Nicole Pereira is a successful entrepreneur who has started and exited many agency brands in the past decade. She has launched more than 500 websites in her lifetime and continues to consult under the Chief Martech Officer brand name. She is the #6 HubSpot power user and well known for her advanced marketing automation strategies.
In addition to what was mentioned, social media can allow you to connect with industry influences to help you gain press and promotion.
It could be as simple as tagging someone prominent in your industry along with content you produce. This could lead to retweets, connections, and basically more visability
In my option, before UX and UI you need that marketing research and branding partner to do those items you mentioned. Your marketing head should have all that laid out so they can then guide your UX and UI designers on how to do their job.
I met these guys at the INBOUND14 confrence in Boston last year. Their pricing was way better than many things I was quoted before and they really do draw all thins by hand. They had a guy sketching people while there. They should be able to take you from start to finish within the scope of the project.
There are a lot of players in this market. Many that integrate with all the major CRMs and append and clean data.
I would say I get at least 1 email a day from a data vendor and I have been on countless demos and calls and because my client is so niche they never have more 5-10 records even viable for me.
I am sure for larger companies with broader markets this works well. They all tend to have very aggressive sales outreach. I have one company that has called me every 3 months for the past 2 years. At this point hes basically just asking about my health and the weather :)
Could it be called Sketchy? Yes. Does everyone do it in every industry to get insider info on competitor pricing and presentation.... Pretty much.
With that said if any do present as people you would like to work with, then for sure let them know what you were doing, that they made the cut, and that you would be honored to work with them.
You probably would benefit from HubSpot professional. For a startup the price may seem hard to swallow but if you find the time savings of not piecing together services and having disconnected reporting is your goal then this is the solution in my book.
If you are a startup in and incubator or accelerator you can also get a scholarship for 90% off your first year and 50% off your second.
If you look to go this route feel free to reach out. I can get the starting fee waived an negotiate lower rates.