The Traction Bullseye Framework by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares in their book, Traction, is a simple, but effective process on how a startup team can focus in on the right channels for distribution resulting in a surge of customer acquisition. Here is a summary of key elements from their book.
Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution— not product— is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished. So it’s worth the time to do the needed research to find the single best distribution channels for a startup.
Using the Bullseye Framework to find your channel is a five-step process:
The BUllseye Framework
Brainstorm – reasonable ways you might use each traction channel. Seek to counter your biases to find the most effective traction path for your startup. You should know what marketing strategies have worked in your industry , as well as the history of companies in your space . It’s especially important to understand how similar companies acquired customers over time, and how unsuccessful companies wasted marketing dollars. The Bullseye Spreadsheet is a great guide for this process.
Rank – The ranking step helps you organize your brainstorming efforts. It also helps you start to think a bit more critically about the traction channels in aggregate.
Column A (Inner Circle): which traction channels seem most promising right now? Column B (Potential): which traction channels seem like they could possibly work? Column C (Long-shot): which traction channels seem like long-shots?
Prioritize – identify your inner circle: the three traction channels that seem most promising.
Test – The testing step is where you put your ideas into the real world. The goal of this step is to find out which of the traction channels in your inner circle is worth giving focus. You want to design smaller scale tests that don’t require much upfront cost or effort. For example, run four Facebook ads vs. forty.
Focus on what works – If all goes well, one of the traction channels you tested in your inner circle produced promising results. At any stage in a startup’s lifecycle, one traction channel dominates in terms of customer acquisition. As you dive deeper into it , you will uncover effective tactics and do everything you can to scale them until they are no effective due to rising cost or saturation.