Ten Non-Scalable Ways of GTM for Early Stage Companies

When it comes to marketing for early stage startups, the first thought is typically to create scalable strategies. However, there are times when non-scalable methods can be just as effective, or even more so.

Here are ten non-scalable ways of go-to-market (GTM) for early stage companies:

  1. Cold calling and emailing: While not the most glamorous option, cold calling and emailing can help you connect with potential customers on a personal level. This allows you to learn more about your target audience and hone your messaging.
  2. Networking: Going to events and meeting people face-to-face can be an excellent way to get your name out there, build relationships, and gain valuable insights into your target market.
  3. Partnerships: Partnering with complementary companies in your industry can help you reach new audiences and expand your reach.
  4. Guerrilla marketing: Get creative with low-cost marketing tactics like street art or flash mobs that grab people’s attention and generate buzz around your brand.
  5. Host webinars: Webinars allow you to educate potential customers about your product or service in a personalized way while positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
  6. Leverage social media: Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be great places to engage with potential customers, promote content, and build relationships within relevant communities.
  7. Offer incentives: Offering incentives like free trials or discounts is a great way to attract new customers who may be hesitant about trying out a new product or service.
  8. Referral programs: Rewarding existing customers who refer new business is an effective way to grow organically through word-of-mouth marketing.
  9. Attend trade shows: Trade shows offer an opportunity to showcase your products/services in front of a captive audience while learning from other players in the industry.
  10. Send handwritten notes: In a world where digital communication is the norm, sending a handwritten note to a potential customer or partner can help you stand out and make a lasting impression.

While these methods may not be scalable, they can be effective in getting your early stage company off the ground and building momentum. By taking this personal approach, you have the opportunity to learn more about your customers and build relationships that will benefit your business in the long run.

Here are some real-life examples for each of the non-scalable ways of GTM for early stage companies:

  1. Cold calling and emailing: A customer relationship management (CRM) software startup might create a list of target customers, and then have their sales team make personalized cold calls to introduce their product and schedule a demo.
  2. Networking: A digital marketing agency might attend conferences related to marketing and advertising in order to meet potential clients face-to-face and establish relationships with other professionals in their industry.
  3. Partnerships: An online retailer that sells yoga apparel may partner with a yoga studio to offer discounts to their members in exchange for promoting the retailer’s products on social media.
  4. Guerrilla marketing: A coffee shop might send an employee out onto the street wearing a sandwich board sign that advertises a limited-time discount or free coffee giveaway.
  5. Host webinars: A software company specializing in supply chain management solutions may host webinars on topics such as inventory optimization or logistics planning to educate potential customers about their products while establishing themselves as thought leaders in the space.
  6. Leverage social media: An e-commerce store selling sustainable clothing may use Instagram influencers who align with their brand values to promote new product launches or sales events.
  7. Offer incentives: A meal kit delivery service might offer new customers 50% off their first week’s order to encourage them to try out their service.
  8. Referral programs: A pet grooming salon could incentivize existing customers by offering them $10 off their next appointment every time they refer a new customer who books an appointment.
  9. Attend trade shows: An electric car manufacturer may attend auto expos around the world, showcasing its latest vehicle models, engaging with visitors through interactive displays, and educating potential customers about the benefits of electric vehicles compared to traditional gas-powered cars.
  10. Send handwritten notes: A boutique floral shop may send handwritten thank-you notes to customers who place orders for special occasions like weddings or anniversaries, further personalizing and emphasizing the emotional impact of their service.