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MaRS Courses and Guides

Find articles, videos and courses on building your startup. Stay tuned for a fully searchable and discoverable library coming soon.

Licensing new technology as a way of financing your innovation

When does licensing your technology for further financing make sense? Starting a business is a significant undertaking. Licensing your technology idea might make good sense if you’re more interested in having your research or invention commercialized for use than in creating a startup. A startup may also consider licensing a … Read More

Barriers to entry: Factors preventing startups from entering a market

Researching a market? Our free online course Introduction to Market Sizing offers a practical 30-minute primer on market research and calculating market size. Barriers to entry are factors that prevent a startup from entering a particular market. As a whole, they comprise one of the five forces that determine the … Read More

Competitive strategies in operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership

Read time: 3 mins In their 1997 book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma describe three competitive strategies, or value disciplines: Operational excellence Customer intimacy Product leadership They argue companies must achieve market leadership for one competitive strategy and perform adequately with the other two. … Read More

Conducting market analysis to target customers for your product

Researching a market? Our free online course Introduction to Market Sizing offers a practical 30-minute primer on market research and calculating market size. The purpose of the market analysis is to help you better understand the dynamics involved in selecting and targeting customers for your product. To conduct the market analysis, … Read More

Marketing communications: Reaching early adopters of technology products

When startups develop their marketing communications, they must tailor their message to reach early adopters—both technology enthusiasts and visionaries. Note that the complexity of the marketing communication topic makes it too broad to cover in one article. This article is one of a series of six that covers the field … Read More

The MDSC (market development strategy checklist)— providing strategic direction for startup go-to-market programs

The market development strategy is a declaration of intent that provides the strategic direction for a startup’s go-to-market programs (that is, sales strategy, marketing communications, product strategy). The strategy is expressed using the market development strategy checklist (MDSC). The MDSC is a set of assumptions (blueprint) around which a strategy … Read More

What is marketing communication (MarCom)?

Read time: 3 mins Marketing communication (MarCom) is complex. Generally, it refers to the messages/media (e.g., advertising, direct marketing, branding) you deploy to communicate with your market. MarCom needs to balance two strategic objectives: Building product demand/preference (which involves positioning) Shortening the sales cycle (which involves understanding the buying process) … Read More

Your marketing message: A tech startup’s key tool to reach target customers

A tech startup’s marketing message is a key instrument to reach your target customer. It forms part of an important communication process that changes depending on a company’s stage in the technology adoption lifecycle (TALC). The image below shows the fundamental communication cycle, or process. Note that critical elements include the audience, … Read More

Marketing plans for startups: Create your marketing strategy and planning

A marketing plan is a systematic process of evaluating marketing opportunities and resources, determining marketing objectives, and developing a plan for implementation and control. It outlines a startup’s strategy to create, satisfy and maintain customers. The marketing plan links marketing activities with marketing and strategy objectives and is important in … Read More

The mission statement: The basis for startups’ strategic planning

A mission statement outlines a startup’s underlying motivation for being in business. It spells out the contribution to society that the organization aspires to make. The mission statement is not a strategic objective, but rather the basis on which the strategic objectives and strategic plan are developed. This ensures that … Read More