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Old 25.11.2015, 13:42
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Marketing for startups

Are there any marketing companies in Switzerland catering to the needs and budgets of startups? As an expat entrepreneur, I find it very hard to market my business in Switzerland especially with the language barrier!
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Old 25.11.2015, 17:53
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Re: Marketing for startups

Hi JeevGE

it depends on the startup, however my uni. EHL works a lot for external companies, and "incubate" their startups.
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Old 25.11.2015, 19:36
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Re: Marketing for startups

Hey Artemiy,

Thanks for the info. However, don't you need to apply to EHL's entrepreneur or start up programme first?

My startup is a mobile app. I have been trying to market this in Switzerland but its been super difficult on my own, and one of the barriers is the language. But its difficult to find smaller marketing companies which could fit into a typical startup budget level.

Last edited by mirfield; 25.11.2015 at 19:37. Reason: Advertising element removed.
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Old 25.11.2015, 19:42
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Re: Marketing for startups

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Hey Artemiy,

Thanks for the info. However, don't you need to apply to EHL's entrepreneur or start up programme first?

My startup is a mobile app. I have been trying to market this in Switzerland but its been super difficult on my own, and one of the barriers is the language. But its difficult to find smaller marketing companies which could fit into a typical startup budget level.
Switzerland is a tiny market, look elsewhere for sales like all successful Swiss companies. Nestle for example makes 98% of it's sales abroad.
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Old 25.11.2015, 19:56
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Re: Marketing for startups

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Switzerland is a tiny market, look elsewhere for sales like all successful Swiss companies. Nestle for example makes 98% of it's sales abroad.
Agreed, it was an expensive realization! Though we are just a start up, based in Geneva and are trying to start in the local market initially...Ours is a sports networking app and I guess we are just looking for a couple of big marketing hits and rest would be word of mouth, hopefully (provided people like the app)
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Old 25.11.2015, 20:07
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Re: Marketing for startups

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Switzerland is a tiny market, look elsewhere for sales like all successful Swiss companies. Nestle for example makes 98% of it's sales abroad.
A classic example of men like beer, Archimedes is a man, therefore Archimedes should open a brewery

Big market, small market - it's all nonsense.

Just go out and build a product for which the following holds true:

A) people are willing to pay for

B) These customers refer enough people that at least >1 new customer is generated by word of mouth from your original happy customer, without that customer leaving.


This is exponential growth. Keep this up over a few years and then worry about marketing and big/small markets.

Also, remember - product comes first. If you haven't build something for which A and B hold true, then at best you are renting users/customers, not buying them.

As a side note to the big/small market argument - in most cases it is much, much better, given limited resources, to be the big player in a small market than a minor player in a big market.

I'd bet anything that a 99% share of the Swiss sock market is a much more secure and profitable business than a 0.2% share of the EU sock market, even though they are roughly the same size.

Just don't wear them with (hiking) sandals.

Last edited by lewibrfc; 25.11.2015 at 20:08. Reason: I made a mistake
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Old 25.11.2015, 20:43
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Re: Marketing for startups

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A classic example of men like beer, Archimedes is a man, therefore Archimedes should open a brewery

Big market, small market - it's all nonsense.

Just go out and build a product for which the following holds true:

A) people are willing to pay for

B) These customers refer enough people that at least >1 new customer is generated by word of mouth from your original happy customer, without that customer leaving.


This is exponential growth. Keep this up over a few years and then worry about marketing and big/small markets.

Also, remember - product comes first. If you haven't build something for which A and B hold true, then at best you are renting users/customers, not buying them.

As a side note to the big/small market argument - in most cases it is much, much better, given limited resources, to be the big player in a small market than a minor player in a big market.

I'd bet anything that a 99% share of the Swiss sock market is a much more secure and profitable business than a 0.2% share of the EU sock market, even though they are roughly the same size.

Just don't wear them with (hiking) sandals.
Very well written Lewibrfc. But how do you create that spark in the market :-)?
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Old 25.11.2015, 21:38
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Re: Marketing for startups

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A classic example of men like beer, Archimedes is a man, therefore Archimedes should open a brewery

Big market, small market - it's all nonsense.

Just go out and build a product for which the following holds true:

A) people are willing to pay for

B) These customers refer enough people that at least >1 new customer is generated by word of mouth from your original happy customer, without that customer leaving.

So being a tiny player in a tiny almost non existent market will not make you rich.


This is exponential growth. Keep this up over a few years and then worry about marketing and big/small markets.

Also, remember - product comes first. If you haven't build something for which A and B hold true, then at best you are renting users/customers, not buying them.

As a side note to the big/small market argument - in most cases it is much, much better, given limited resources, to be the big player in a small market than a minor player in a big market.

I'd bet anything that a 99% share of the Swiss sock market is a much more secure and profitable business than a 0.2% share of the EU sock market, even though they are roughly the same size.

Just don't wear them with (hiking) sandals.
7 million people & you need to market in 3 languages, the costs are out of proportion & the OP does not speak any of the 3. Sounds like a non starter TBH.

Why would the Swiss stock market carry less of a risk than the EU market? Most of the profits of Swiss companies are made outside of CH. 2 stocks represent over 45% of the SMI index & 3 stocks represent over 60% of the index. I can assure you that the Swiss stock market is not a particularly safe place to be. Especially if you believe you get diversification by buying an index tracker.
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Old 25.11.2015, 21:44
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Re: Marketing for startups

Socks ... Not stocks..

Analogy!

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7 million people & you need to market in 3 languages, the costs are out of proportion & the OP does not speak any of the 3. Sounds like a non starter TBH.

Why would the Swiss stock market carry less of a risk than the EU market? Most of the profits of Swiss companies are made outside of CH. 2 stocks represent over 45% of the SMI index & 3 stocks represent over 60% of the index. I can assure you that the Swiss stock market is not a particularly safe place to be. Especially if you believe you get diversification by buying an index tracker.
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Old 26.11.2015, 13:15
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Re: Marketing for startups

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Why would the Swiss stock market carry less of a risk than the EU market? Most of the profits of Swiss companies are made outside of CH. 2 stocks represent over 45% of the SMI index & 3 stocks represent over 60% of the index. I can assure you that the Swiss stock market is not a particularly safe place to be. Especially if you believe you get diversification by buying an index tracker.
Socks/stocks slip up has been covered - my mistake for choosing a confusing analogy - I was probably already thinking of my Xmas wishlist

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7 million people & you need to market in 3 languages, the costs are out of proportion & the OP does not speak any of the 3. Sounds like a non starter TBH.
I have no idea whether the OP can speak any of the official Swiss languages. I also don't know what they are selling/what the app actually does.

Maybe OP can find a business partner (native speaker) to help them. Maybe they can learn DE or FR. Maybe their product is tailored to expats/tourists, so the language barrier isn't an issue.

If not, hopefully OP can change the product/business model to make one of the above options possible.

The other assumptions are nonsense. Not only do the Swiss have more 'free income' to spend on luxuries and non-necessaries than most other European countries, but advertising and marketing competition is much less expensive and intense relative to potential ROI than in most other European countries.

The cost of 1000 impressions on Facebook, Twitter and Google in Switzerland, for example, is about 1/3rd of the cost incurred in the US or UK.

I'm sure there are niche industries and markets where the reverse is true, but this will be the exception not the rule - in general, Switzerland is a very good place to sell.
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Old 26.11.2015, 13:22
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Re: Marketing for startups

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Very well written Lewibrfc. But how do you create that spark in the market :-)?
There is probably no spark. Just hard work.

Go out to your customers/users. Get them to download and use the app. If they are using it (after a month or so), ask them to recommend it to friends. Make it really easy for them to do so. Find other people similar to these first customers who are still using it. Get them to use it as well.

The founder of Pinterest spent his first 12 months getting up early every morning and visiting every computer-shop/apple store near him just after opening, so that he could set every display-unit browser to the Pinterest URL.

Apparently he used to get thrown out a lot.
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Old 26.11.2015, 13:26
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Re: Marketing for startups

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I'm sure there are niche industries and markets where the reverse is true, but this will be the exception not the rule - in general, Switzerland is a very good place to sell.
I agree about the Swiss market being a good place to be.

But to be succesful in Switzerland you need a good grasp on Swiss culture and thinking. Does somebody who appears not to speak any of the national languages have that grasp? Will the app even offer any of the local languages or allow for local idiosyncrasies? The potential for an English-only app is probably limited in Switzerland, unless its really doing something that everybody needs and no other app can offer and people thus accept the discomfort of having to navigate it in a foreign language.
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Old 26.11.2015, 13:47
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Re: Marketing for startups

I'll be curious to know how much of marketing has been done to sample the market

Place your idea on a Business Model Canvas with Switzerland as your environment.
Product is Mobile app for Sports networking: have you done a pilot test and controlled?

to understand the swiss market you will need to sample it, segment your consumers, target those whom you think are potential customers, filter down until you know your buying centres.

I also agree with other opinions about partnering with a local entrepreneur or firms in such fields - experience is the best teacher.

Lots of marketing research and sampling to be done. Wish you well

"if you build, they will come"

Last edited by frankwolfe; 26.11.2015 at 13:48. Reason: wrong spelling
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