How To Use The Bullseye Framework For Marketing Channel Prioritization

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Bullseye FrameworkThe Bullseye Framework is a strategic planning tool used by startups and businesses to identify and prioritize marketing channels for growth. It encourages a systematic approach to finding the most effective channels to reach a target audience and achieve business goals.
Three RingsThe Bullseye Framework consists of three concentric rings, each representing a different stage of the channel selection process:
1. Outer Ring (Awareness): Identifying all possible marketing channels.
2. Middle Ring (Validation): Testing and prioritizing the most promising channels.
3. Inner Ring (Scaling): Focusing resources on the top-performing channels.
Awareness StageBrainstorm Channels: List all conceivable marketing channels without evaluating them.
Rank by Reach: Estimate the potential reach and exposure of each channel.
Rank by Cost: Determine the cost of testing each channel.
Validation StageTest Top Channels: Select a few top channels from the Awareness stage and run small-scale tests.
Gather Data: Collect data on the channels’ effectiveness, conversion rates, and costs.
Iterate and Eliminate: Based on results, iterate on strategies and eliminate ineffective channels.
Scaling StageDouble Down: Allocate more resources to the channels that perform best in the Validation stage.
Expand and Optimize: Optimize campaigns and strategies for scaling.
Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitor channel performance and make adjustments as needed.
BenefitsEfficiency: Focuses resources on channels with the highest potential.
Data-Driven: Encourages data collection and analysis.
Flexibility: Allows for adjustments based on real-world results.
Cost-Effective: Minimizes wasted resources on less effective channels.
ChallengesData Collection: Requires accurate data collection and analysis.
Resource Allocation: Deciding how much to invest in testing and scaling.
Competitive Landscape: Channels may become crowded with competitors.
Changing Dynamics: Marketing channels can evolve rapidly.
Examples– A software startup using the Bullseye Framework to identify the most effective customer acquisition channels.
– An e-commerce business testing various online advertising platforms to find the best-performing one.
– A mobile app developer experimenting with different app store optimization strategies.
ApplicationThe Bullseye Framework is particularly useful for startups and businesses looking to make informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing resources. It helps in avoiding the “spray and pray” approach and focuses efforts on the channels that yield the best results.
Iterative ProcessThe framework is not a one-time exercise but an ongoing, iterative process. As market conditions change and businesses grow, they should revisit and adjust their channel selection strategies.
Strategic GrowthBy systematically identifying and prioritizing marketing channels, businesses can achieve more efficient and strategic growth, ultimately reaching their target audience with the right messages through the most effective channels.



The premise is that when you grow a company from scratch, in most cases, you don’t have a massive marketing budget.

This requires a scientific method for marketing experimentation to prioritize those channels that have the highest potential.

Often, this marketing prioritization process will bring you to experiment with new marketing channels which might still be underutilized by your competitors, and for such reason also the ones with the highest potential.

The bullseye framework was manufactured by Gabriel Weinberg, and Justin Mares, in their book, Traction.

Let me give you a bit of background about the story of one of the authors, Gabriel Weinberg, and how they came up with this framework.

Enter DuckDuckGo

Gabriel Weinberg is the founder of DuckDuckGo (DDG), a search engine that offers private navigation on the web. Over the years, DDG has evolved into a set of tools that provide privacy for users around the web.

DuckDuckGo’s primary monetization strategy is still based primarily based on affiliate revenues generated when a user goes on a site like eBay or Amazon.

DDG’s business model revolves around a value proposition that emphasizes privacy.

This value proposition is quite powerful as it offers an alternative to Google, which primary business model is based on data tracking which enabled the search engine from Mountain View to build a multi-billion dollar business. 

DuckDuckGo makes money in two simple ways: Advertising and Affiliate Marketing. Advertising is shown based on the keywords typed into the search box. Affiliate revenues come from Amazon and eBay affiliate programs. When users buy after getting on those sites through DuckDuckGo the company collects a small commission.

DuckDuckGo itself has used a bullseye framework that prioritized on several marketing channels when growing.

But what are the primary marketing channels available to founders when first launching their company?

According to Weinberg and Mares, those can be traced back to 19 primary channels.

The bullseye framework in a nutshell

The bullseye framework follows three simple steps, intending to hit one target: traction!

  • The first layer is about what’s possible. In other words, this is a brainstorming phase in which the team starts to gather at least a strategy per channel that may be used to start “moving the needle of growth.”
  • The second layer is about what’s probable. In short, this is the phase where you start experimenting and testing the strategies that were brainstormed in the first step. Here it is crucial to start with inexpensive tests. That is not the phase where you have to go all in. Look at it as a testing phase. Where you start testing the market to see what works and what does not.
  • The inner ring is the bullseye. That is where you identified the channel or channels that are fueling the growth. Therefore, focus on them at least until they will bootstrap your startup to the next growth phase. Eventually, you’ll restart the process to identify which channel or channels will work for the next growth stage.

Bullseye Framework

In the book, Gabriel Weinberg identified 19 channels for growth:

  1. Targeting Blogs.
  2. Publicity.
  3. Unconventional PR.
  4. Search Engine Marketing.
  5. Social and Display Ads.
  6. Offline Ads.
  7. Search Engine Optimization.
  8. Content Marketing.
  9. Email Marketing.
  10. Viral Marketing.
  11. Engineering as Marketing.
  12. Business Development.
  13. Sales.
  14. Affiliate Programs.
  15. Existing Platforms.
  16. Trade Shows.
  17. Offline Events.
  18. Speaking Engagements.
  19. Community Building.

Each of those channels will be able to propel your organization into a specific growth stage.

It is important to understand that marketing prioritization isn’t a process that you do once, and it stops there. It is a continuous process.

The bullseye framework requires continuous tuning

When you finally master a marketing channel that propels you to the first phase of growth, that channel might lose efficacy over time, for several reasons:

  • Certain marketing channels are well suited for a specific reach. For instance, using niche blogs to propel your growth in the first phase is a great marketing strategy. Over time this channel might become not sufficient to bring you toward a second growth phase.
  • As your competitors find out that you stumbled upon an effective marketing channel, they will start to copy your strategy. Until that marketing channel becomes saturated, thus losing efficacy.
  • While growing your company, you might also be expanding the customer base and the audience you talk to. Thus, a marketing channel that worked to deliver a specific message to a niche might not work to spread that message further as your audience might not be there anymore. Thus you will need to figure out where your audience hangs out to expand the reach of your marketing message and trigger a further growth phase.

Key takeaway

The bullseye framework is a straightforward methodology – presented in the book “Traction – to prioritize the marketing channels that can help to grow your business.

According to Weinberg and Mares, the authors of Traction, this framework can be used to understand what of the 19 potential marketing channels can trigger the growth of your organization throughout the several growth stages.

Case Studies

Startup Tech Company

Situation: A new tech startup wants to launch an innovative app for pet owners.

Bullseye Framework Application:

  • Brainstorming Phase: They brainstorm marketing strategies such as reaching out to pet blogs, starting a viral challenge related to pets on social media, and offering referral bonuses for current users.
  • Testing Phase: The team runs a small ad on a popular pet blog and monitors the app’s downloads. They also start the viral challenge on Instagram and see an uptick in user engagement.
  • Bullseye: After analyzing the data, they find that the viral challenge brought in the most new users. They decide to invest more resources into social media marketing, specifically targeting pet lovers.

Local Coffee Shop

Situation: A local coffee shop wants to stand out in a crowded city.

Bullseye Framework Application:

  • Brainstorming Phase: They think of hosting local art events, offering loyalty programs, and advertising in local newspapers.
  • Testing Phase: After hosting a couple of art events, they notice a slight increase in foot traffic. The loyalty program also sees a decent sign-up rate.
  • Bullseye: Realizing the positive response from the art events, they decide to host these events more frequently, even incorporating art sales into their business model.

Online Fashion Retailer

Situation: An online fashion retailer wants to increase sales on their website.

Bullseye Framework Application:

  • Brainstorming Phase: They consider influencer partnerships, SEO optimization, and email marketing campaigns showcasing the latest fashion trends.
  • Testing Phase: After partnering with a mid-tier influencer, they see a surge in website traffic and sales. The email campaign also results in a decent conversion rate.
  • Bullseye: The influencer partnership proves to be the most effective. They decide to collaborate with more influencers in the future, focusing on those with audiences interested in fashion.

Educational Platform

Situation: An online platform offering courses in digital marketing wants to increase its student base.

Bullseye Framework Application:

  • Brainstorming Phase: Ideas include hosting free webinars, collaborating with colleges for credit courses, and offering affiliate programs to current students.
  • Testing Phase: The free webinar attracts a lot of participants, many of whom sign up for paid courses afterward. The affiliate program also sees good traction.
  • Bullseye: The webinars prove to be a hit. They decide to host them regularly, covering various topics in digital marketing.

Health and Wellness Blog

Situation: A blog focusing on health and wellness wants to increase its readership.

Bullseye Framework Application:

  • Brainstorming Phase: The team thinks of guest posting on popular health websites, starting a YouTube channel for fitness routines, and collaborating with nutritionists for expert advice.
  • Testing Phase: Their YouTube channel gains subscribers quickly, and the videos drive traffic back to the blog.
  • Bullseye: Seeing the success of their YouTube channel, they decide to produce more video content and even consider starting a podcast.

Key Highlights of the Bullseye Framework

  • Prioritizing Marketing Channels: The Bullseye Framework helps businesses prioritize marketing channels that have the highest potential to drive growth and traction.
  • Three-Step Approach: The framework consists of three steps: brainstorming, testing and experimentation, and focusing on the most effective channels identified.
  • 19 Primary Marketing Channels: The Bullseye Framework provides a list of 19 primary marketing channels, including social media ads, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and more.
  • Continuous Process: Marketing prioritization is an ongoing process as channels may lose efficacy over time or become saturated. Companies need to continuously reassess their strategies.
  • Small-Scale Experiments: The framework emphasizes starting with small-scale and inexpensive experiments to test different marketing strategies.
  • Focus on Efficacy: The inner ring of the bullseye represents the most effective marketing channels that should be the primary focus to drive significant growth.
  • Tailored Approach: The Bullseye Framework allows businesses to tailor their marketing strategies to their unique target audience and business objectives.
  • Gabriel Weinberg’s Success: The framework was inspired by Gabriel Weinberg’s success with DuckDuckGo, where he used a similar approach to achieve traction and growth.
  • Identifying Growth Stages: The Bullseye Framework helps identify which marketing channels are suitable for each growth stage of the business.
  • Adapting to Changes: Companies need to be adaptable and willing to explore new marketing channels as the business evolves and the audience changes.

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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