Leaders and business owners seek sustainable growth in today’s fiercely competitive business landscape. The burning question on their minds is: How can we unlock the key to success?

Luckily, Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares have provided a valuable resource in their book “Traction.” The book examines 19 traction channels for building a solid customer base and achieving success.

Traction is vital for business success. It dictates how fast a company can grow its customer base, scale up, attract investors, and thrive in competitive industries. Utilizing traction channels is essential for any business that wants to succeed in today’s dynamic market.

In this article, we’ll explore the idea of traction by looking at each of the 19 critical channels. We’ll cover well-known social media and content marketing tactics and more obscure approaches, such as forming partnerships and fostering a sense of community. We won’t overlook any options, giving you a complete picture of the available options.

We aim to help you find the right traction channel for your business. By thoroughly examining each channel, we provide the knowledge and insights you need to make informed decisions and drive your business forward.

What is a traction channel?

A traction channel is a marketing channel businesses use to gain traction and acquire customers. It’s a strategic approach to reach and engage target audiences effectively.

Traction channels go through a life cycle. First, it starts growing slowly and steadily. Then, it reaches a point where it suddenly becomes prevalent. However, as more people use the channel, its growth eventually decreases.

Every traction channel has its unique qualities, benefits, and drawbacks. Each is not a shortcut to success and won’t fit all companies.

You must allocate time and resources to find the most effective strategy for gaining customer traction. That is why companies conduct experiments, measure results, and refine their approach to identify the most suitable channels for their needs.

Read more: What is Digital Transformation?

Deciding which channel to use

According to the book “Traction,” businesses often struggle to gain traction for two reasons. First, they stick to the channels they already know and don’t explore new ones. Second, predicting which channels will work best for their specific needs is difficult.

Every business owner doesn’t want to risk allocating resources to a lost cause. A solution for this comes in the form of the Bullseye Framework.

The Bullseye Framework is a systematic approach that helps businesses select the most effective traction channels. It can be customized to suit each company’s unique needs, so the number of steps may vary.

The framework draws inspiration from a bullseye target. The general idea is to progressively narrow the focus by testing various channels and ultimately identifying the most effective one. The framework emphasizes aiming for the most impactful traction channel to maximize results.

19 traction channels for business success

To achieve business success, choosing the proper traction channels is vital. With a multitude of options available, strategic navigation is critical. In this section, we will explore 19 traction channels that have the potential to drive your business forward.

1. Viral marketing

Viral marketing is a powerful marketing channel where you make and share content that people can’t help but share with others. It’s like wildfire, gaining customer traction quickly. The great thing is that your customers become your top promoters, doing the marketing work for you.

While viral marketing can be highly effective, achieving viral success is challenging and unpredictable. Not every attempt can get desired results. The viral potential of content depends on how unique, emotionally engaging, relatable, and easily shareable it is.

To increase the chances of creating viral content, consider these recommended tactics:

  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Influencer collaboration
  • Emotionally rich content
  • Leveraging what’s trending

2. Public relations (PR)

Public relations (PR) is about managing how people see and think about your business. It involves getting media coverage and communicating strategically to create a positive image, build trust, and connect with your target audience and media outlets. 

PR can have a remarkable impact on your brand. It effectively brings about valuable partnerships, collaborations, and industry recognition.

Consider the following tactics to increase PR’s effectiveness:

  • Media Relations
  • Creating well-crafted press releases
  • Proactive crisis management

3. Unconventional PR

Unconventional PR uses creative and unique strategies to grab attention and make your brand stand out. It goes beyond traditional PR methods to surprise and engage your target audience unexpectedly.

Unconventional PR can be highly effective, but it comes with risks. These strategies often challenge norms and push boundaries, which means there’s a chance of alienating some customers.

Here are two ways to attract customers using unconventional PR:

  • Publicity stunt
  • Customer Appreciation

4. Search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a marketing channel strategy to advertise websites on search engines. It helps increase visibility in search results through paid ads.

SEM is a quick and measurable way to get more visitors and conversions. The main aim is to attract specific users by bidding on relevant keywords and showing ads when they search for those words. This traction channel suits businesses looking to increase online visibility and reach a targeted audience.

Here are some recommended tactics for SEM:

  • Keyword research
  • Landing page optimization
  • Remarketing
  • A/B testing
  • Bid management

5. Social & display ads

Social and display ads are a way to advertise online using pictures and videos. Targeted users will see items or products while they are browsing websites. This traction channel works best for companies with a specific group of people they want to reach and a product or service that those people would be interested in.

Try these tactics to make social and display ads more effective:

  • Audience segmentation
  • Compelling visuals
  • Ad frequency & Placement
  • Regular tracking and optimization

6. Offline ads

Offline ads refer to traditional advertising methods that don’t depend on the internet or digital technology. It includes mediums like ads in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and billboards.

Offline ads can be pricier than online ads. They often come with higher initial expenses compared to digital advertising. These marketing channel strategies usually involve paying for airtime, printing, or physical placements.

However, offline ads are a powerful way for companies to reach many customers. They work well when you want to get attention quickly. Offline ads are also perfect for reaching people who may not be as familiar with technology, like older adults.

Here are some tactics to consider when using offline ads to gain customer traction:

  • Memorable & Clear messaging
  • Targeted Placement
  • Consistency
  • Integration with online channels

7. Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is about improving a website’s visibility and ranking in search results. As a traction channel, SEO aims to gain more people to the site without paying for ads. Customer traction is natural and organic.

Search engines like Google have algorithms that decide which websites are relevant and trustworthy. SEO uses tactics to make a website match these algorithms so it has a better chance of showing up higher in search results.

Consider these tactics to increase the effectiveness of SEO:

  • Keyword research
  • Link building
  • Optimization for local geography
  • Improve your website

8. Content marketing

Content marketing is a way to attract people by sharing valuable and relevant content. Companies use content like blog posts, videos, and social media posts to build their brand, show expertise, get more visitors, and turn them into customers.

Content marketing works well for many reasons. It helps more people see your brand and brings in a bigger audience by sharing valuable content. It also turns potential customers into actual customers by giving them helpful information and showing your expertise.

Companies with complex or specialized products/services that need to educate people or establish themselves as experts find this marketing channel effective. Companies with a strong brand identity can benefit from content marketing because they can effectively communicate their brand story.

Here are some tactics to consider for content marketing:

  • Develop a content strategy
  • Clearly define the target audience
  • Optimize for search engines

9. Email marketing

Email marketing is a way to send messages and promotions directly to people through email. It’s a popular marketing channel strategy because it lets businesses connect with their audience in their email inbox.

Email marketing works well because it creates a personal and direct line of communication with potential customers. It helps build relationships with new customers and keeps existing customers engaged.

However, email marketing has its challenges as a traction channel. People might choose to stop getting your emails, but that’s okay. However, sending emails that don’t matter to them or too many can make your brand look bad.

Also, handling people’s information in emails can be risky for security and privacy. Ensure you follow the rules for email marketing, like getting permission to email people and letting them easily unsubscribe if they want to.

Some tactics to consider to use email marketing effectively:

  • Build an email list
  • Segmentation
  • Engaging subject lines
  • Clear CTAs
  • Automated workflows

Read more: What is ERP?

10. Engineering as marketing

As a marketing traction channel, engineering means using engineering skills and knowledge to boost your marketing and attract customers. It’s about using your engineering resources to develop and promote your products or services in a way that appeals to potential customers.

This approach recognizes engineering and technology’s importance for marketing and reaching business goals. Companies that have been successful in this area have created small websites, made handy tools, and developed widgets that bring in thousands of potential customers every month.

Here are some tactics to consider when using engineering as a marketing traction channel:

  • Open-source contributions
  • Technical demos & webinars
  • Whitepapers & case studies

11. Targeting blogs & communities

Targeting blogs and communities means connecting with online blogs and groups related to your product or service. It helps you build relationships and make your brand known.

Engaging with blogs and communities helps you become an industry expert. Participate in relevant blogs and groups, offer helpful advice, answer questions, and share your knowledge to gain trust and credibility. It can also bring more people to your website or landing pages without paid ads.

Here are some tactics to consider when targeting blogs to gain customer traction:

  • Constantly engage and participate
  • Identify which niche blogs to target

12. Business development (BD)

Business Development (BD) allows businesses to grow and expand by forming strategic partnerships and creating opportunities. This traction channel involves building relationships with potential clients, customers, partners, and stakeholders.

BD works well for companies that have a product or service that complements or enhances what another business offers. It’s essential to have a clear value proposition for the partnership.

However, there are some risks involved. BD requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. Other businesses might also be looking for similar partnerships or opportunities, which creates competition and complicates deal negotiations.

Recommended tactics for this marketing channel strategy include:

  • Targeted networking
  • Strategic partnerships

13. Sales

This traction channel is about directly interacting with potential customers and persuading them to buy your product or service. It involves understanding their needs and using that knowledge to convince them. You can make sales through meetings, phone calls, emails, or online chats.

When done right, sales can be a powerful way to attract customers. It lets you connect with them, address their concerns, and show them the unique benefits of what you’re offering. Effective sales techniques can result in increased purchases, customer loyalty, and valuable feedback for improvement.

Sales also have risks. As your customer base grows, keeping up the same level of personal attention is harder. Too pushy or not meeting customer needs can harm your business’s reputation. So it’s crucial to find the right balance.

Here are some recommended tactics to use in sales to gain customer traction:

  • Training the sales team
  • Use technology to support sales efforts

14. Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are a marketing channel strategy where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic or making sales. It helps companies to reach more people, boost brand awareness, and make money by partnering with others.

There are two ways to use affiliate marketing: join an existing network or create your program. To get started, you can find potential partners from your customers or connect with influencers with your target audience. Some programs pay a flat fee, but if you’re short on cash, you can offer affiliates product features, beta access, or exclusive content instead.

Some recommendations for providing an effective affiliate program:

  • Offer attractive commissions
  • Communicate effectively
  • Provide promotional materials
  • Find relevant affiliates

15. Existing platforms

Existing platforms are online tools that businesses can use to promote their products and reach a larger audience. Platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube are particularly effective because they have many users, allowing businesses to connect with a broad and diverse range of potential customers.

There are risks with this channel. Many businesses are already competing for attention on these platforms. Also, you must follow the platform’s rules, which can affect your reach if they change their rules.

The following tactics may help businesses make the most of existing platforms:

  • Targeted advertising
  • Cross-promotion
  • Analytics
  • Influencer partnerships

16. Trade shows

Trade shows are events where businesses display their products and services to industry professionals, potential customers, investors, and the media. As a traction channel, they are a great way to gain exposure, generate leads, build brand awareness, and foster relationships.

Attending trade shows can be effective for businesses that want to showcase their offerings to a specific audience. For instance, a software company can participate in a technology trade show to demonstrate its new product to potential customers.

Here are some recommended tactics to leverage trade shows effectively:

  • Filter leads
  • Stand out
  • Extend presence through digital channels
  • Engage attendees

17. Offline events

Offline events are a great way to connect with customers and partners outside the online world. They can be meetups, hackathons, or conferences where you can engage with potential clients face-to-face. These events are instrumental when online ads don’t work well, and you must build trust with your audience.

Offline events are influential because they allow you to make personal connections and establish trust with potential customers. For example, a marketing agency could host a conference to showcase its expertise and meet potential clients. Organizing offline events can be challenging, mainly if you are new to it and have a small audience.

Here are some tactics to obtain more customer traction at offline events:

  • Invite quality attendees
  • Improve speaker quality
  • Create incentives

18. Speaking engagements

Speaking engagements are an excellent way for individuals or businesses to get noticed and show their expertise. It means giving talks or presentations at conferences, events, or seminars.

This marketing channel is a great way to connect directly with your target audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can gain visibility, build credibility, and attract potential customers or clients by giving talks or presentations at conferences, events, or seminars.

Here are some tactics to use to make the most of this traction channel:

  • Set clear goals
  • Promote your presence
  • Capture contact information
  • Repurpose content in other content formats

19. Community building

Community building is an effective way to gain customer traction. It involves creating and nurturing a community of people with common interests or values related to a product, service, brand, or cause.

The goal is to build trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging among community members, which leads to benefits like attracting and retaining customers and generating brand advocacy.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges involved. Building and managing a community takes time, effort, and resources. You must engage actively, moderate discussions, and provide support to keep the community positive and active.

If the community becomes inactive or loses engagement, its effectiveness as a traction channel diminishes. So, it’s crucial to invest in the growth and sustainability of the community continually.

Here are some tactics to consider regarding community building:

  • Empower community leaders
  • Provide value-added content
  • Foster connections among members
  • Choose the right platform that the community uses

Channel recommendations for different business sectors

Standing out is critical for businesses to gain more customer traction. Here are some suggestions for B2B, SME, and Enterprise businesses based on the 19 traction channels list.


The B2B sector provides products or services to other businesses. Here are some traction channel recommendations:

  • Trade shows: B2B companies can showcase products and meet potential clients face-to-face at trade shows and industry events. It’s about finding new customers and making more people aware of the brand and what they do.
  • Content Marketing: Making helpful and educative content like blog posts, white papers, and industry reports is essential. Displaying your authority can capture the attention of customers seeking information.
  • Affiliate programs: B2B businesses can create an affiliate program to encourage others to promote their products or services to potential customers. By partnering with affiliates, B2B companies can expand their reach, increase brand awareness, and achieve market success.

Small to medium-sized businesses

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) often have limited resources and need cost-effective traction channels to reach their target audience. Here are some avenues SMEs can utilize:

  • Content marketing: SMEs must be mindful of their budget when promoting their products and services to a broad audience. Content marketing offers long-term benefits by providing valuable information to the target audience, making it a cost-effective solution. 
  • Email marketing: SMEs can communicate directly to their audience with email marketing. They can send personalized messages to their target customers, building better ties. With email marketing, SMEs can measure how many people open and click their emails. This data helps them make smarter decisions, improve customer engagement, and get more sales.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Improving websites and content for search engines helps SMEs attract more online visitors without costly ads. This traction avenue is beneficial for getting local customers. By focusing on SEO that targets specific places, SMEs can attract the right people to their business and get more relevant visitors.


In the Enterprise sector, the main goal is to sell advanced solutions to big organizations. Since they have plenty of resources, these enterprises can use multiple channels jointly to promote their offerings. Here are some effective methods to gain customer traction in this sector:

  • Business development (BD): By utilizing BD, large enterprises can gain customer traction. It allows them to establish strategic relationships with other companies, organizations, and industry leaders. BD efforts help enterprises form partnerships and collaborations, opening doors to new markets and customers. Expanding reach, diversifying customers, and capitalizing on new opportunities drive growth for large enterprises.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): By leveraging SEM, enterprises can increase their visibility in search engine results, driving targeted traffic to their website. This targeted traffic is more likely to convert into customers, helping enterprises expand their customer base and generate revenue. SEM offers precise targeting, measurable results, and scalability, making it practical for large enterprises to reach their target audience and achieve marketing goals.
  • Speaking engagements: Speaking engagements are an excellent way for enterprise executives and thought leaders to showcase their expertise. By speaking at conferences and events, enterprises can establish credibility, build their brand, and attract customers. These speaking engagements directly connect with the target audience, generate interest, and drive customer acquisition and business growth.

Channel recommendations for consumers

Choosing the right ways to advertise your products to customers is crucial for gaining traction. However, consumers have different likes and habits, so you need to pick the right channel to cater to each group.

Gen Z

For consumer products targeting the Gen Z demographic, the following traction channels are well-suited:

  • Social & display ads: Gen Z is highly visual and prefers short-form content, making social & display ads an ideal platform to engage with them. Instagram and TikTok are the most popular options for this demographic.
  • Unconventional PR: Developing innovative and engaging strategies is crucial to capturing the attention of Gen Z. You can do this by doing something unusual or surprising, like a publicity stunt, or showing appreciation to your customers in unique ways. These actions will help generate buzz for Gen Z.
  • Affiliate programs: To get traction with Gen Z, team up with influencers and affiliates who have a big following among them. When they endorse your product, it can significantly impact your brand’s credibility and appeal to Gen Z customers.


For consumer products targeting Millennials, the following traction channels are well-suited:

  • Social & display ads: Millennials spend significant time online like Gen Zs. Placing targeted banner and video ads across social media and relevant websites allows you to reach them where they spend a large portion of their online time.
  • Content marketing: Providing them with exciting and valuable content is essential to effectively reach Millennials. Create engaging blog posts, videos, podcasts, or interactive experiences that grab their attention and offer information or entertainment that matches their interests. 
  • Email marketing: Millennials may be known for their social media use, but they also pay attention to emails. Utilize email marketing to share valuable content, provide exclusive offers, and keep your audience informed about your products.

Gen X

For consumer products targeting Gen X, the following traction channels are well-suited:

  • Email marketing: Gen X is one of the demographics that still actively uses and engages with email. They appreciate personalized communication and often prefer email to stay updated with brands. Utilize email marketing to distribute content, provide exclusive offers, and nurture customer relationships. 
  • Community building: Gen X individuals value being part of a community. To reach them, actively join online forums or social media groups where they gather. Engage with them by participating in discussions, answering questions, and sharing valuable insights. 
  • Existing platforms: Gen X values practicality and convenience. Consider placing your product on popular platforms or marketplaces in your industry to reach them effectively. This strategy will help you attract new users and generate revenue from the Gen X demographic.

Baby Boomers

For consumer products targeting Baby Boomers, the following traction channels are well-suited:

  • Offline ads: Offline ads are an effective traction channel for attracting the Baby Boomer demographic because they often have a strong presence in traditional media. Baby Boomers are likelier to read newspapers, magazines, listen to the radio, watch TV, and receive direct mail. Advertise where your target audience already spends their time to capture their attention and increase brand awareness.
  • Sales: Direct sales is an effective traction channel to attract the Baby Boomer demographic because it taps into their preference for personal communication and relationship building. Baby Boomers appreciate face-to-face interactions and value the expertise and guidance provided by a salesperson. Direct sales build trust and loyalty by addressing customer concerns with personalized solutions, leading to higher conversions.
  • Trade shows: Trade shows attract Baby Boomers because they value face-to-face interactions and personal connections. Baby Boomers attend trade shows to explore new products, gather information, and engage with exhibitors directly. Being present at trade shows allows you to showcase your product in person, address their specific concerns, and build trust and credibility, which aligns well with the preferences and behavior of this demographic.


Understanding your target audience and personas is crucial for choosing the right traction channel. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for traction. You must test, try different approaches, and adapt to what works best for your business.

As you explore traction channels, keep asking yourself: “What more can we do? How can we engage our audience better?” Constantly challenge yourself to find new opportunities for growth and stay ahead of the competition.

Understanding traction channels is not just a nice thing to know; it’s essential for success. So, take the insights from this article, apply them to your business, and confidently embark on your traction journey. Which traction channels will you try first, and how will they shape the future of your business?

Impact Insight Team

Impact Insights Team is a group of professionals comprising individuals with expertise and experience in various aspects of business. Together, we are committed to providing in-depth insights and valuable understanding on a variety of business-related topics & industry trends to help companies achieve their goals.

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