Go-to-Market Strategy for Innovative Startups: A Case Study of Cocup

Christian Holmgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis studies how Danish startups with an innovative product could design their go-to-market strategy in order to gain initial traction with Generation Z. This generation has grown up with technology, which makes them fundamentally different from earlier generations. The problem statement centres on the question regarding how the early stage startup COCUP can launch and market their app in order to gain their first 500 users. Therefore, the goal of this thesis is two-fold: (1) to develop a concrete go-to-market strategy for COCUP, (2) to model a course of action for innovative startups that need to develop their go-to-market strategy. The thesis employs a singlecase study approach, where COCUP is the only company, which is studied. This approach is chosen in order to focus and make concrete recommendations for COCUP, which can be tested on their real potential users. Meanwhile, the steps used in the analysis of this thesis are applicable to other innovative startups that need to develop a go-to-market strategy. Their conclusions will be different, but the approach and models they should use would be the same. With regard to methodology, the thesis examines the potential users of COCUP through 12 qualitative interviews with unemployed male students at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), who are the target audience. Moreover, a survey was distributed to 55 relevant respondents, which gave further information about the users that could benefit the go-to-market strategy. Furthermore, COCUP was interviewed in order to get an idea of their situation and action plans. This information was used to avoid going in different directions and making sure that the findings of the thesis was relevant for the startup. The models applied and the general approach of the analysis is inspired by the theory of the lean startup by Eric Ries. Therefore, the theories applied in this thesis have been chosen due to their compatibility with the lean startup method. Some of the key scholars in this thesis are Geoffrey A. Moore, Alexander Osterwalder, Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. Some of the theorists included in this thesis are not acknowledged in a broad sense, however, they have received recognition within the field of startups. Based on the analysis of the potential users of COCUP, the thesis identified four relevant marketing channels that would be interesting to test on real users in order to see which channels COCUP should focus on in the go-to-market strategy. Therefore, these channels were tested over the course of 7-10 days. The channels were Facebook advertisements, search engine marketing, offline marketing and posting on relevant online forums. After completion of the tests, the results were clear. Offline marketing had outperformed all the other channels by creating 254 conversions compared to a few conversions by the other channels combined. Consequently, it can be concluded that COCUP should use offline marketing in the form of being present at DTU and approaching students in order to sign them up. If this go-to-market strategy is applied, COCUP will be able to gain their first 500 users within a few months.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages98
SupervisorsDaniel Hjorth