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2019/2020  KAN-CCMVV1732U  Go to market strategies for startups and Innovative Products/Services in the Digital Era

English Title
Go to market strategies for startups and Innovative Products/Services in the Digital Era

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn, Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 145
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Michael Wessel - Department of Digitalisation
  • Nicolaj Højer Nielsen - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 11-02-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • The student should be able to critically reflect on the theories, concepts, tools and cases covered in the course.
  • Document and argue for frameworks, theories, models, methodologies and tools in go-to-marketing marketing for innovative products/services
  • The student should be able to identify key points, and critically reflect on these, in the go-to-market process for a new product/service
  • The student should be able to apply concepts, tools and cases covered in the course on a real business-case
Go to market strategies for startups and Innovative Products/Services in the Digital Era:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter and Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

In the project report, the students critically reflect on the go-to-market marketing and strategy for a new product/service, and put those reflections into a theoretical context by applying some of the concepts teached in class.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Most startups end in failure. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don't have is traction – real customer growth.


This course is about how to get this "traction" – how to get the first very important customers for your new product or new service and how to retain customers by nurturing long-term, omni-channel relationships with them. By systematically applying innovative concepts and frameworks for your company's go-to-market strategy, the students will learn how to improve their chances of getting real customer growth.


Preliminary course plan:

1. Defining the target markets and customers
- Market analysis
- New markets vs. existing market
- Understanding customers
- Analysis not description
- Specific not broad
- Routes to the market/customers


2. Designing the customer experience to achieve engagement

- Manage customer relationships across all channels

- Striving for long-term interactions
- Touch points in the customer journey
- Encouraging customer loyalty
- Customer advocacy
- Creating consistency across channels
- Recognized value of non-purchase interactions


3. Data-driven marketing: quantifying opportunities and results
- Identifying key metrics
- Short term and long term key performance indicators
- Sales funnel
- Acquisition costs
- Profit and Loss statements
- Tailored messages through personalization
- Testing and learning (Lean Startup: build-measure-learn)
- Managing exploding data volumes


4. Choosing marketing channels
- Viral Marketing  
- Public Relations (PR)  
- Unconventional PR  
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)  
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  
- Social and Display Ads  
- Offline Ads  
- Content Marketing  
- Email Marketing
- Business Development (BD)  
- Affiliate Programs  
- Trade Shows  
- Offline Events  
- Speaking Engagements  
- Community Building


Description of the teaching methods
The course will combine lectures, in-class discussions, and project work. The course includes a project where you will apply the frameworks learned on a real-life case.

Hands-on teaching by serial entrepreneurs:

Main teacher is Nicolaj H Nielsen (CodeSealer, Penneo, Recon Instruments, MotilityCount, CapDesk, Sepior). The course will be hands-on and teached by serial entrepreneurs who have done all the mistakes themselves, and after that finally have learned how to get your new startup of the ground. A lot of interesting guest-speakers (business angels, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs) will also ensure that the learnings achieved in the course will be applicable if you later want to start your own company.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback throughout the course: In-class when students/groups are asked to present in class and receive feedback and before/after each class where students are more than welcome to ask questions and receive feedback.
Student workload
Preparation for classes (reading literature and cases) 60 hours
Participation in classes 40 hours
Exam (write project on a real business-case) 106 hours
Expected literature


Examples of scientific articles:


Sarasvathy, Saras D. "Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency." Academy of management Review 26.2 (2001): 243-263.


Read, Stuart, et al. "Marketing under uncertainty: The logic of an effectual approach." Journal of Marketing 73.3 (2009): 1-18.


Markides, Constantinos. "Disruptive innovation: In need of better theory*." Journal of product innovation management 23.1 (2006): 19-25.


Leskovec, Jure, Lada A. Adamic, and Bernardo A. Huberman. "The dynamics of viral marketing." ACM Transactions on the Web (TWEB) 1.1 (2007): 5.


Lemon, Katherine N., and Peter C. Verhoef. "Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey." Journal of Marketing 80.6 (2016): 69–96.


Wedel, Michel, and P. K. Kannan. "Marketing analytics for data-rich environments." Journal of Marketing 80.6 (2016): 97-121.



Examples of text books used in course:


Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers, by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares


The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries  


Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it), by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone, Yuri van Geest



The formal literature will be combined with written- and real-life cases from several Danish and international start-up companies.  We will have high-profile guest-speakers (venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, business angels) to present such cases.


Last updated on 11-02-2019