Paul & Elisabeth Merage Foundation | Andre & Katherine Merage Foundation


Michael J. Swenson, PhD

Michael J. Swenson, PhD

Christensen Professor of Marketing

Class Overview

Startup Marketing Essentials

Startup businesses must fight their way into the marketplace without the benefit of a familiar brand name, big money for flashy advertising campaigns, dream-team corporate talent, or large-scale product development programs. As a result, many new companies start with a whimper and fade out quickly. Yet some new companies start fast and accelerate. This module will help Israeli entrepreneurs and small business owners learn from field-tested entrepreneurs who have trained themselves to see the world of customers and marketing in ways that markedly improve their chances for success. 

As you develop your business idea and launch your new venture, consider the following questions: What is your competitive angle? What tactic will you use to break through customer hurdles? How will you turn your good competitive angle into a great one? How will you leverage your competitive angle and begin marketing your startup with little or no money?

After ten years of observing and interviewing over 100 entrepreneurs and starting five new ventures, my colleagues and I developed a framework that provides practical answers to these questions.  With the help of entrepreneur mentors, we identified five categories of best practices: (1) Employing a Bottom-Up Mindset, (2) Developing Competitive Angles, (3) Leveraging Leverage, (4) Thinking Big and Acting Big, and (5) Launching and Accelerating the Startup with Marketing Tactics. Each category includes entrepreneur-tested best practices that have contributed to successful new products and businesses.



  • Employing Bottom-Up, Tactic-Driven Marketing and Product Development    
  • Developing Competitive Angles to Make Competitors Irrelevant
  • Using the Ideation Process to Sharpen Competitive Angles


  • Leveraging Leverage—Working Smarter
  • Thinking Big and Acting Big
  • Launching and Accelerating the Startup with Marketing Tactics