A structured approach to traction

Over the last couple months, Gabriel Weinberg has been churning out post after thoughtful post related to startup marketing. Earlier this week he presented the Bullseye Framework for startups to structure their thinking around traction:

There are about 20 different traction verticals that we see startups use to get traction. It is hard to predict beforehand exactly which traction vertical will work best for your startup at a given time. You can make educated guesses (and you should!), but it is hard to tell until you start running tests whether a given vertical is the best one for you right now.

Their traction process is broken up into five steps: (1) brainstorming, (2) ranking, (3) prioritizing, (4) testing and (5) focusing. When people say “growth hacking” they generally mean steps #2-4 in this framework, an iterative process which leads to investments in acquisition channels (focus) by way of experiments.

If you’re interested in this topic, Gabriel has several other good posts on related subjects:

  • Traction mistakes covers several recurring mistakes, such as ignoring marketing while focusing on product development (because it’s a more comfortable topics).
  • Orders of magnitude provides some mental rules for thinking about scale/growth in factors of 10.
  • Traction verticals lists top channels that successful companies have leveraged to generate user growth.