You come up with a fantastic idea, you team-up and begin creating what’s in your mind. You think with yourself: Definitely, this would sell! However, when the moment comes, you feel depressed and disappointed. You’re not the only one in this field. Most of us have been there before. Marketing is an essential essence of running a new business. In startups, it gets more and more critical, since you need to make money fast, and in some cases, pivot the whole market due to customer feedback. Reading tips and tricks of marketing and dozens of academic books on marketing maybe increase your theoretical knowledge in how the marketing processes work, but no-one can deny that we learn the most in action. Before getting your hands dirty, It’s essential to check out some startup marketing case studies from different startups all around the world. Here we’ll take a look at five early-stage startups marketing strategies, the reasons for their success or the shortcomings which lead to failure.
1- Duolingo: User Generated Content boosted the company in the market
The first in startup marketing case studies is Duolingo. Duolingo is nearly the most popular language learning platform with more than 50 million users learning 38 different languages courses all with a team of less than 40. Duolingo knew that they wouldn’t be able to reach this amount of content on their platform by their current team. They had two choices. Either scale the team or postpone scaling the app, which none of them were good ideas at the moment.
Meanwhile, Duolingo understood that There were bilingual Duolingo community members who wanted to add languages we never thought they’d be able to offer because of the size of their team. So they turned to their community members and launched the Duolingo incubator platform.
The UGC (User Generated Content) pushed Duolingo forward more than any other thing, but this was because they could lead this in the right way. They Realized that different members would be interested in contributing to varying levels of commitment, so they built multiple ways to participate. They never asked the users for “Too Much” they just removed all technological barriers so that they won’t face any problems.
2- MOZ: Create the community and rule the market
It’s nearly impossible to be in the Online Marketing business and has not heard of MOZ. Besides their useful products, what made MOZ famous and could help them on their first years of appearance in the market was the Community Development Mindset. Moz community team succeeded in shaping a thriving community by moderating forums and starting conversations, Empowering others to keep conversations going, Blogging and content creation, Social interactions, Gathering product feedback
Identifying new members and partners and sharing symbols of membership.
The community associates program has been a fantastic help to Moz as a whole. It enabled them to leverage passionate users who want to take on the Moz voice and gain massive reliability in the SEO space.
3- New Relic: Target the end user
New Relic is a web application performance service designed to work in real-time with your live web app. From their launch in 2008 until now, they’ve managed to expand to 11,000 clients and monitor over 1 million websites and 1 billion Apps. They’ve got customers in a variety of fields and scales. They had a 69% growth in less than a year in 2015 but How is this possible?
New Relic’s marketing strategy was to target development community rather than selling to large development firms. They targeted Ruby on Rails programmers as their niche marketing and appeared where ever they could find them. This strategy led to popularity among those who would use their product. Items like t-shirts for users and meetups headed to a sense of community all built around their excellent product. The marketing approach was simple: convince prospects to sign up and deploy to get a t-shirt and let the product do the rest. In addition to this, they launched Online targeting advertising campaigns using Adtech.
4- Upworthy: Begin before launching!
Upworthy is not a high-tech startup or a different type of software tool. Upworthy is just viral content which touches user emotions. However, shortly after their launch (in 2012), Upworthy was facing traffic to the tune of more than 90 million visitors a month (by November 2013). Here’s how this is possible.
The success of Upworthy was not possible without the user stream coming from Facebook. Upworthy’s team created dozens of visually viral content and analyzed their virality with A/B tests. They wanted to find the user taste, and they achieved what they wanted. Now their Facebook page got more than 11 million subscribers.
It’s proved in startup marketing case studies that When the budget is limited, A/B test and accurate analysis can be a winning card.
5- Belly: An old-fashioned approach for a modern service
Belly is a digital loyalty program for Businesses; they could successfully run a startup in a tricky small business market. Belly has created a sustainable growth engine that has driven the company from 17,000 users to more than one million in only 15 months. They could help tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses solve their customer retention problems and create customer loyalty clubs. Selling such a service is tricky for a marketer, but Belly team could manage to make it a success.
Before building and launching the first version of Belly, the team spoke to hundreds of retailers in the Chicago district to understand merchant demands and requests. The critical lesson in customer development: leveraging customer interviews and research to help define the problem and pre-sell the solution.
Among all startup marketing case studies, Belly is one of the most interesting ones. Belly’s early customer traction strategy was developed through three main elements: obsessive focus on customer development, direct sales localized to their market area, localized network effects, and continual iteration on the product to drive adoption and viral sharing through a gamified experience.
Belly team began the first marketing in the Old fashion way: Calling the small and medium businesses in the Chicago region. With this method, they were able to gain 500 merchants and use the network effect to go to the other regions.