Small business marketing strategy: 4 examples of massive success

by | 2 Mar, 2018 | Growth, Marketing

Need motivation to invest in your small business marketing strategy? Check out these four examples of small businesses that made it big.

Reading Time: 5 mins

There is no universal solution to a successful marketing strategy. Every business is an entity in itself. It has its own characteristics, specific audience, different competitors and particular objectives.

Today there are more opportunities than ever before to realise marketing objectives. Many of them are available to small businesses and suitable for small budgets.

At Seleqtive Digital we have selected four small business success stories. What made them a success? Using a specific marketing strategy to realise their ultimate goal of business growth.


When launched by Aaron Patzer in 2006, was a minor player. They were not the only SaaS money manager in the market.

They had a strong product with a clear value proposition – makes money when users save money. But there are plenty of stories of better products beaten by better marketing.

But within two years, had 1.5 million users and was worth $170 million. How did they do it? An effective marketing strategy using educational content to lead users to their product.

The starting point for was a clearly defined identity and purpose. Then they applied the following rule for tactics:

“Whatever we can do, basically, for cheap or for free.” Aaron Patzer

The blog was the primary channel, launched before the product. Tactics involved early adoption of infographics and leveraging user-generated content. Education and relevance provided the fuel for an engaged audience.

The strategy takeaway from Think of content engines. Not just generation and amplification, but how value is demonstrated and sustained for the audience throughout their journey.

2. Magnolia HiFi

Magnolia HiFi grew out of a small family-owned stationery and camera store. They developed a reputation for customer service and early adoption of innovative products. But by the 80s, competition was increasing from big-box electronic stores.

Magnolia could not compete with the large stores on price. Nor did they have the budget to match the level of advertising. The strategy to respond? Leverage their customer service expertise and use content aligned to this value proposition.

What makes this story a great example, is the content-focus in the pre-internet era. As their hub they used an educational 8-page buyer’s guide magazine. This was supported by aggressive marketing that promoted the guide and how to get it.

The strategy was a great success. Magnolia generated traffic through the door that ultimately led to a buy out by Best Buy for $87 million.

What can we learn from Magnolia? Tactics change everyday, but strategy is consistent. Roger C. Parkers’ 7-Step Content Marketing Plan about Magnolia could easily be applied to any company today.

3. Core Power Yoga

When CPY was established in 2002, Yoga was a small niche in a wider trend of consumer health and well being. Today they are the biggest yoga chain in the US. It would not be difficult to attribute the breakout of Yoga in the US in large part to CPY.

What Founder Trevor Tice identified early was that consumers like:

  • to review other’s experiences
  • try before making an investment
  • get a consistent experience

So CPY standardised its studio fit outs and curricula. Then promoted yoga as being friendly and accessible. This included recording and streaming classes to provide a sense of experience. After watching a video, no matter which CPY studio you walk into you know what to expect.

Free trials. Facebook Ads. Testimonial promotion. Groupon discounts. CPY provides a perfect paradigm of marketing in the 21 Century.

See a theme in these examples? Clear understanding of the business identity and purpose. Then a perfectly aligned strategy to support the marketing.

4. Dollar Shave Club

Shaving is and always will be a necessary consumer activity. But DSC entered a market in 2011 against giants Gillette and Schick.

The DSC marketing plan provides a fascinating insight into their sense of the market and identity. But most people recognise their brand from the hilarious video that only cost them $4500.

The DSC video is a great demonstration of success resulting from investment in the fundamentals. DSC had a clear understanding of their value proposition and the voice to express it. The video is a product of their identity, positioning and messaging.

SC do lots of other things well with their marketing and subscription based model. But the unique buyer experience and sense of community with the ‘club’ are a great exemplar of applying a marketing life cycle.


Four examples all totally different companies in different industries. There are takeways from each of them:

  • Think of high performing content engines rather than just generation or amplification.
  • Applying the fundamentals of strategy and planning before getting to the tactics.
  • Having a clear sense of identity and purpose, then aligning the marketing to that.
  • Apply the whole marketing life cycle.

Within each of the examples, there are some obvious themes: sound business model, purpose, identity, clear voice, aligned strategy and integrated marketing.

Should your business be on this list?