Born from the Software as a Service (SaaS) and startup space, the advent of growth hacking was the first time that marketers turned their attention en masse to the whole sales funnel. Their focus moved beyond the limits of awareness and acquisition and extended to conversion, retention, and referral. Growth hackers developed a deeper understanding of how the whole sales cycle affects business growth and revenue.
Growth marketing the combination of best elements from growth hacking and traditional marketing to work for every company.
Growth Marketing Strategies
Focus on revenue, not vanity metrics
Growth means different things for different companies. Some want new users, some want to close more deals, some want better retention. But at the end of the day, all companies want to grow their revenue. For that reason, growth marketers prioritize optimizing for revenue over everything else.
Successful marketing teams track campaigns and sources that are producing the most revenue with full-funnel attribution. T Without this data, teams lose valuable information about how marketing drives revenue. They are forced to make a series of educated guesses rather than relying on hard data for marketing initiatives.
Without imperfect data, it’s difficult or near impossible to track revenue. Tracking aggregate revenue to campaign source is relatively easy for companies whose transactions are completed entirely online (like self-serve SaaS or e-commerce). Tracking revenue back to the campaign source is a surprisingly difficult problem in the B2B space where the majority of revenue is collected offline with a sales team or SaaS products that have recurring revenue over time.
In lieu of 100% correct full-funnel tracking, growth marketers can get closer to optimizing for revenue by focusing on lower-funnel metrics. Rather than optimizing for site traffic or raw leads, optimize campaigns that deliver the most opportunities closed, lifetime value of a customer, or revenue. Studies show that the marketers who consistently optimize for lower funnel metrics see better results.
Adopting agile creates velocity, removes barriers to productivity, and scales up production, which accelerates growth marketing work. All growth marketing teams should be agile, but not all of agile is focuses on marketing. Agile can also be applied to backend, product, and front-end development, among other disciplines.
Because it is not standardized, industry-wide agile marketing practice, there is a lot of confusion about agile marketing implementation. There are practical ways to help marketing teams be more agile, like instituting weekly standups or developing a hypothesis for marketing projects. At its core, agile is about streamlining processes to increase efficiency.
Think about the ways marketing teams spend the most time and how to optimize it. For example, can you eliminate or streamline approval processes? Can you think ways to be proactive rather than reactive? Can you develop repeatable processes for your marketing team? Can you create onboarding processes for new vendors?
The more common error that causes growth to stagnate is not knowing which marketing is producing results. In truth, most marketing initiatives and experiments flatline. The danger is not a failed experiment, it’s not knowing whether or not an experiment failed.
Before delving into resource-intensive projects, it’s important to have the whole team on the same page about what success looks like for every campaign and every experiment. Document this success metric to return to it later. Have a clear picture of success and failure and strategize to get there as quickly as possible.
Growth marketing is an iterative process. Unlike growth hacking, which usually attributes company growth to a singular success or hack, growth marketing is most often a series of small successes. While it is true that a single experiment can be a game changer for a company’s growth—like Dropbox’s now infamous referral program or AirBnB’s use of professional photographs—they surely did 10,000 mediocre experiments before hitting the one that changed their trajectory forever. Companies don’t find the one iteration that triggers explosive growth without slogging through a bunch of flat-line one’s first. More often than not, real growth is a result of lots of little iterations rather than one drastic change.
Iterating also allows teams to prove out large initiatives with small experiments before devoting a lot of time or resources to a project. What’s the smallest experiment we can run to see traction or definitive results?
Optimize the entire sales cycle
Growth hackers had it right when they started considering the whole sales cycle instead of just part of it. Conversion, retention, opportunity close, referral, and advocacy are all critical to growing a business and driving revenue.
What demand generation and growth marketing have in common is the practice of optimizing the whole sales cycle and caring for the whole customer experience, not just one part. Even though each section of the sales cycle is owned by various departments (sales, product development, design, operations or customer success), it’s growth marketers who focus on the big picture and overall growth.
Growth marketing can be applied to all kinds of sales cycles, no matter the industry or type.
This is where the real growth happens.
Predictably scaling revenue should be calculated and is a systematic process. If growth marketers do the hard work of discovering from all data and attribution what works and what doesn’t, then the scale phase is rather simple. Without the initial steps, it’s difficult to know where growth is coming from.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around the first few steps. As much as explosive customer growth may seem simple, not every channel can be scaled.
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