SCREAM or How marketing stirs it up!

Posted on December 12, 2011 by


A good idea is one thing. But how can you draw the attention on your product and actually earn revenues? Zalando, certainly one of the most famous startup examples from Berlin, literally SCREAMED at us and invaded our minds by aggressive TV-spots. For a change, let’s LOOK at what marketing expert Matt Heinz from offers as marketing advices!

A common source of mistakes

First of all, Heinz emphasizes that Marketing for startups has to be tackled completely differently than traditional marketing.  Zalando was forced on us via mass media, having Rocket’s capital in its back. However, most startups don’t have the necessary capital for being able to effort primetime TV-spots. Heinz even thinks, it’s better that way.

The product comes first

According to Heinz, before a company can do Marketing it needs to have a product that’s worth having Marketing for. Therefore, he lays the initial focus on action, sales and revenues.  Nevertheless, he knows that “Marketing can set the table” but only if its goals are in accordance with the goals of the business development. That also explains why he suggests to let the first PR be organic rather than an artificial result of expenditure in a PR-firm. -“SELF-published channels and social networks, spread via employees, investors and customers” can help to define objectives and elaborate a smart strategy and well-understood messages. And then, so Heinz, you can focus on the color palette of the logo.


In our previous posts we mentioned the demand for jobs and the low wage level in Berlin… Or if you don’t want to pay wages at all, you probably won’t be able to resist the temptation of hiring an intern for your camapaign! But careful!, -warns Heinz, interns may be motivated and skilled but they don’t stay for long. That’s why he claims that you shouldn’t depend on them and let them start something you cannot sustain because once the interns stop their social media activities it will look as if your company had stopped operating.  It’s better to have control over everything yourself. For the same reason, he warns of copying from other startups.  He suggests to use them as a source of ideas but to be aware that priorities and objectives usually differ. Germancopycats criticizes that Zalando did copy from Zappos. However, they didn’t copy everything. So maybe it was exactly the new idea of aggressive Marketing that lead to their success. Or if you listen to Affilinet, you might become convinced that their recipe for success was their affiliate-marketing strategy right from the beginning. But you should also know that affilinet was hired to consult them. When it comes to control, Heinz also gives the advice, not to adjust everything to the (potential) investors but to filter their ideas through your eyes and “through the eyes of the customers” .

Below the line

The spanish blog Berlunes also examines the startup situation in Berlin. It finds it efficient that many startups use “below the line-marketing”, especially search engine marketing. That way, they only invest in channels that reach their potential customers and also analyze their behavior and establish the brand. But before praising SEM to the skies, let me tell you, I found lots of factors you have to consider to use it effectively and I was surprised that some pessimists even predict its end! I will certainly come back to that in one of my next posts! Even though Berlunes regards the Zalando marketing strategy, which relies on traditional mass media, as inefficient, they also name it as proof for that mass media can work and help to achieve popularity if applied correctly.

When referring to marketing in startups, it becomes clear that Zalando is not a typical example. Or maybe it totally is because compared to the marketing of other startups it’s so different that one becomes aware of the unique marketing approach each startup needs. If you want to learn about the marketing of Zalando and their controversial advertisements in particular, visit Take this post as an introduction! Because of the diversity of startup marketing we will have a closer look at concrete examples soon!

Posted in: start-ups, strategy