There is a very interesting blog that reviews the history of successful start-up companies. Unsurprisingly, the blog is called Start-up Review. The blog is edited by Nisan Gabbay and friends. So far they have reviewed some 30 start-ups, using a consistent format for describing the successful journey of these companies. They do some in-depth research, including interviews with founders, management and staff. Companies covered include both homeruns like Facebook and boot-strapped successes such as HOTorNOT.
When reading through these company case studies, I noticed that certain themes around marketing and market entry seemed to resurface consistently. The same elements, while not present in every company, appeared over and over again in different combinations. In other words: a pattern seemed to emerge.
I spend a short time categorising the marketing and market entry strategies of the companies. The resultant effort is shown below. Please note that my analysis is based on the case studies, I am convinced that it is incomplete and it may also be inaccurate. What is more interesting than the individual companies is the pattern itself.
Click on the picture for a larger version.
It is probably worth noting that the absence of a control group of unsuccessful companies limits the usefulness of this analysis. For example, it is possible that unsuccessful companies deployed the same marketing strategies at market entry and failed. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see that certain types of market entry and marketing strategies are used by several of the successful companies.