Business growth may have stalled, or it’s time to keep growing awareness with your wider target industry. One way to do that is to step foot on the growth marketing pedal. But what are the steps to be successful with a growth marketing strategy for the first time?
In this article, I discuss the following:
- What is growth marketing?
- When is it time for growth marketing?
- What steps should be taken to make it a success?
What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing is a data-driven approach to marketing that drives business growth and results. Some people think of growth marketing as running paid campaigns, and paid campaigns can play a part in driving business results. But this form of marketing goes way deeper than running ads.
It looks at what needs the company is fulfilling in the market and how it’s helping. A successful marketing strategy includes clarity about the following:
- the ideal customer
- what the company brings to the table
- where to reach customers
- the customer’s journey and when they make decisions
- how long it takes for customers to make buying decisions typically
- measurement, re-evaluation, and deployment of the right strategies
Growth marketing happens throughout the entire customer journey, including with:
- potential customers by generating awareness with the right people and helping them solve their business problems.
- existing customers through cross-sell or expansion (i.e., selling into different departments at current customer companies).
“For me, growth marketing includes strategic partnerships, alliances, analyst relations, M&A, and client relationships,” said marketing leader Fred Faulkner.
At the end of the day, running a successful strategy and implementation leads to company growth through the full marketing funnel.
That also means that growth marketing is a team sport throughout the customer experience.
“Retaining customers is more important than ever. But here’s the thing: it’s not just the responsibility of a single department or a designated team,” said Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of “The Forever Transaction.” It’s a collective effort that involves every individual in the organization. Whether you’re in marketing, sales, customer support, or product development, your role matters when it comes to customer retention. Each interaction, touchpoint, and experience contribute to shaping long-lasting relationships with customers.”
Lisa Sharapata, CMO at The Arbinger Institute, said growth marketing is about finding opportunities.
“It’s a marketing function that discovers where the opportunities are in the market and stand up new marketing strategies and Go-To-Market motions to capitalize on those areas in order to grow the business and revenue in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.”
When is it time for growth marketing?
Of course, marketing can happen from Day 1, but in reality, it often comes a bit later down the road for many companies.
We see many startups be successful without a true marketing strategy early on. But that’s not sustainable for growth past that initial phase. Once that first million or so is made, it’s time to accelerate growth through good marketing strategies. You might even consider working with a fractional CMO or taking a masterclass to learn the steps and implement them to drive success for your company.
“The biggest mistake I see with startups, in particular, is trying to do growth or hire a growth marketer when you haven’t even established the basics: your positioning, messaging, a good understanding of your ideal customers, a solid direction for your product,” said Alexandra Cote, an empathetic growth marketer.
What steps should be taken to make it a success?
Like many things, it starts with the awareness that it’s time to start and then scale up these efforts to drive results. We see that happening when a company’s growth is stalling, some of the established success strategies are slowing, and leadership is looking to accelerate growth once again. A great time to add growth marketing to the mix.
“Marketing is a system, not a set of silos, and they got to work together to work together,” said Amber Naslund, a marketing leader at LinkedIn. “Stop building your marketing strategy according to your org chart.”
As growth marketer James Clark said, growth happens when the right strategies are run with the customers’ needs in mind.
“The worst thing you can do for growth marketing is to have a crappy understanding of your customers,” James said. “If you’re not diving deep into their push forces, pull forces, habits, and anxieties, stop. Take the time to do it right. Your deep customer knowledge is the key to success.”
Steps to success
To make this strategy a success include the following:
- an understanding of what is currently working
- a willingness to build on that
- the openness to evaluating new-to-you strategies and giving them the right amount of time to work
- using the right marketing technology solutions that can help you be more efficient
- continue learning about your customers, their needs, and their problems
Marketing can and does drive growth for companies when it’s done correctly, strategically, and with the proper implementation. That takes experience, planning, and then the need to keep implementing and evaluating.
But to make it work successfully, it’s important to understand the target buyer and look at the data.
“A lot of companies don’t do enough research or use data to make decisions on how to grow,” said Lisa. “They follow the trends or just hope new things will work.”