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  • Writer's pictureTamara

Marketing strategy for startups

Nowadays, there are a lot of different & disparate confusing concepts which leads us to forget about how everything fits together and create disparate strategies & marketing & sales activities. So let’s first look at how everything fits together so far.

Customer acquisition


Your customer acquisition process is overall guided by your company's "strategy" that you already have defined in the previous steps (of course, subject to change). The strategy encompasses the problem or underserved need that you are solving, the target customers, the solution & your USP, your value proposition and your branding and so on. Based on this, you can tailor the messages you want to communicate to your potential customers at each stage and the channels through which you will deliver the messages. Usually, your customer acquisition process can be broken down into 4 main steps: Marketing (Awareness & Interest), Sales (Decision & Purchase), Retention (usage, experiences and services) and Advocacy.


In the beginning, your potential customers have no idea you or your product exist. So marketing activities focus on bringing awareness to and interest in your product.


Once your potential customers are interested in your company or product, they start evaluating it. So sales regroups all the activities you do in order to convince the lead to become an actual customer.


At this point, your lead became a customer and you need to provide him with the best experience so that he comes back. In fact, Retention is often underestimated but it's important is high, as you will see in the Block 5: Retention.


Finally, with the rise of social media and sharing behavior, you want your customers to be your advocates and market your solutions for you, thereby increasing awareness and closing the loop.


We are currently working on the details of each of these topics and will release relevant Block ASAP. In the meantime, we invite your to check out those podcasts about Marketing & Sales from Swisspreneur or write to us with any questions or if you need support!


B2C sales

In the meantime you can listen to Alan Frei interview with Swisspreneur "B2C Marketing Framework for Startups". Or check out the key points here:

  • In the beginning people don't buy your product, they buy you and your vision, so have a great story. Test different stories to see which one works best.

  • 3 steps for B2C marketing

  • Do the things you can for free

  • Focus on your conversion rates by reducing clicks or do the "grandmother test" to improve your process

  • Bring traffic to the site but test it first to determine what works best

  • Some tools to use: Google Analytics, a marketing plan in a google spreadsheet, Asana

Alan Frei is the co-founder of, an e-commerce platform for sex toys and lingerie. Before starting Amorana, he experimented with a variety of other projects such as and LooksOfLove, from which he learned what it takes to make a company successful. Alan is a University of Zurich alumni and headed the University’s startup center. He lives a minimalist lifestyle, counting less than 120 items in his personal possession.


B2B Sales (1/2)

For B2B sales you can check out the interview with Lars Mangelsdorf or the summary in 60 seconds below.

The Episode In 60 Seconds

The ABC of B2B sales

First Contact

  • Consider a mix of standardized outreach via cold emails and personalized strategies via phone or more creative means (ever thought about sending your prospects a shoe?)

  • Don’t pitch your product upon first contact. Ask questions about your customer’s pain points and wishes.


  • Don’t just demo all your features. Know what will create value for this specific customer.

  • If possible, demo on-site to establish a more personal relationship.

  • Even if you can’t convince the customer, ask for a referral to someone else in the industry.

Tools to help you close

Documents you need

  • Data security whitepaper

  • 1-pager of your product

  • Testimonials of happy customers, if possible

KPIs of your sales team

  • Accounts Receivable vs target

  • Conversion rates after first meeting. 30% would be desirable

  • Diversified leads: ⅓ big accounts, ⅔ small / medium accounts


B2B Sales (2/2)

Finally, Manuel Hartmann, founder of SalesPlaybook gives great insights during his Q&A with Swisspreneur.

Manuel Hartmann is the Founder of SalesPlaybook, a Swiss sales accelerator for B2B startups. Before starting the SalesPlaybook, Manuel was part of Onedot, where he increased sales by 260% over 2 years. He holds a Masters of Business Innovation from University of St. Gallen and spent three years as a consultant at Accenture.

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