Quad Marketing Approach

Today’s marketing battle is about big ideas that solve customer problems and great marketing strategy. The Quad Marketing Approach can help you create your strategy, transition to execution and optimization, and learn and refine to meet your marketing goals.


Take a minute to look at this list of relatively new but very successful companies; Facebook, Twitter, Mint, Box, Instagram, Dropbox, Uber, Craigslist, Pinterest and Zipcar. These companies have at least two things in common, first they’ve amassed millions of customers in such a short amount of time. And second, they did it with little to no advertising budget, which is actually astonishing when you think about it. They had no big agencies, no fancy billboards, no product placement program, no multi‑million dollar ad word campaign. All they had was a really good idea that solved a customer problem and a very sound marketing strategy. The reality is you don’t need a lot of money to be effective. The battle is no longer about big budgets or a large army of people. The battle is about big ideas that solve customer problems and great marketing strategy.

The quad stands for quadrilateral. And I promise you don’t have to brush up on your fifth‑grade geometry. The definition of a quadrilateral is nothing more than four sides and four corners. I’ll introduce each side and each corner which will form the basis of the videos in this series. Let me explain how this works. The first side is marketing strategy. And the reality is you’re probably doing a lot of the things already to build that marketing plan; your pricing, your prototype and of course your customer development work. Steve Blank’s series “The Lean Approach” offers great tips on these topics.

We’re going to focus on the one document that’s the most important but unfortunately is often not used. And it’s the positioning statement. And it is marketing gold. If you can pull this together you will be amazed at how often you use it in so many of the things that you do in marketing as well as throughout your business. Now you would think that once you got your marketing strategy complete you start, you should start to execute. We need to hit that upper right corner and do three important activities. And doing these things will absolutely optimize the likelihood that you’re successful when you execute your marketing plan. And those are first to really define your marketing objectives. What is success? Make sure you write it down. That will be so important to you as you go through this process. The second, earmark a budget. You don’t need a lot of money to start. But it’s really important to have a few dollars set aside as you start to experiment with certain tactics. And the third and probably the most important is to document and define your content marketing plan. We’re going to come back to this over and over again. And what’s interesting about this is companies who actually have a documented marketing plan generate four times as many leads as those who do not.

So once you’ve got your corner, you’ve defined your objectives, figured out what the content marketing plan is and set a budget, you’re ready to execute. The challenge is there are literally hundreds of tactics to choose from. But what we’re going to spend the time talking about is which marketing tactics do you use, what are tablestakes? As you start to execute, you’re going to start to see one or two tactics really be successful. And that’s really the time to use metrics, which is the lower right‑hand corner of the quad. Measuring will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. And that’s what we’re going to do next is move from execution to optimization. And here our goal is to become a customer acquisition machine. And we’re going to talk a lot about that in a term that is really new and exciting for marketing called growth hacking. And here we’ll be chatting about what are the key tactics and tools to make sure that you’re testing and measuring and winning in the marketplace. As you go through this optimization work you’ll find one or two aha moments that really are the key levers for success which is the bottom left corner.

So you’ve worked on your strategy, you’ve executed, you’ve optimized. And now the final phase is to really stop and pause and reflect, codify and integrate your learning. Are things working? Do you have the right people? Do you have the right market? Are there certain activities that you’re liking and you’re not? This is the time to bring all of the things that you’ve learned together to understand do you have the right go‑to‑market approach. And from that work you’ll hit the upper left corner which is deciding whether to pause, pivot, or aggressively pursue. This framework is nothing more than a structured, but very flexible, approach all designed to help your product or service win in the marketplace.

Suggested Readings

Founders School || Entrepreneurial Marketing || Quad Marketing Approach || Impact Guide (PDF).

Go, Rob.  Harvard Business Review Blog.  Great Entrepreneurs Pick Great Markets.

Lodish, Leonard, Howard L. Morgan, and Shellye Archambeau. 2007. Marketing That Works: Howe Entrepreneurial Marketing Can Add Sustainable Value to Any Company. Pearson Prentice Hall, 1st Edition.

Questions for You

Have I accomplished any of the goals outlined in the quad framework? Which ones have I done well? Which ones have I skipped?

What attention have I paid to marketing goals?

Questions for Your Team

Have we given any thought to our marketing goals?

How systematically have we thought about our approach to getting, keeping, and growing customers?

What steps in this process have we skipped? Which ones have we done well?