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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV1732U  Go to market strategies for startups and Innovative Products/Services in the Digital Era (Online course)

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

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 104
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Ben Eaton - Department of Digitalisation (DIGI)
  • Nicolaj Højer Nielsen - Department of Digitalisation (DIGI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2023

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-market strategy and 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 (student's own idea/business or an existing startup)
  • The student should be able to apply real-life customer insights (primary and secondary) to support the conclusions
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
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
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
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 (real-life case which the students find and chose on on their own), and put those reflections into a theoretical context by applying the concepts teached and use real-life customer insights.

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. Introduction to...:

  • The course, teaching and speakers

  • Go-to-market strategies as a concept

  • Customer Development Model

  • Project and exam

2. Lean Startup and GTM-strategy:

  • How to get started
  • Lean Startup
  • How to test and validate your assumptions
  • Effectuation


3. Assessing the market:

  • Market analysis
  • Porter’s five forces
  • Strategy meets design thinking:  hypothesis-driven testing (“what needs to be true”)
  • Core market sizing concepts
  • Get out of the building


4. Customer segmentation and positioning:

  • Think big but start small
  • Bowling alley strategy / Crossing the Chasm

5. Data-driven GTM strategies

  • Build-measure-learn
  • How to measure the success/failure of your experiments
  • Metrics and KPIs (short term and long term
  • Sales and marketing funnel
  • Acquisition costs
  • Budgeting and P&L

6. Distribution strategies and partnerships:

  • The value chain
  • The Resource Based View and competitive advantages
  • Direct vs. indirect distribution
  • Make vs. buy 
  • Working with partners and distributors

7. Word-of mouth and social media marketing:

  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Virality
  • Social media - what is different
  • Organic vs. paid social media marketing
  • Marketing funnel (costs vs. revenue)


8. Search engine marketing:

  • Search engine optimization (organic)
  • Search engine marketing (paid)
  • Estimation of CAC and LTV


9. B2B perspective: 

  • What do buyers want from sellers?
  • Introduction to classic sales and marketing channels in b2b
  • How content marketing relates to B2B

10. Public relations and content marketing:

  • How (theory) and when does PR work (both company and journalist perspective)
  • The value of PR, and how to measure it
  • What’s a good story in the mindset of the media/journalists, and how to get it in

11. Wrap-up of course



Description of the teaching methods
The course will combine online lectures, virtual 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 Højer Nielsen (Penneo, Recon Instruments, MotilityCount, CapDesk, Sepior etc.).

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 insights achieved in the course will be applicable if you later want to start your own company.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students are expected to participate actively in the virtual sessions (ask questions and receive feedback).

Time will be allocated during the virtual teaching sessions where the students can ask questions and get feedback on issues related to their project and paper.
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 online.


Last updated on 15-02-2023