5 Uncommon Marketing Concepts That Could Give You An Edge As A Startup Founder

While it’s not necessary to be fluent in the language of business to be a successful entrepreneur, it helps for two main reasons. The first and most obvious is that it makes communicating with other people in the business world easier. The second and less obvious reason is that different concepts and terms act as mental models and help you see different situations and problems from different perspectives.

Consequently, being aware of startup and marketing terms which are not common knowledge can give you an edge as a founder because they would help you think about problems outside of the box, with “the box” being defined from what is common knowledge among most startup founders.

1. Guerilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional, low-cost marketing strategy designed to achieve maximum exposure with minimal resources. It often involves creative and memorable campaigns that generate significant buzz and viral attention.

A famous example of guerrilla marketing is the Blair Witch Project. The film’s producers used a viral marketing campaign that included a faux documentary and a website filled with “missing person” posters to build intrigue and anticipation. This strategy helped the film achieve box office success on a shoestring budget.

For startup founders, guerrilla marketing offers a way to stand out and capture attention without significant financial investment. It encourages creativity and can lead to high returns on investment when executed well.

2. Dark Social

Dark social refers to the sharing of content that is difficult to track through traditional analytics because it happens through private channels like email, messaging apps, and private social media groups.

Dark social is important for startup founders to understand because it represents a substantial, yet often overlooked, channel for driving traffic and engagement. According to a study by RadiumOne, 32% of users share content only through private (i.e. dark social) channels. This means that a significant portion of your potential audience might be engaging with your content and sharing it in ways that you cannot easily see or track.

To leverage dark social, startup founders should focus on creating high-quality, shareable content that encourages private sharing. Implementing easy-to-use sharing buttons for email and messaging apps can also help facilitate this type of sharing. Additionally, using tools like UTM parameters in your URLs can provide better insights into traffic sources and help identify patterns in dark social sharing.

3. The Chasm

The Chasm, a concept introduced by Geoffrey Moore in his book “Crossing the Chasm,” refers to the gap between early adopters and the early majority in the technology adoption lifecycle. Crossing the chasm is crucial for startups to achieve mainstream success.

An example of a company that successfully crossed the chasm is Tesla. Initially, Tesla appealed to early adopters with its high-performance electric cars. By focusing on building infrastructure (like charging stations) and reducing costs, Tesla was able to appeal to the early majority and achieve widespread market acceptance.

For startup founders, understanding the chasm is important as it highlights the need to tailor marketing strategies to different segments of the market. Successfully crossing the chasm can lead to exponential growth and market dominance.

4. Evangelists

Evangelists are enthusiastic customers who promote a product or service passionately and voluntarily. They are valuable because their authentic endorsements can significantly influence others.

A notable example is the way Apple customers promote the brand. Apple’s strong base of loyal evangelists frequently shares their positive experiences, effectively acting as unpaid marketers. This word-of-mouth marketing is powerful and helps in building a robust brand reputation.

For startup founders, nurturing evangelists can lead to organic growth and increased credibility. Encouraging and rewarding customer advocacy can turn satisfied customers into vocal promoters, amplifying the reach and impact of marketing efforts.

5. Growth-Hacking

Growth-hacking is a marketing technique focused on rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective ways to grow a business. Coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, the term emphasizes lean, scalable, and cost-effective strategies tailored for startups.

An example of growth-hacking is Dropbox’s referral program, which offered additional storage space to users who referred friends. This strategy helped Dropbox grow from 100,000 to 4 million users in just 15 months.

For startup founders, growth-hacking is essential as it allows for innovative and resource-efficient ways to accelerate growth, often necessary when operating on limited budgets.