One of my favorite questions to ask startups is “How are you going to generate leads?” Inevitably the answer comes back along the lines of SEO, SEM, blogs, social media, etc. The major challenge, naturally, is that’s everyone else’s strategy as well. Oh, and the well financed and/or established companies have significantly more money to spend, especially when it comes to PPC ads.
I get most excited when a company has a proprietary customer acquisition strategy. Here are a few examples:
- Exclusive relationship to co-market their product with a complementary solution that already has great distribution
- Exclusive relationship with one or more lead generation sites that specialize in their industry (one company in town has done a great job with this approach)
- Proprietary method of generating prospect lists based on non-generally available data
Customer acquisition is hard and fiercely competitive. My recommendation is to think through proprietary customer acquisition strategies as a pre-requisite to starting a business.
What else? What are some other example proprietary customer acquisition strategies?