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No more ‘Finger-Cross’ advertising: The Bullseye Framework

Updated: Oct 11, 2023


bullseye framework advertising strategy

Have you ever thought about how advertising, by and large, seems like a gamble? If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t - similar to the stock market. There are apparently nineteen different channels where we can advertise our products and services which only keeps on increasing the complexity and the uncertainty of our campaigns. The rewards of right guesses are big, while wrong guesses lead to a waste of money, time, and energy.


But it does not have to be like that.


What we need is a framework that brings clarity on which channels drive the most traffic, and shows us how to allocate our budget so that we know exactly where each penny is being utilized. We have to approach advertising from a place of clarity, where it is no longer seen as gambling.


The Bullseye Framework:

Popularised by the founders of DuckDuckGo, The Bullseye Framework is designed to be a straightforward way to direct our advertising efforts in order to maximize results in the shortest time possible.


The reason why advertising seems like a gamble is that the traction channel that will ultimately succeed is unpredictable, and oftentimes we are at the mercy of our time and budget. That’s why we should focus on conducting successive rounds of quick parallel tests that are simple and highly effective. Bullseye helps you laser focus on the best ideas as quickly and cheaply as possible, while still casting a wide net.


Bullseye Framework starts by taking all the nineteen traction channels seriously. This framework systematically uncovers strategies for getting traction, unlike traditional approaches.


Overview of the framework:

advertising strategy bullseye


THE OUTER RING: WHAT’S POSSIBLE

Before we go to war, we need to look at all the different strategies that we can possibly deploy and see which ones will be the most effective.

The first step in Bullseye involves brainstorming every single traction channel. Everyone starts off with biases. The outer ring is meant to help you systematically counteract your traction channel biases. For each channel, you should identify one decent channel strategy that has a chance of moving the needle.

You can create a table in Sheets, Excel, or Notion and start brainstorming ideas or tactics for each traction channel. You’ll be surprised by the different ideas that will float into your consciousness.


The 19 Traction Channels:

1. Viral Marketing

2. Public Relations

3. Unconventional PR

4. Search Engine Marketing

5. Social & Display Ads

6. Offline Ads

7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

8. Content Marketing

9. Email Marketing

10. Engineering as Marketing

11. Targeting Blogs

12. Business Development

13. Sales

14. Affiliate Programs

15. Existing Platforms

16. Trade Shows

17. Offline Events

18. Speaking Engagements

19. Community Building


THE MIDDLE RING: WHAT’S PROBABLE


After you’ve identified the various tactics that you can implement within each traction channel, next we will have to rank order them according to their effectiveness. One way to think about it is, whether the channel is high leverage or not. In other words, does this channel provide us with the most results while utilizing fewer resources, and spending less money and time?


Keep in mind that, when testing, we are not trying to get a lot of traction with a channel just yet. Instead, we are simply trying to determine if it’s a channel that could move the needle for our business. Our main consideration at this point is speed—to get data and to prove your assumptions.


INNER RING: WHAT’S WORKING


The third and final step in Bullseye is to focus solely on the channel that will move the needle for your business: your core channel. If all went well, one of the traction channels you tested in your middle ring produced promising results. In that case, you should start directing all your traction efforts and resources toward this most promising channel. You hit the Bullseye! You’ve found your core channel.


In particular, your tests should be designed to answer these questions:

  1. How much does it cost to acquire each customer through this channel strategy?

  2. How many customers are available through this channel strategy?

  3. Are the customers you are getting through this channel the ones you want right now?

At any stage in a business’s life cycle, one traction channel dominates in terms of customer acquisition. That is why we suggest focusing on one at a time, but only after you’ve identified a channel that seems like it could actually work.


Get one channel working that your competitors dismiss, and you can grow rapidly while they languish. We will churn out traffic from this core traction channel until we receive 50 percent ROI until the platform becomes too crowded and increases the CPC, due to saturation or rising costs. After that, we will test out other profitable channels that we have identified during our middle ring tests.


Conclusion

It does sound simple on paper but it requires coordination and clarity in order to do this. Spending time to get the systems right, understanding the mechanics of each traction channel, and taking it one step at a time is often the best way to go about it. From a personal experience, this framework opened up my mind as to how to approach advertising, in general. My biggest learning from this framework has been that each platform works in its own unique way, and it pays to understand the best ones deeply and strategically. It would be counterproductive to haphazardly deploy ads everywhere and therefore we must slowly work our way into high-leverage channels that fit our brand message, and personality.

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