Daniel is a Senior Marketing Professional working in the SaaS B2B industry. Based in Ireland. Passionate about Sport, Product Marketing and Remote Work
Growth Marketing — A Birds Eye View in 2021
Growth Marketing is bridging the gap between sales and marketing units
Question: What is growth marketing?
Growth marketers focus on the entire customer lifecycle, from the moment they touch the awareness stage too long after they make a purchase. And it’s the focus on retaining customers and generating referrals that separates growth marketing from other disciplines and makes it so attractive in the current global climate.
Consistent lead acquisition will impact bottom line. Sales can close good sales — and if a sales lead is provided with regular SQLs new business should follow.
Covid-19 has shoe horned many traditional marketers in to lead focused roles. In a year where churn rates increased and new business decreased growth became an essential attribute.
KPIs like SQLs, ROI, CLV, CAC and ACV became the only conversation topic on sales and marketing calls. The strategy in 2020 became clear.
i) Grow business with new leads
ii) Retain as much existing business as possible.
Fail to do the above and the cost of marketing becomes expensive and tough conversations follow.
Always be Growing
In a world where retention and steady acquisition is everything a marketer who can tighten the sales funnel and execute a growth strategy that delivers consistent sales pipeline is a valuable asset.
To break down it down to its essence. Growth marketing is a dynamic function that shifts the focus back onto the customer.
Question: Growth Hacking v Growth Marketing — The same?
Close, not quite. To simply put it. You’re not wrong, they can be found in the same family tree, they even share a coffee cup sometimes — arguably pre dating Covid-19 [now they just Zoom call].
Growth marketing is the broader concept that a business sets out to grow its audience and test various marketing channels, whereas growth hacking doubles down on the execution of a specific tactic, on a specific channel, that grows that audience generally with little cash resource.
In 2010 Sean Ellis, the first marketer at Dropbox coined the term, “growth hacking” laying down the world a specific definition. “How to Find a Growth Hacker For Your Startup:”
“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinised by its potential impact on scalable growth. Is positioning important? Only if a case can be made that it is important for driving sustainable growth (FWIW, a case can generally be made)…An effective growth hacker also needs to be disciplined to follow a growth hacking process of prioritising ideas (their own and others in the company), testing the ideas, and being analytical enough to know which tested growth drivers to keep and which ones to cut. The faster this process can be repeated, the more likely they’ll find scalable, repeatable ways to grow the business.”- Sean Ellis
This is a rabbit hole well worth pursuing. There is a lot much to unpack check out this great article dedicated to the similarities and differences between the two principles.
Question: How is it different from traditional marketing?
To paraphrase advanceb2b growth marketing differs from traditional marketing in five major ways:
Question: What are the characteristics of a successful growth marketer?
Which skills are more important than others when it comes to excelling in a growth role — this is a poignant question, especially because there is no predetermined path to becoming a growth marketer.
To unpack the subtleties between traditional marketing teams and those who adhere to growth marketing principles I reached out to my network in recent weeks. After speaking to a handful of colleagues in hiring and senior leadership positions four competencies emerged.
- A Ruthlessly Commercial Mindset [Renewed and New Business]
- Analytical Capability Leading Strategic Thinking [Data Driven Marketing]
- Channel Specific Expertise [What works for a specific client or business type]
- Cross Functional Channel Project Management [Stakeholders and internals]
To read the tea leaves — marketing is no longer solely focused on the top of the funnel and acquiring customers — it’s about acquiring customers will renew.
Question: My Higher Ups Want Growth What should I do?
Should I buy some miracle-grow or whey isolate? — maybe only out of office hours.
Often the disconnect from senior leadership their direct reports isn’t apparent until the final review meeting post campaign or pilot. It seems that mid-senior and junior marketeers are willing open to embrace growth marketing principle. However, there is something that blocks process and progress.
Over the last few years, growth marketing has helped re-define the goal of marketing. Drift breaks this down for us.
Successful marketing is no longer only about the top of the funnel and acquiring customers — it’s about acquiring customers who are going to stick around.
Growth without retention isn’t growth after all. And growth is more important than ever…Growth marketing isn’t about fixating on one part of your funnel. It’s about looking at your entire customer lifecycle and using those insights to create compounding returns that drive more engaged customers.
Question: What Growth Skills Can Make a Difference?
The current global context is tough. Economies and businesses across the world have been shellshocked by the national lockdowns and restrictions. However, if your long terms goals have not changed structure and clearly set strategy will be your north star.
When bringing formulating strategy out Growth Marketers should consider:
- Embracing the creative. Often data can dull the wider campaign side of things.
- Knowing what your customer [and ideal buyer persona] eats for breakfast — User/Buyer data is everything. Solve for X [their pain] and cultivate long term commercial relationships.
- Arguing with data. You must be willing to measure everything.
- Pulling the plug early — this is a skill. You must be able to admit failure at the right time.
- Test, optimise, iterate, test repeat.
“The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.” — Sir John Templeton
From day one planning meeting to full rollout of sprint planning. Growth marketing, should focus on a tactical implementation, setting up scalable growth opportunities all in a timely manner with the above in the forefront the process. This structure will free up work on other high impact areas of the business. The sky is the really is limit.
KPIs and Growth Marketers
As marketers, we’re often incentivised to go for the quick wins.The need to meet acquisition-focused KPIs means lead generation can become the only thing that really matters in review calls.
Most teething problems arise when stakeholder are not universally aligned to one goal. If marketing is focused on lead gen but accounts are advising a retention approach it’s like to cause a breakeven between customers leaving and customers in. Churn can cancel New Business leaving the relative cost of marketing high. This is something Growth markers should consider. What is the best strategy to achieve growth — there’s no point setting kPIs to SQLs for new wins if the business requires a customer success program that keeps the churn low. Todd Barnett, Chief Revenue Officer of Drift speaks about unifying the over core metrics.
Unifying your core metrics in this way is necessary to solve the disconnect between marketing, sales, and CS. Once teams have a single source of truth around metrics and data, instead of debating who’s got the right number or why the data doesn’t match up, companies can identify deal risk and upsides, accelerate current quarter pipeline, and accurately predict revenue and forecast future quarters.
On a foundational level, everyone needs to be working towards common goals. With the right metrics in place — GTM teams can approach the right initiatives to move the revenue needle.
Growth marketing isolates variables while addressing and isolates the variables that make prospects tick when they engage with you. You’ll discover key messages that work and be able to proliferate that across your entire organization.
In 2021 keep it simple. Conduct experiments to improve the results of your activity. Align metrics and if there is a certain metric you want to impact positively, growth marketing can move the dial.
Daniel is a Senior Marketing Professional working in the SaaS B2B industry. Based in Ireland. Passionate about Sport, Product Marketing and Remote