While all marketing strategies contains a similar structure when it comes to the things that are important for an effective marketing strategy. When it comes to Startup Marketing, it still holds the similar structure, provides a challenge part of the time because of the limited resources; time, money, or talent.

In this guide we will discuss:

  1. What is startup marketing?
  2. Steps of startup marketing
  3. Case studies of successful startups


Steps to effective start up marketing 

Set out your strateg

A marketing mix is a combination of relatable elements used by a business to ensure functional success and the needs and expectations of customers are met in a timely fashion. The challenge for marketing is to ensure that the elements of the mix mingle together well to achieve the marketing objectives. Traditionally the marketing mix has been taken to comprise four elements: (Product, Price, Promotion and Place). Recently,it’s more accepted to add on three more elements which are People, Process and Physical.

A very important point is that it is critical that all these elements work well together in attempt to reach the marketing goal. Also this extension brings the marketing component in closer function with human and operations within the organization.

Set your targets and define your goals

The best way to find create a plan for your specific situation, in your environment and tailored to your projections of what success would be: S.M.A.R.T(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound) goals.

Finding your niche or place in the market

To effectively know how to find a niche let us look at 4 of some of the most successful startups and look at a brief summary of how they achieved their success.

Case studies 

After the US limped out of a recession the world was introduced to an era that brought a “unicorn”, a billion dollar value tech company, and a growth of a new ecosystem of influential technology. These are the companies that have dawned a new era.


In 2008, three friends applied the marketplace model to people’s air mattresses and extra rooms, Within three years, helped usher in the sharing economy. Now, two million people a night stay in an Airbnb-listed property. Its latest valuation is more than $35 billion–higher than the market cap of Hilton or Marriott. With over half a million listings in 190 countries, Airbnb has practically become the market leader for travel accommodation.

Airbnb marketing strategies to learn from:

Brand partnerships

Airbnb has shown the world how to run successful partnering can provide some exposure and generate a lot of buzz. Successful Airbnb partnerships include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, UK bookstore chain Waterstones and even the French government. They simply asked themselves what customers wanted to enjoy the most who love both brands.. The brand crossover offers, something you can only offer together. For example, with KLM a contest, winners could spend a free night in a luxury ‘Airplane Apartment’.


Nowadays if you have a product launch you have to include as many social influencers as possible. Invite journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters and Instagram stars to your events. In 2015, Airbnb hosted a ‘floating house’ publicity stunt on the Thames River in London with a #FloatingHouseParty where attendees streamed live and spent the night on social media. Outcome: 340 press releases in just the UK , making 70,000 page hits, 10,000 new users, and over 200 million social impressions!

And like everywhere celebrities make excellent ambassadors and probably the best influencers. Airbnb has taken full advantage of the prominence and power of celebrities.

Take risks/Spin random outcomes to benefit

Twitter banter and PR fails have been used commonly as mediums of success. Anything trending these days(bad or good) can be used to progress a company’s worth further. In 2015 a man locked in a bookstore was spun urned into positive press for Waterstones and Airbnb.

Quality imagery

Airbnb appreciate the fact that quality content demands an audience. The company spared no expense hiring professionals to document and elevate the company image to travelers who became visually inspired by the Airbnb website.

Build a community

Airbnb is a community of person to person accommodation providers that are based purely on trust between each other. They engagement is high so detail oriented :profiles, payment e.t.c which is much better than hoteliers. The quality accommodation, excellent locations, reasonable pricing, ease of access and authentic experience made Airbnb truly a step beyond their competition and they would make sure everyone knew so through advert campaigns, gossips threads online, influencers. The kicker is the local hosts who are like live in tourist guides as they would educate and inform their guests on locations, best transportation, hazards and best eateries in their vicinity. The locals beyond getting good deals would also act as impromptu marketers for the company.

Industry Trademark

Airbnb is a successful brand and company but the true achievement lies in becoming a brand lifestyle experience and one that offsets comparisons or belittles comparisons with competition; hotels. The industry,thought too big to ever invite any competition were outmatched and outmaneuvered by a bomb ass marketing plan.


The world’s biggest social network crossed the billion-user threshold in 2012. More recently it’s reaches extends to approximately 2.45 billion people monthly. They say in business timing is everything. The raid to explaining the success of the marketing plan is intertwined with the famous business idea,” timing is everything”. It is widely accepted that Facebook was the natural beneficiary of an era of bright futures and possibilities. From the opening up of broadband possibilities and broader audience reach due to efforts by the preceding Friendster and MySpace.

This is why Facebook to many people was meant to win. Starting slow with Harvard students only with an email log in gradually spreading to other universities, corporations, highschools etc. The careful approach to growth gradual expansion and reliable technology infrastructure,was made simpler by aiming to avoid the mistakes made by their predecessors. Their early milestones and goodwill pulled smart and experienced engineers that innovated through new tools and technologies through which Facebook was able to get a grip on proprietary technology platform, optimized to handle the demanding requirements of serving (eventually) hundreds of millions of users simultaneously.

Tesla and Space X

Like every other business you are either innovating better than the market, pricing better than the market or you have a great reputation. We’ve already seen elements of both in the last two examples and the US electric car was no exception when Elon Musk and Tesla came in to the picture. His marketing plan was exemplery: when the flagship Model S in 2013 the media brandished it “the best car ever tested” after slapping an almost perfect score of 99 out of 100 Consumer rating on it. Trade press sang it’s praises and mainstream media had nothing to do but follow suite. In September 2014 the car reached peek sales 2500 units sold and the car is consider and industry staple of electric car production. The company trademark is focusing on one product at a time. To stay competitive Tesla expanded it’s clientele to open up to the wider range of people. They also manufactured and advertised their company in places like the Netherlands and California plus the formed strategic partnerships with useful but influential companies.

Elon Musk’s pair of innovative companies inspired by the moon have changed multiple industries’ trajectories. The two companies have gone down two different roads; Tesla began the decade by going public, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft, in 2010. Space X’s market capitalization is in the region of an excess of $33 billion and is a partner of NASA. Tesla keeps pulling the interest of consumers and investors with it’s innovations making even luxury car producers like BMW and BENZ look into the electric car industry becoming the best-selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018.

Now we know how other startups founds their way let us set a blueprint of what we have learned.

  1. Networking is vital.
  2. Focus and start small
  3. Make an Email Marketing Lead List.

For every subscription you receive you should aim to retain their email address. Why? Because it’s 2020 but we still rely on email for business dealings as a primary means of communication. The numbers on email lists show a clear: Airbnb, Tesla uses Sales force Marketing cloud taking full advantage of advanced analytics, dynamic content and remarketing pixels and Facebook championed it. One of the biggest weapons for marketers is the unimaginable logs of data available for study and use(manipulation). We can use actual numbers and figures to improve the project campaigns turning marketing from what may have been deemed ant art to a promisingly exact science of ROI(return on investment) and engagement.

Advanced analytics allows you see how long your subscribers spend on your email and their immediate reaction of the subscriber on seeing your email. This shows you the impact of your email marketing through an “engagement time distribution”.

So based on this distribution you can adjust your strategy and learn the most effective way to market yourself.

Pixel retargeting is one of the most widely used form of marketing. If someone visits your site a pixel(JavaScript) is stamped on their browser making that browser cookied. I’m sure you’ve received notice from a few sites you’ve visited asking for permission to accept cookies…what it means is after the person leaves said site that “cookie” points out which other sites you visit so they can tell which kind of ads to run to you and which pages you visited. So with all this information and direct access to the target makes success very high. Facebook pixel is exactly this and does this at a larger scale,faster and easier.

Regular industry related content

There are many benefits associated with generating content that is well connected to the industry needs. Besides higher search engine rankings, more traffic to your site, to start, the benefits of social proof of your products or brand will stabilize your business. Regular posts and content writing will not only give you a good reputation but establish you as a source of information. And since your information will be tailored for your niche you will be a reliable source. Tesla, Facebook, Airbnb are heavy content providers for their niches. As of July 2019,Facebook generates 100 million hours of daily video watch time. Users generate 4 million likes every minute. More than 250 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook= 350 million photos per day

Provide perks for subscribers

There has to be a added bonus and incentive to give your email address. Higher value content and perks are just a few of the ways create connection with subscribers. Facebook tested and is working with reward programs for loyal subscibers and there are also packages like in app purchase discounting services provided. In a market filled with random content,if you provide a home for a certain genre people can trust rely on then they will give you and in turn your brand/product a measure of loyalty.

Leveraging big audiences with guest posting

Starting from the bottom says that your own blog and or posts may not garner much attention but engagement might be sparked if you are smart by engaging other,bigger audiences be it bloggers, YouTubers or instagramers. Depending on your budget,guest appearances gives unique opportunity to be heard in general and by the host’s unique audience too. Guest appearances are free exposure. This is obviously as a supliment to your own blogging but inviting guests to feature is the best way to earn friends,like saying…what do you think?

Learn to keep interest going from leads

After collecting a list of subscribers- and emails, your job is to keep sending information and updates on their interests. Answering their questions and updating may help them on a buying decision so it is necessary to keep up appearances. Links to great content and not useless alerts make for great interactions. Start polls, ask questions and provide various platforms where they can respond and they can see their input contribution. Intriguing biweekly updates on what is going on with you or improvements on your products should be enough.

Making use of social media presence

To stay relevant in the era you need at least one social media outlet for your products and/or brand. Knowing not one shoe fits all you must find one that subscribes to what your particular niche is. The guides would point towards: photography and fashion on instagram, business advertising on Google or Facebook etc. Finding the right portal to amplify your content and direct the right kind of traffic towards the product will feel like trying to get a donkey to drink water at times, but after some experience things will get better. Find the right that fits, where you post content that isn’t just quality but the type people share naturally and want to show others. Participation should be mandatory on your end you should be very lovely. A small template shows a guide to what may likely be a customary fit:

We have already touched on how the three companies we detailed used soçial media almost as a staple to their success now the rest is up to you.

Charity begins at home

What is there to say except… sometimes you just need to start small-start by letting your family, friends know about your life and business. Ask them to share the content and ask them to comment on what they think about the product and brand. Follow theme; post on local threads familiar to you, discussion forums or even get a post in the local newspaper. If you can do public speaking then that would be an added promotional advantage. This will show you as somewhat of an expert on the subject. Mention of books or other related projects will also add on to the subterfuge of being the industry number one source and best outlet. But if you can afford to just hire a Public Relations firm that will handle press release and publicity. Facebook began with Harvard, then local universities, and schools. Tesla began with it’s niche crowd then opened up to the public and Airbnb began with a select location when advertising their company.

Listing your brand on online directories.

There is no sure way to get anything on this platform but there are tried and trusted methods to broaching almost any complicated matter. Here is a list of directories that won’t just help with SEO rankings and organic traffic to your product but also give you some measure of legitimacy.

Stretch your budget the smart way

Be smart,savvy. When customers are satisfied with the product or service they would not mind a quick referral. Incentivise the referral. You stand to gain much more by just going that extra step after you have already bagged a customer.

Go beyond paid advertising

AdWords are a reason to achieve success in the future but there should be more clever substitute marketing opportunities available to a creative mind. Like one lawyer who hired film students on a tiny budget to do ads that would run on local TV determined to make a name for himself. Whether or not it worked is up for debate but truly there are a number of different ways to market a product-it’s just about who you are trying to appeal to.

An unforgettable experience

Give your customers the best customer experience, give them an amazing time. There are a plethora of amazing products and brands in the world that deserve to be seen but not all deserve to be experienced. Aim to have a good product that functions only as advertised but if the customer experience is top tier then that has all the potential to drive sales through the roof. Whatever that can make the customer’s life easier; treat customers like each one is your grandmother (in terms of care) and shock and awe them onto never leaving your site again or cheating with another brand! With all three of the companies we canvased the most definitive thing was the way they made customers,subscribers and even critics smile and beam about their product. Serve,Support, fulfill and the sky is the limit.


In conclusion, much can be said on the topic of success. We have endeavored to picture success from the eyes of those who have left a name to be remembered through time and we have through our own humble means ventured into doing more of the same if not better. So this article is exactly that: a guide into startup marketing in the current age with apt examples and a step by step process meant not to assure success but help give a healthy probability of it.