
  • “How will we fund technology and venture development?”

Get in touch today to learn more about how Karen can help you explore commercialization of your technology.

In addition to consulting engagements, Karen offers training and strategic counsel. Customized briefings and trainings enable participants to learn and practice new concepts, tools, techniques, and approaches.

Programs & Workshops

New capabilities and immediate progress

A session may be part of a larger ongoing project or standalone. In addition to workshops for individual businesses, Karen offers workshops and entrepreneurship training through venture accelerators, colleges, universities, research organizations, business incubators and small business support programs.

Programs include:

  • Entrepreneurial marketing strategy
  • Hypothesis-driven entrepreneurship
  • Product-market fit
  • Venture development basics
  • Non-dilutive funding
  • Revenue forecasting before going to market
  • Beyond the minimum viable product
  • Presentations and pitches
  • Technology commercialization

Each can be structured to allow for consideration of the client’s real business issues to make learning and output immediately relevant and valuable.

Please contact Karen to discuss programs or workshops that can help your organization.

Mentoring & Strategic Advice

Independent expertise and outside perspective

Outside perspective and new ideas help leaders and teams make progress on current concerns and persistent challenges.

Karen uses a disciplined approach and her broad-based experience to enable insiders to see with fresh eyes.

Mentoring and strategic counsel can be structured on an as-needed basis, as a series of ongoing meetings integrated with a specific internal effort, or as follow up to consulting or training.

New and difficult market-related challenges can be frustrating, especially when tried and true solutions don’t work. Karen focuses on enabling clients to identify and test new and different approaches. Her diverse experience and expertise at the intersection of markets, growth, and entrepreneurial management provides a unique resource.

Contact Karen today to explore how mentoring and strategic advice might help you make progress.