Growth marketing has been around for nearly a decade, but it’s still a hotly debated marketing concept that people still don’t seem to understand.
Startups, tech companies and executive teams who want to “shake things up” hire growth marketers left and right in an effort to keep up with their competitors.
But many growth marketers I’ve spoken to are still unsure of what their role actually requires, despite being hired specifically for the purpose. They end up falling back on traditional marketing strategies. While those work, they are not “growth” and don’t give the expected results–thereby causing even more confusion and disillusionment.
For today’s post, I’ve invited Trevor Longino, owner of growth consultancy firm Crowdtamers. Trevor knows his stuff, having delivered his clients more than $20 million in revenue through sound content and growth marketing strategies.
That figure is kind of central to what makes growth marketers different from your traditional marketer. Although both use many of the same tactics and techniques to attract customers, growth marketers are hyper-focused on growing an engaged customer base in as fast and as scalable a manner as possible. It involves data, experimentation, and a lot of trial and error.
“Growth marketers aren’t perfect,” says Trevor. “We can be cockwombles, too. We’re given lots of responsibility, so our screw-ups have a large impact. I often see short-sighted strategies that seem benign–even helpful–on the surface, but actually hurt growth, not encourage it.”
According to Trevor, these mistakes fall into one of four categories:
- Forgetting the fundamentals
- Spreading too wide, too fast
- Ignoring the law of diminishing returns
- Poor documentation
Let’s break them down one at a time:
1. Forgetting the fundamentals
“It’s easy to leap directly into your favorite tactic,” Trevor admits. After all, when you’ve launched scores of campaigns for dozens of clients, you’re bound to have it down to a routine. “But doing so means you ignore the core persona, the USP and simply knowing how to talk to a customer.”
Yes, you drive short-term growth, but that’s based entirely on the strength of the tactic itself. You’re not developing long-term brand growth and market position, because it’s not aligned with your core audience.
2. Spreading too wide, too fast
Today’s marketers have so many options that there’s no end of places in which you can invest your attention and money. But therein lies the danger.
According to Trevor, “It’s unwise to create eight different campaigns on one channel, or to launch on four channels at once just because you can. You’re robbing yourself of impact.”
Instead, focus on testing and improving one core loop at a time. It will result in greater long-term growth than noodling around in half a dozen things at once. Trevor recommends picking a channel based on PIER scoring and then–here’s the important part–sticking with it for long enough that you can see growth over time.
3. Ignoring the law of diminishing returns
And then you have the other side of the coin. It’s easy to get so fixated on a single or narrow course of action that you start to see less positive results. Sure, you can continue to tinker and tweak elements of the channel, but there’s now only fractional improvement.
“It’s easy to get sucked into making your growth loops perfect if you don’t have ideas for a big new growth loop. Don’t fall into that trap,” Trevor advises. Get a core growth loop to perform consistently, and then move on to building a new loop that will add more substantially to your bottom line.
4. Document poorly
Documentation isn’t just for software developers.
Poor documentation leads to a number of problems that stunt your team’s development. You won’t be able to remember everything, and so you won’t be able to repeat your successes. You can’t scale a team if you can’t share what you’ve learned. And you can’t hand off work to others if there’s nothing they can reference (except your own musings).
“Your value as a growth person,” Trever stresses, “is to help a business find a repeatable and scalable system to make money. If you document lessons, hypotheses and performance, you’ll be able to recall lessons learned and build a growth team to support you.”
Once that’s done, the organization will then be able to scale as the needs for growth do.
The final word
Remember, growth marketing owns the flow of customers into and out of the product. Every single part of the funnel is ripe for improvement. If it means going into the bottom of the funnel and overhauling the entire customer success process, then do it.
Just make sure you are taking the long view when you do. As we discussed above, short-term tactics aren’t going to get you very far. It’s the long view that creates winners.
Trevor Longino is the owner of CrowdTamers, an international marketing training and consultancy firm that specializes in growth strategy and marketing automation. Read his LinkedIn Pulse articles for effective growth insights!