3 Old School Marketing Strategies for Your Startup

October 29, 2016

10:30 am

The startup world is filled with innovation. From creative business practices to unique products, new is always better when it comes to entrepreneurship. And while innovation is spurred by new ideas, old-school marketing strategies are still just as effective as they were back in the day. Unfortunately, people stray from these practices because they feel the need to reinvent the wheel.

This often causes more harm than good because, when you really boil it down, startups share the ultimate goal with the most old-school businesses on this planet – making money and growing. This indifference for anything considered drab is nowhere as prevalent as it is in startup marketing arena. Everything needs to be cool, unheard of and so inventive that people will be scratching their heads for years to come.

In reality, however, there are a whole slew of marketing strategies that can do wonders for startups that are more old-school than high-tops and bell-bottom jeans.

Going Door-to-Door

It doesn’t get any more old-school than going door-to-door and telling people about your startup. While this strategy won’t work for everyone, it can be a great way to spread the word about who you are and what you do.

door to door sales bear

The most famous example of this strategy has to be Tinder, whose cofounder Whitney Wolfe took the dating app on a tour of universities with the single goal: attracting new users. Wolfe knew exactly how to approach this. She visited sororities on the campuses and got all the girls to install Tinder. She would then visit the fraternities in the vicinity and show them all of these girls that they already knew in real life. It goes without saying that the guys flocked to Tinder.

This ingenious campaign increased the number of users from 5,000 to 15,000 immediately. From there on, however, the whole thing exploded and Tinder became a household name. Tinder was a very unique product and not all startups can market themselves this way. Still, every little thing can help when it comes to your creating a successful startup.

Plus, the whole “traveling salesperson” way of life is very retro.

Going to Trade Shows

If you happen to be the owner of a startup that provides products and services for other businesses, like B2B startups, then exhibiting them at the right trade show might be the best thing to help get your startup some early success. Trade shows can be somewhat of an investment, but if you play your cards right, you will obtain many leads and make connections that make it all worth it.

Some key things to keep in mind when you do decide to invest the money, make sure you are at the right trade show, make sure your booth stands out somehow, guarantee that your trade show team knows what they’re doing, utilize social media, and follow up on the leads and the connections your team makes during the trade show.

Sell Merchandise

branded merchandise

Out of all the old-school marketing strategies, merchandising is one that startups are likely to do to spread the word about their new venture. It can be done relatively cheap, it helps boost the company’s visual identity and it can get people talking about your new startup. There is really no shortage of reasons to start using promo products, including some cold, hard numbers.

The most important thing is for startup owners not to neglect certain marketing avenues just because they do not feel as innovative and as disruptive as they thought they would. Keep in mind that nothing is off the table when it comes to growing their startup.


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Marcus Jensen is an IT professional. He is an Editor-in-Chief of, and writes about technology, business and marketing.