If you’re not overwhelmed by the glut of channels cluttering up the brand-building landscape, you’re probably not paying attention. The apps, platforms and “revolutionary new strategies” are lumbering onto the advertising ark two by two, but without a way to try on new approaches to see what fits, we’re just left with greater confusion and a pile of misfit campaigns left to collect digital dust in the corner.
Traditional marketing is the elephant in the middle of the animal parade, following the camel in front of him without questioning why. It’s how we’ve always done things. It’s what we were told to do. Anything else is too risky. But what happens when we reach the front of the line only to find out we’re not happy with the ship’s destination?
Stop wasting time. Stop wasting money. Stop chasing your own frantically wagging tail. Transitioning your company from a traditional marketing mode to a growth marketing mindset is freeing. Here are seven reasons to make the leap:
1. REALLY Get to Know Your Ideal Customer
You know what they say about assumptions. Presume you know what your customer is all about, and you’re bound to take some ill-fated shots in the dark. Marketing is an industry dedicated to promoting and selling products, but too many companies focus on what the brand wants or has rather than what the customer needs. If you truly want to grow, you need to get to know the people who you hope will be behind your surge towards success.
Growth marketing is more personal, individualized and accommodating than traditional marketing. Through experimentation, we see what works and, like an ice cream shop that sells all out of chocolate and vanilla but finds their new Peanut Butter & Pickle flavor lingering on the shelves, we use consumers’ actions to discern who they are and what their pain points might be.
2. Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Growth marketing and user experience go hand in hand. We’re not just trying to interrupt consumers as they shop or browse, we’re creating meaningful experiences that attract and engross people. It’s Operation Titillate, and it’s the best way to foster a loyal fanbase, but it’s impossible if you don’t repeatedly walk in your customers’ shoes. Agile marketing tests the waters repeatedly so we understand what works, what doesn’t and what change need to be made.
3. Discover the Right Tools to Effectively Communicate
Once upon a time, men hammered messages into stone tablets. Eventually, our ancestors wrote on animal hides. Then we developed pen and ink, the telegram, the telephone, the internet … you get the idea. Now those macro inventions have given birth to micro innovations like apps that make it easier than ever to disseminate information. That said, no channel acts as a one-size-fits-all answer to communication. Picking the right tool is essential.
- Trello: Organizing the various pieces and parts of a major campaign is like juggling a couple dozen porcupines: difficult and potentially very painful. Trello smooths out the wrinkles by turning project management from a chore into a pleasure. People use it to do everything from planning a family vacation to setting up a virtual chore wheel, but we love it for marketing because of the intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes it a cinch to set up an editorial calendar, monitor team to-do lists, and sync up calendars.
- Buffer: Experts agree that brands need to have an active presence on all the major social media platforms, but those experts aren’t the ones who spend every morning in a frenzy, trying to get up to speed on feed activity and gauge the efficacy of yesterday’s posts. Buffer rolls your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest accounts into one giant ball of productivity. Plan, track, post, analyze and amplify, all from one centralized dashboard.
- Drift: Friends don’t let friends group text. Ditch the constant “ding ding ding,” and upgrade group communications with Drift, an app that connects website customer service and shoppers in real time. By reaching out and chatting to people as they’re waist deep in the decision-making process, you’re giving those visitors an extra reason to take action.
4. REALLY Get to Know Your Product
When you’re relying on traditional marketing to launch big campaigns, there’s typically a prolonged hands-off period during which you’re letting the campaign do its thing while you focus on whatever else just moved to the top of the look-at-me-now list.
The problem is this: even finished products evolve once they hit the market, especially as they’re used by customers and influenced by the marketing itself. Growth-focused approaches maintain a close tie to products, forcing you — in the best possible way —to maintain a connection to whatever it is you’re expecting customers to buy.
5. Uncover the Newest, Most Cost-Effective Channels
The long, tired cycle of traditional marketing is a time-tested recipe for sales fatigue and disappointment. By the time you realize some new, supposed-to-be-the-bee’s-knees channel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you’ve already devoted half your funding and about three-fourths of your sanity into making your square peg fit into that round hole. Growth marketing’s nimble approach to change means you can test out a new channel, judge the efficacy and then go whole hog or veer in another direction before you’re stuck in a long-term relationship with the app equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes.
6. Knock Down Silos, Build Bridges, Close Gaps
Traditional marketing companies have a lot in common with middle school dances: everybody is separated out into isolated little cliques, no one’s really having much fun and despite how much you want to have an epic experience, you’re just going to end up venting your frustrations into your diary (or a tumbler of scotch, your choice).
That kind of isolation no longer works in marketing. Silos make progress sluggish and gaps invite mistakes. Create universal goals, define how you’re going to qualify leads, share information about lead generation, react to changes across all channels in rapid fashion — all of that is growth marketing at work.
7. Identify Levers to Scale Your Growth Marketing Engine
If you want to ratchet up your results you need leverage. It’s not easy hoisting an ever-growing brand up to lofty new heights, but growth marketing allows you to identify strong footholds — the stories your audience is reacting to, the pain points that seem to resonate, the communication style that sparks engagement, the social media post that boosts your following by 25 percent — and take advantage of them with serious speed.
Traditionalists are sometimes put off by growth marketing’s amorphous vibe and seemingly chaotic structure, but look closely and there’s gold in them thar hills. Test out a growth marketing mentality, and you may just discover that there’s joy in the constant tinkering and tweaking and intense satisfaction in the idea that obsessive, data-driven experimentation can inspire change at even the highest level.