How To Use The Bullseye Framework For Marketing Channel Prioritization

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize over the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. 

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 on 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, 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 which provide privacy for users around the web.

DuckDuckGo primary monetization strategy is still based primarily based on affiliate revenues generated when a user goes on a site like eBay or Amazon. DDG business model revolves around a value proposition which 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, which in 2018 passed the hundred billion-dollar mark in revenues:


DuckDuckGo itself has used a bullseye framework which 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, focusing 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 in 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 which 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, while 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.

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