Creating a Self-perpetuating Marketing Machine

Launching a new service or product at the right time and in the right way is crucial for its success. In today’s dynamic times, the launch is also part of the innovation re-development since it is often best to bring out a so-called Minimum Viable Product (MVP), obtain real user feedback (instead of laboratory testing) and then iteratively improve until the offer has a high market fit. Lean start-up of your business idea is essential, explains Dominik Mahr, Professor in Digital Innovation and Marketing at Maastricht University and Scientific Director of Service Science Factory at UMIO, in the session on ‘Lean Commercialisation’. This session was delivered to the participants of the MaastrichtMBA programme during their educational week on Sustaining Competitive Advantage.

Delivering value to the market

  • What do you want your business to be remembered for after, let’s say, five years?
  • If you have to look back from the future on the successful implementation of your new service or product, what would be the key message?


The aim of asking yourself these kinds of questions is to extract the resonating focus that sticks with people and tells your success story. The answer might be ambitious and even a bit exaggerated, but it is about wanting to leave a footprint, about actually delivering value to the market; it is your company’s ambition.

A good brand slogan to achieve your ambitions

From this societal ‘how-we-want-to-be-seen-ambition’, we want to move to a more customer-related ambition. A slogan is often the starting point to communicate with the market, to create a buzz, and touches the hearts and minds of the customer. A good brand slogan is catchy, short and easy to remember. It should be a differentiator and the customer benefit must be clear.


People tend to make associations in the way they communicate. If we want to communicate something and put it in a slogan for example, there is often an underlying message. The ways in which people decode that message is through different frames of reference, such as nationality, religion or age, which means it can be interpreted in different ways.

Goals and digital marketing KPIs

From a mareting perspective it is important to see how we can optimise the mix of contemporary communication channels, such as personal selling, search engine advertising, sales promotion, PR advertising, influencer marketing and email marketing. How are these different channels in sync with each other when it comes to the different purchase decision steps a customer normally takes? For a marketeer it is important to know what the effectiveness of a certain channel might be. The elements you use depend on the company and the setting, but ultimately the main message is how we can combine the strengths of the various different tools in order to reach certain marketing goals. Each of these marketing goals is linked to a KPI with which we can measure the success.

Lean launch (or growth hacker marketing)

It is extremely difficult to acquire customers and keep them. In terms of marketing expenses, customer acquisition and customer retention are the most important, yet, they are the most difficult and often the most expensive. But a company is not the most trusted source of information for a customer. Other people’s experiences are more trusted and as a marketeer you need to make sure you use this resource. Customers tend to have more trust in recommendations than in advertisements. To launch the innovation, firms increasingly apply growth hacking marketing.


Growth hacking is about coming up with innovative new ways to grow your business quickly and at minimal cost. Aaron Ginn, co-founder of the Lincoln Network, says “the end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-perpetuating marketing machine that reaches millions by itself”. Ultimately, you need to create a good product/market fit, find the right people to create a buzz, engineer virality and use behavioural metrics.

Five Bolds Steps Vision Canvas

The key problem with implementing the innovation is that we tend to forget about our value proposition. The 5 Bold Steps Vision Canvas is a great tool that can help to achieve your vision. The canvas clarifies what supports your vision and what challenges it. It is about linking your vision with implementation and aligning your team around it.

Ready for implementation

This session on Lean Commercialisation was the fourth in a series of five provided by the Service Science Factory. The sessions allowed participants of MaastrichtMBA to experience all stages of the innovation process. They are now empowered to implement these processes and tools in their own organisation.



This article was conducted in cooperation with the recently launched UMIO – Prime platform, an initiative of UMIO | Maastricht University and the Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics.

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