MARA Startup Story

Every step about building our marketing startup. From day zero to present.

What you should expect here:

  • We will be open about our goals, displayed below.
  • We will share our marketing efforts, what works and what doesn’t. Expect it after a while, to be sure about the results.
  • We will share our technology/product side efforts and why we will took some decisions.

Please use comments form at the bottom to ask questions, suggest us marketing ideas, give feedback and anything else.

Startup goals

Goal 1: Reach 100 customers


Goal 2: Reach $10k MRR


Startup activity timeline


Marketing has priority in 2018

While we do have big development plans for 2018, marketing is also very important. We started working on SEO, created Adwords and Facebook campaigns.


Public Surveys and improvements

Added survey campaigns with public URL’s and lots of account notifications

Changed logo and site colors because it looked too silly.

Offline integration

Invested lots of money and research into tablet and beacons standers that can be rented by offline shops. Those are integrated with the rest of the services and can track behaviour and run apps: new subscribers, surveys, registration forms, contests or catalogues.

System updates and new features

Added new features regarding PUSH notifications (with product recommendations) and Facebook Share that also uses product recommendations. All can be setup and will automatically deliver dynamic and personalized messages.

Wasted money on Facebook Boosted Posts

We’ve boosted 12 posts on Facebook in the last 4 months, with an average budget of $10. It’s wasted money, only a few clicks (2-3 page likes in total) and always less people reached than initially said.

Rebuild integration modules

Our partner agency started working on rebuilding integration modules with most common ecommerce platforms: wordpress, woocommerce, prestashop, magento, opencart, shopify.

Launched new website for

A completely redesigned website was launched. Made entirely on HTML, ready for translations and custom pages. Got rid of WordPress, one of the best decisions.

Launched another self-service locally

We launched in May another self-service solution with the same product in Romania. The idea is to use it as a test market for find bugs, testing pricing options, build a team around a SaaS solution.

We also did A/B tests on the platform and presentation website. We lost some time because of this, but afterwards is considered a good idea.

First Client Registered for self-service

First account was made using registration form. Their website is not a real online store, not even a realwebsite (just a blank page). But let’s celebrate anyway

Created social media profiles

Created new accounts for MARA: Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Zero promotion, which is definitely not good: You need to get Facebook likes, twitter followers and Youtube subscribers.


Startup Growth Strategy

After reading lots of startup growth articles, we decided to follow those 2. They have plenty of information depending on the stage you’re in.

Changed development cycles

The founder is very technical so the product was built over years internally. Being hard to find very good engineers we decided to outsource some of the development and to implement monthly dev cycles.

Later edit: This was a good move, as we move faster now and have a better overview of the product

First website

We created a wordpress website using Divi theme. Was pretty easy to create it, but if you want something custom very hard to modify. I won’t recommend for good quality design.

First version of self-service

We had designed a first version of registration form. Too ugly to have anyone signup.

2016 was a good year at the agency

While doing our daily tasks at the agency, MARA was put on hold. However we were planning how the self-service will work, because the system didn’t allow for self-registration and related stuff.

Partnership for building integration modules

Our solution is technical, so we need some integration with our clients websites. Rather then building ourselves, we’ve decided to have them built by a company we are very close to, Devant was the initial agency one our founder started in 2005 as a digital marketing agency.

Bought domain name

After a short brainstorming on “marketing automation” related names we decided that MARA is the best to go with. The only free domain we liked was, so we bought it.


A new startup idea

The startup is based on a techonology we’ve built under another name. The reasons we decided to start from zero with another brand:

  • The name was hard to pronounce
  • The company itself was promoting itself as an agency, with higher pricing and services included
  • We wanted to have something new, a Marketing Automation SaaS, used as self-service.
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