What it is and why it matters
Marketing is a many splendored thing. And that’s a problem. The many meanings of marketing can create confusion for companies looking to achieve traction. Today what’s on tap is talking about growth marketing: describing what it is and, importantly, why you need it to scale.
Let’s set the context: here in Alberta the dominant industry, energy, has a commodity product and an existing market that sets the price. This means that we don’t traditionally have heaps of people whose professional expertise is about generating demand. This matters because the definition of marketing gets focused more on branding and communications (both important elements of growth marketing though not all encompassing) and even sometimes energy trading. Brand is nice (and, it turns out, very important to best position your product and company to the carefully selected ideal customers who need what you have to offer), communications are crucial (we would hasten to add, before communications can be accretive to growth, it’s imperative to tackle your messaging, a fundamental marketing element that helps you ensure you’re saying the right thing to the right prospects) yet these are elements of marketing, not enough on their own to drive significant revenue. In turn, many first time founders, startups and early entrepreneurs end of focusing marketing efforts only on branding and marketing communications efforts. The result can be a lot of marketing spend with little in terms of customer acquisition and retention. It’s good for the agencies and consultants who build the swoon worthy sites but not as good for companies and their investors.
Enter “growth marketing.” Growth marketing, sometimes also known by the moniker “growth hacking” is, at its simplest, marketing that’s all about driving revenue. As the qualifier growth explicitly defines, it’s about growth: marketing activities and initiatives focused on acquiring customers and revenue.
It’s the revenue, people!
We said it above but it can’t be overstated: the ideal outcome of growth marketing is revenue. Growth marketing is about getting traction that drives customer acquisition and retention for the purpose of revenue. For B2B companies, this typically means first understanding the buyer’s journey (how your prospective buyers want to buy, from their point of view, not yours), then mapping your sales and marketing processes to this, then prioritizing marketing initiatives that help you gain new customers and retain the ones you have. Exactly what those initiatives are varies by company, context and whether you’re in the B2B or B2B space. Bottom line (pun intended): growth marketing is about revenue.
It’s agile (aka ‘lean marketing’)
Just like the era of agile development, marketing has evolved to embrace a more ‘lean’ approach, meaning that instead of making big bets with associated big spends, the shift is to a more experimental approach that tries many marketing activities with modest spends to determine which are the best ways to traction for your company. Many marketing teams have adopted agile development methodology, running their marketing teams and initiatives in sprints so they can quickly plan, develop, deploy, test and iterate based on market feedback.
It’s integrated (say hello to ‘scmarketing’)
Growth marketing can’t happen in a silo (even though historically, the tensions between Sales and Marketing have been stuff of legends). A new more, integrated approach to marketing also defines growth marketing. It’s highly intertwined with Sales and Client Services, thus the term “scmarketing.” This integrated approach helps attract and retain the right customers, since your team is working collectively to define who your ideal customers are, how to reach them and retain them.
Growth Marketing matters since (most especially for tech and SaaS companies), revenue drives company growth. Building a community of talented, seasoned growth marketers in Alberta is something that we’re pretty committed to here at 321. We hear from founders and leaders at startups and scaleups alike that they need marketing talent. That’s why we’re in the business of building growing marketers! To find out more about our courses, contact us today!
Do you have questions about how to level up your growth marketing skills? Sign up for our upcoming Marketing Kickstarter on November 15!