11 August 2020

How To Build An Agile Growth Marketing Strategy

Find, prioritize, plan, execute, and measure your growth experiments with this agile growth strategy guide.

All markets are aggressively competitive and following a long term plan without being able to measure ROI will quickly hurt your business.

According to a Forrester Research study, only 36% of companies are very confident in their ability to measure ROI.

Agile growth is the method that will give you greater confidence and allow you to react quickly to successes and failures.

What is Growth Marketing?

Competition in all sectors has become intense.

A good product is no longer enough to retain customers and companies with better retention techniques will hurt you.

If a typical SaaS loses 2-3% of customers per month, it needs to grow its revenue by 27%-43% just to maintain the same revenue.

Simply focusing on acquisition like traditional marketing is not sustainable in the long run.

Growth marketing is more sustainable marketing for long-term growth.

Responsibilities of Growth Marketing

  • Research: Collecting feedback is the cornerstone of all other tasks of the growth marketer.

  • Positioning & Messaging: Strong messaging is essential to make potential customers want to try or buy your product.

  • Inbound Marketing: this is traditional marketing and focuses on attracting potential customers with a top-of-the-funnel strategy as well as acquisition.

  • Content Marketing: the goal of content is not only customer attraction and acquisition but also retention with articles, guides, case studies, landing pages, knowledge base, etc.

  • Onboarding: the first contact with the product is crucial in the customer's future engagement.

  • Customer Success: retention being paramount, being proactive in customer satisfaction is the most important strategy in growth marketing.

Growth Hacking vs. Growth Marketing

Growth hacking is, as its name suggests, hacks for rapid growth. And this growth is mostly based on acquisition.

There is no long-term strategy or vision for retention. It's ideal when you need customers quickly to validate your product.

If your product is already validated you need consistent, long-term growth. You will need to focus more on retention.

This is where growth marketing comes into play. By having a clear strategy on the whole funnel, your growth will be sustainable.

Overview of Agile Growth

Planning

No 6 months, 1 year, or even longer plan. 6 weeks is often the length of the cycles that I recommend and use myself.

Before each cycle, you look at the customer research that you collect on an ongoing basis.

Analyze the research and find the insights you feel are most relevant (those that are urgent and important).

These insights will enable you to create a list of experiments for the cycle.

However, be careful not to have too many experiments in a cycle. It is better to do the experiments well than to hurry and do them poorly.

Execution

Once the plan has been defined, it is time to put it into action. You can assign an experiment to a person or a group of people.

The most important thing is to be able to measure your ROI.

  • Analytics tools: Set up all the analytics tools that will allow you to measure the ROI of your experiments. VWO for your A/B tests, Google Analytics for your website traffic, Segment to measure conversion, Baremetrics for retention, etc.

  • Time: how much time was spent on each experiment.

  • Budget: how much money was spent. This can be a part of the cost of the analytics tools, the salary of your employees or freelancers, or the expenses made in the advertisement.

  • Changes: this will depend a lot on the experiment but it can be a reduction (or increase) in the CAC, a change in the conversion rate, churn, the number of responses to a survey, etc.

With all this data, you will be able to clearly measure the impact of your experiments at the end of the cycle, but also during the cycle.

If an experiment is a complete failure early in the cycle, it is often better to abandon it rather than spend more time on it.

Review

At the end of the 6 weeks, you come together to analyze the changes brought about by each experience.

Having a record of the failures will make it clear what is not working.

For the successes, you can continue them in the next cycles. Note, however, that short-term success is not necessarily a long-term success. Continue to monitor your ROI cycle after cycle!

Finally, for experiments with mixed feedback, try to understand why and learn lessons about what needs to be done for future cycles.

Retrospective

Once the review is complete, each person on the team will do a retrospective review.

  • What worked: More than the ROI, each member will describe what was easy to do, the experiments that did not encounter any problems, and their feelings about managing the cycle.

  • What didn't work: and reciprocally, each member will describe what didn't work, what lasted longer than expected, etc.

  • What needs to be improved: finally everyone will be able to suggest actions to be implemented to improve the next cycles.

Growth requires a plan

The points of interaction of your brand and product with your customers are numerous. Without a plan, it's easy to get lost.

A change in interaction can have far-reaching consequences. This is the butterfly effect.

Without a solid plan where you know where to go and how to measure the results of your changes, you can only cross your fingers and pray.

Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD)

JTBD is a theory used to explain why your customers buy and use your products.

If you don't start by doing the customer research necessary to understand your customers, your efforts on Growth will be in vain.

Yes, you will surely have success but not as much and not as repeatable as if you were using JTBD.

Ideal Customer Profile, Buyer Persona, Customer Journey Map

These 3 documents are very important to organize your customer understanding.

Having all the information you need to understand your customers always in front of you with just 3 documents is very valuable.

Create them, print them, and display them for all to see.

A common thread

All the steps in building a Growth plan have one thing in common: customer research.

Without customer research, your plan will only be a series of subjective assumptions.

Talk to your customers, take notes, organize the data collected, and analyze it. The insights you gain will often differ from your own opinions and this is how you can create a solid plan.

Growth experiments: how to organize, execute and measure them

Performing experiments without methodology will waste precious time and will not be optimized.

With a bit of management, you have the possibility to have experiments that will have a much more powerful impact.

Generate ideas

There is no other way to generate good experiment ideas than by talking to your customers or potential customers.

Customer research is the foundation of your Growth strategy and without it generating ideas would be like jumping out of a plane and forgetting your parachute.

Conduct interviews, send surveys, analyze conversations with support, and talk informally to your customers on forums, online communities, or at conferences.

Once the research is analyzed you will have enough insights to generate solid ideas with a high probability of success.

Prioritize your experiments

Now that you have a list of potential experiments, it is important to know which ones have the highest priority.

To do this, give a score out of 100 for the value this experience would have on growth and another score out of 100 for the effort (or complexity) it represents. Prioritize experiments with high value and low effort.

But you won't be able to give these scores until you have developed an action plan for each experiment. You will need to answer the following questions for accurate prioritization:

  • What is the cost of the experiment?

  • What tools are needed?

  • What needs to be produced?

  • What are the steps to get there?

  • How many people need to work on it?

  • How long will the experiment take?

  • What are the KPIs to monitor?

  • What are the obstacles and uncertainties?

Pillars of Growth experiments

  • Customer research: to generate experiment ideas from the insights of the research collected.

  • Prioritization: A good description of each experiment will generate constructive conversations from the Growth team and allow them to be better planned.

  • Analysis: Always measure your experiences to learn the right lessons and help accelerate growth.

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