Growth marketing requires more than the alignment of sales and marketing. It also factors in the product itself—with clarity on what you’re selling (and why) and agreement on the metrics to track your success, according to speakers at last week’s Growth Marketing Conference [Advanced], in San Francisco.
More than 250 marketers from around the globe gathered at the Kabuki Hotel for the conference. Besides the marketing and advertising industry, attendees were drawn from Internet, software, and IT companies—appropriate for a tech-dominated, startup-heavy region like the Bay Area. One session was even titled “Dorm Room to Trading Floor,” nicely illustrating the overall focus of most of the sessions.
Early on the first day, Arman Rousta, CEO of Blueliner Marketing, outlined his seven pillars of growth marketing. The approach is based on the interaction of seven basic activities—content, design, search, media, CRM, social, and mobile—and seven “modes,” or ways, to work on each category—brainstorming, ROI planning, strategy, people, tools, execution, and analytics. But in order to make the pillars work, Rousta told the crowd, they should ask themselves, “What is the ethos, the core value of the company and teams, and are we following that?” Most companies that are successful at growth, he said, have a “code,” or approach to life. To illustrate the point, Rousta shared a quote from Albert Einstein: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
Having a goal transcends the mission statement, he continued: “There has to be joy; there has to be an emotional component as well.” To support the emotional component, he advised CMOs to “make sure you find people for the role that’s best for their nature.”
The importance of a company ethos was echoed by Tali Rapaport, Lyft’s vice president of product, in a panel discussion on “The Winning Growth Formula: Product + Sales + Marketing.” “Being thoughtful about defining what growth means is something a lot of teams miss,” Rapaport said. Companies tend to grow because they do one or two things really well, she continued, not because they do 10 things sort of well. “Defining the growth metric is about making sure everyone’s on the same page about the brand story,” she said. “Making sure there’s a consistent narrative is invaluable in tracking growth.”
Another panel member, SurveyMonkey vice president of marketing Ada Chen Rekhi, warned that getting everyone aligned on the same metric can be difficult. “Alignment is based on a shared understanding of what you are measuring and whether you all agree that’s the metric,” she said. Rekhi pointed out that reaching such agreement can involve a “surprisingly difficult negotiation sometimes. Different teams optimize for different things.” She went on to say how it’s also vital to find a product-market fit before even trying to grow. “Nail it before you scale it,” an audience member paraphrased.
That panel was followed by Archana Agrawal, head of data science and growth marketing at Atlassian, who explained “The Secret to Atlassian’s 10-Year Growth Streak.” She told the group that the secret is based on three elements: customer, measurement, and access. Atlassian puts a lot of work into deciding what to measure and into enabling everyone to explore the data collected, she said. “No one person can contain a company’s entire growth goal. You have to enable different people to look at the data and come together around different metrics,” Agrawal said. And in keeping with the 10-year basis for her talk, she advised, “Growth is a long-term game. It’s not one person’s job or one team’s job.”
The day ended with Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, offering “Key Lessons in Advanced Customer Acquisition, Conversion, and Retention.” The focus of Patel’s talk were his “seven ways to growth hack your business.” His advice:
- Flip your sales funnel: Rather than asking website visitors to provide an email address first and then following up with a call for action, get a “microcommitment” from them first. For example, Crazy Egg’s landing page invites visitors to enter their URL to get a heat map of their own site. That action represents a tiny conversion all by itself, and you can build on that.
- Make signup easy: Let visitors use their Facebook or Twitter identities to log in instead of forcing them to create a new name and password. Parenthetically, he added, the term “log in” produced more signups for Crazy Egg than “sign up” did.
- Leverage Instagram to connect with your customers.
- Integrate with other people’s platforms: If your product is compatible with apps such as Dropbox or MailChimp, tie them together—it’ll make both products better.
- Set a “tripwire”: A tripwire is an irresistible offer that is hard to say no to—a free product, a PDF download, or whatever. Then upsell customers to something better.
- Use webinars to provide 30 minutes of free education, and then offer a product that can help them get the results outlined in the webinar.
- Solicit reviews: Ask customers for a favor to get them engaged.
Attendees left the event with new ideas for ways to approach and implement growth strategies. But they also left with a warning from Aaron Kahlow, CEO and founder of Mindful Order of Being, who spoke on “Growth Through Mindfulness.” Kahlow told the crowd, “Growth for the sake of growth is not a good strategy.” In other words, know why you’re growing, establish what you want to achieve, and figure out how to measure the results. Only then will you be ready to tackle growth marketing.