In fact, the general model for successful tech companies, contrary to myth and legend, is that they become distribution-centric rather than product-centric. They become a distribution channel, so they can get to the world. And then they put many new products through that distribution channel. One of the things that’s most frustrating for a startup is that it will sometimes have a better product but get beaten by a company that has a better distribution channel. In the history of the tech industry, that’s actually been a more common pattern. That has led to the rise of these giant companies over the last fifty, sixty, seventy years, like IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and many others.
If you can get just one distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
Distribution is how you get people to hear about your product and how you get your product into their hands.
In the past, that often means putting your product in a physical store — yours or a retailers — and advertising it. With the Internet, there are now many new innovative ways to distribute your product.
For example, distribution can be baked into your product. Facebook is about connecting with family and friends, so users would get their friends to join. Business tools are collaborative, and employees can invite their colleagues to work on problems together. Fortnite creates new social environments where users can meet and play with their friends.
While many people write about marketing tactics, I want to explore something different. With Yeti Distro, I look into tech companies' marketing and distribution strategies.
There are two components to Yeti Distro:
- Weekly Notes: These are my private notes on the things I'm working on at Buffer and on the side.
- Weekly Analyses: These are my analyses on tech companies' marketing and distribution.
Paying subscribers get both Weekly Notes and Weekly Analyses sent to their inbox every Wednesday and Friday morning (US time) respectively and get full access to past essays. Non-paying subscribers only get Weekly Analyses.
This is a learning process, and my analysis could be wrong. Please feel free to point things out to me politely so that we can learn together.
About Alfred Lua
I have been doing marketing for a social media management software company Buffer for about five years. I have been deeply involved in community building, content marketing, and now product marketing.
Let's chat on Twitter.