Paul & Elisabeth Merage Foundation | Andre & Katherine Merage Foundation


M Michael Swenson

M Michael Swenson

Ford Professor of Marketing

Marriott School, Brigham Young University

Class Overview

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 products 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 simple framework that provides practical answers to these questions.  With the help of entrepreneur mentors, we identified five categories of best practices: (1) Bottom-Up Mindset, (2) Leveraging Competitive Angles, (3) Leveraging Leverage, (4) Think Big and Act Big, and (5) Launching Tactics. Each category includes entrepreneur-tested best practices that have contributed to successful new products and businesses.

Full-Day Module


  • 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 not Harder
  • Thinking Big and Acting Big—How David Beats Goliath
  • Launching the Startup with Marketing Tactics