[Startup Growth] How to use Engineering as a powerful Marketing strategy

Written by Stefan on 5/18/2022
Do more marketing than you build features.

You've probably heard this a gazillion times here on Indie Hackers and on Indie Twitter. (also from me 😳)

What if I told you that you can do both?

Let me tell you a bit about “Engineering as Marketing” and how you can leverage it to grow your startup.

What's this all about?

The idea is to engineer something that will market itself.

A remarkable product or experience.

Something worth sharing.

Or to build a free tool/product/service that helps demonstrate the value of your main product or company.

An example

We have a chrome extension that reduces a tedious flow down to one button click.

Our users love it because it fits right into their workflow and saves them a bunch of time.

It’s also good for activation because it acts as an external trigger that reminds people to use our product.

The chrome extension that we built to make that possible was a bunch of work, that’s the engineering part.

Someone tried it out and shared it in a private discord, that’s the marketing part.

We’ve had 2 more customers from that source since then. (Doesn't sound like much but we only have 7 total so it's a lot 😜)

Other types

You can also build side projects that are related to your main project.

Then try to funnel people to your main project somehow.

This way you're giving value for free upfront and people might reciprocate that down the line. (if you're patient 😏)

Think of it as an engineered lead magnet.

Grain of 🧂

Now before you go and excuse your lack of marketing by building a bunch of features….

Take a second and let this sink in:

You still need an initial spark of users
You need a product that solves a problem worth sharing

So while you can use the fact that you can engineer products worth sharing, make sure your foundation is in order.

After all, you can’t build a solid house on a shaky foundation.


Engineering is what a lot of people on here do best.

Marketing is what a lot of people on here struggle with (me included 😅)

It’s worth spending some time thinking about how you can use your strengths to supply your weaknesses.

But don’t forget:

Engineering as marketing is fuel for an existing flame, not a fire starter.

You can’t completely weasel your way out of marketing. 😏


Have you made similar experiences?

What are your favorite ways to leverage engineering as marketing?

Shoot me an email or write me on Twitter.

About me

I have 10 years of experience in VC startups, kinda burned out on that and am now bootstrapping niche products while applying my learnings.

I’m sharing more stuff like this on our newsletter over here and building in public on Twitter.

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