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.


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.

More Business Frameworks

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived from whether the market is new or existing, and whether the product is new or existing.

Blitzscaling Canvas

The Blitzscaling business model canvas is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling, which is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency and focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.

Blue Ocean Strategy

A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created. At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken. Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

Business Analysis Framework

Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis helps an organization assess its alignment with strategic objectives to determine whether the current execution is in line with the company’s mission and long-term vision. Gap analyses then help reach a target performance by assisting organizations to use their resources better. A good gap analysis is a powerful tool to improve execution.

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a framework proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in Busines Model Generation enabling the design of business models through nine building blocks comprising: key partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Lean Startup Canvas

The lean startup canvas is an adaptation by Ash Maurya of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, unfair advantage based, and a unique value proposition. Thus, starting from mastering the problem rather than the solution.

Digital Marketing Circle

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.

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