About this episode
In this episode, Sonya Keenan of the Omnichannel Media Group shares how to address the challenges of focus and growth marketing in businesses with a simple 3×3 implementation grid including:
- A simple implementation grid to facilitate decision making around specific growth marketing tactics.
- How to use the implementation grid to speak to each of your customers and amplify your growth marketing tactics potential.
- How to be sales focused while authentically share your passion, and connecting with customers.
A special offer to attend the DMDU 2019 conference.
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The challenge with growth marketing
When it comes to growth marketing Sonya Keenan of Omnichannel Media Group says –
All marketing efforts should produce growth — after all, that’s what we are trying to achieve in business.
The role of marketers is to match the goods and services a business offers with the needs of the customer. Marketing is just the communication between the two.
Often in marketing, we suffer from what Sonya calls the dating problem, where we go from, “Hi, nice to meet you,” to, “Let’s get married,” at the first touch. Decades of marketing research shows that it takes 6 to 10 pieces of communication to convert a prospect to a customer.
When you’re chasing growth, many ideas seem worth testing.
But that’s what also makes marketing hard.
With so many possibilities and ideas flowing every single day, two things often end up happening to the business:
- You get overwhelmed by all of the choices and possibilities and do nothing.
- You attempt to implement a few things with no sound rationale behind your choices.
In either scenario, there’s rarely any real progress.
Why are the fundamentals of planning an issue for growth marketing?
All marketing must have a plan.
A plan provides you with:
- Actionable steps
- A time-frame
- A budget
- Expectations of outcomes
Traditionally, business schools have equipped people with long-term strategies, business plans, etc. However, in our fast-paced world, where everything must fuel the need for instant gratification, entrepreneurs and CEOs often make decisions on the fly, setting aside a long-term strategy.
Even these reactive decisions can be part of a greater plan. To have a proper plan in place you must have:
- Measurable goals
- A clear understanding of what success looks like
- A defined exit strategy and agreed-upon circumstances for when it should be executed
- Communication strategies
- Tactics for generating buy-in
Implementing these aspects of your plan can accelerate growth dramatically.
Sonya says –
We’re seeing from social media platforms and their heavy bias towards groups and community building, that that’s what they want — they want us to build community. Now, to build community, you have to create something that people can follow, and for people to follow you, they have to understand the plan, and to understand the plan, they have to understand what does success tastes like, feels like, looks like, and how to know when we’re there?
Quite often, people become enamored with new marketing platforms. While there are many platforms that we can use and new ones being created all the time, the essence of marketing hasn’t changed.
A critical element of failing to plan properly lies in not measuring and monitoring success. For example, a business spends $10 a day on a Facebook ad. $10 a day is $3500 a year. That’s often more than what small businesses spend on strategic marketing.
You can prevent failure by understanding all the incremental measures which help achieve your objectives. You can use metrics to understand the value of what you’re doing to contribute to success and adjust your plan.
A key contributor to success is the creation of a scalable and repeatable process to efficiently execute, test and learn. In other words, focus on process first and then tactics. Brian Balfour, CEO of Reforge, certainly supports that in this presentation while he was VP of Growth at HubSpot.
What works for one business will not necessarily work or work well for another simply because there are a number of variables, including business model, audience and customer journey.
Why use a process for growth marketing?
If you have a great team, you need to give them autonomy and accountability (via goals) to decide what to work on.
A process allows your team to have a repeatable methodology to efficiently execute experiments and then learn from them. As you conduct more experiments, you’ll have more to learn from.
People + Process = Growth Marketing
Why document and compile your findings?
Processes become especially important if a team member were to leave. If they weren’t documenting their experiments, then they leave with all that information. All those experiments were wasted in that you no longer have the data to provide input for future decision making.
How a 3×3 implementation grid helps with planning and avoiding paralysis by analysis
Nothing happens until a sale happens.
A good question to ask is “What is it that we need to achieve now to prepare us to conquer future milestones and keep the business going?” When you’re a business owner, whether it’s B2B or B2C business, you can be far more creative when you know next month’s bills are paid with this month’s money.
Too often we get so caught up in what might be that we miss what’s right in front of us. An implementation grid can bring sharpen your focus to “Let’s make money now. Let’s fund our business now, so we can be far more creative and develop it in the future.”
The 3×3 implementation grid can help because it allows you to look at those phases of planning and work out the appropriate strategies and where they fit in that grid.
You can determine if a strategy is easy to implement right away or if it should be incorporated later when the business is more mature or additional goals have been achieved.
You don’t have to discount the strategy altogether but rather place it in a way that maximizes your business goals. As your business grows, you can put it back on the implementation grid in the future.
The 7-step process for developing a growth marketing framework with the 3×3 implementation grid
1. Define Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
A key aspect to developing a growth marketing framework is having objectives and their outcomes clearly spelled out. This will enable you to connect your team to measurable results and keep their focus on the business objectives that need to be achieved.
John Doerr, a successful venture capitalist who introduced Google to OKR, has a formula for setting goals which goes like this:
I will ________ as measured by ____________.
According to him –
A proper goal has to describe both what you will achieve and how you are going to measure its achievement. The key words here are “as measured by” because measurement is what makes a goal a goal. Without it, you do not have a goal — all you have is a desire.
Doerr’s formula is the best way to explain the structure of an OKR:
I will (Objective) as measured by (this set of Key Results).
To do this, it helps to:
- Pick just three to five objectives to work on at any one time.
- The objectives should be qualitative descriptions that are specific enough to be able to see an outcome and realize if a result is achieved or not. Do not describe the activities that will be performed.
- Key results are specific numbers that are to be achieved based on the objectives that need to be attained in a specific period of time. They should directly move the business nearer to reaching the objective.
- For each objective you should have 2-5 key results — any more and people won’t remember them.
- Ensure you can provide proof you have reached your result if it is to be counted as a success.
2. Brainstorm ideas
Depending on experience, you could brainstorm ideas or as Sonya says, you can find your church and stick with it. In her case, her church is Digital Marketer. They have a number of proven strategies that you could employ in your growth marketing efforts. To pick and the most effective tactics, you must keep in mind that they should offer the best chance of reaching your objectives.
For example, if you want to increase signups by 20%, then you need to review strategies that will allow you to achieve that result.
Another way of determining which strategies would work best is to look at what your competitors are doing or what other industries are doing. You could then decide if those approaches would be a good fit for your business model by having team members ask questions like why, what if… and what about….
Record your ideas, even if they aren’t used immediately. You could use AirTable, a spreadsheet or Trello to do that.
3. Prioritize by ICE score
After creating a list of potential ideas, you should prioritize them. You can create an experiment document that includes things like the hypothesis for the experiment, why you think it will work and the data you will need to work out whether it worked or not.
To do this you can give every idea an “ICE score” from 1 to 10. ICE stands for:
Impact – The impact the idea could have if it works
Confidence – How confident the team feels that the idea could work
Ease – How easy it is to test the idea/experiment, what resources will be needed to implement it and determine if it works as well as what time frame is required to complete the test.
Rank each of your growth ideas according to this ICE scale.
This will help you prioritize your list so you can find a few tests that have a high chance of success and as a result worth running right now. (Tip – Look for tests that are easy to run and will have a high impact.)
Before you actually run the experiment, you need to ensure you have an experiment document set up for the specific test.
Items that it should include are:
What’s your hypothesis? This could read like.
If successful, [variable] will increase by [impact], because [assumptions].
- Timeframe: Between 30 and 90 days
- Key result 1: Measurable goal (achieved 90 percent of the time)
- Key result 2: Measurable goal (achieved 50 percent of the time)
- Key result 3: Measurable goal (achieved 10 percent of the time)
Your assumptions need to be spelled out and justified with:
- Quantitative data from sources like past experiments and funnel data.
- Qualitative data from sources like surveys, case-studies, support emails, user testing, interviews, blogs and competitor research.
Create an experiment doc.
You could use Google Docs to create an experiment doc as it allows you to easily collaborate with your team.
Execute your experiments for the time frame allocated and measure results on at least a weekly basis.
In analyzing the results, you must examine what you have learned from the experiments. Your findings should also be recorded on the experiment doc for future reference.
Here are a few questions to help with your analysis.
- What was the impact of this test?
- How accurate were your predictions?
- Why did the observed results come about?
Assuming your hypothesis worked, and you were successful, you now need to document your step-by-step process into a “playbook” so you can turn this into a streamlined, repeatable process. Digital Marketer resources provides many of the steps and therefore makes implementation easier.
Key issues that can adversely affect a business’s growth marketing efforts.
Not identifying your ideal customers before using growth marketing frameworks
A lot of businesses have one customer avatar.
For example, a business in the food industry may use an avatar of a grocery store customer. Even with grocery stores they could be owned or run by different people some by middle-aged men, others by middle-aged women, and others by conglomerates.
How you communicate to that customer avatar can be very, very different.
Defining the journey for each one of those avatars is key because the content that a middle-aged woman in the health food industry needs versus what the general manager of a chain of supermarkets needs will be very different.
With B2Bs, particularly even just splitting it out into new customers, existing customers and lapsed customers, the sorts of communication is different and can provide varying results. A report conducted by McKinsey on B2B in the digital space surveyed thousands of B2B businesses and customers around the world and found that a lot of customers of B2B were frustrated that they couldn’t do sales online.
In reaction to this consumer frustration, businesses often increase their online capabilities, alleviating the need for human salesforce. The result of this, however, is that customers can service themselves by solely using online resources.
While this may satisfy a particular need for the customer to have convenience and autonomy, it can also hurt the business’s strategy. Questions may arise such as:
- How do we look after our existing customers?
- How do we give them service?
- How do we make them understand new product development?
- How do we keep them excited while putting the resources into the business development part of our customers as well?
How to use the implementation grid to speak to each of your customers and amplify your growth marketing tactics potential.
You can use an implementation grid for each customer avatar you identify and then build out your growth marketing strategies around that.
When you build out the customer journey, you can choose different strategies for different types of customers to move people through the different quadrants. This helps you understand the decision-making process and identify objections the customer may have to taking the next step.
Struggling with authentically sharing your passion and connecting with customers while being sales focused.
In implementing the growth framework, it is also important to understand the role storytelling plays in the process. As previously mentioned, the role of marketing is to match the goods and services of the business with the needs of the customer. The best way to communicate that need and how the product or service can meet it is through stories. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why gets to the heart of storytelling in an authentic way that enables you to connect with your customers. When you dive into the “why”, you’ll understand what fosters loyalty in a customer. More importantly, it also helps you refine your ideal customer.
Because you’re trying to solve a problem for a particular person, for a specific reason.
There’s a great saying that goes something like, “Tell somebody’s story and you’ll capture their minds, help somebody retell their own story and you’ll capture their hearts.” And in business, that’s what we’re attempting to do. Supply products that allow people to retell their story. Apple ads are a great example of that.
Check out the examples below of Apple at Work – The Underdogs and
Chinese New Year – The Bucket
Sonya says –
Think you can’t use stories even if you’re selling t-shirts?
Yes, you can, because if somebody buys a t-shirt that they love and they feel really good when they wear it, you’re changing their story, or they buy a t-shirt for somebody else as a gift, and they give it to someone to show that they love them, they’re changing their story. And that’s the part that’s the extension of storytelling that we sometimes miss.
Ultimately the place storytelling has in growth marketing looks like this
In other words, if you have found your product/market fit and your team is vested in your mission and brand story, then you can align your story perfectly with your customer’s story, and you optimize the entire buyer journey, throughout the entire marketing funnel. This is where storytelling can fuel that growth sweet spot.
Where does storytelling fit into our conversations with customers and the overall sales process?
Sales funnels aren’t linear. People drop in and out of sales funnels. Stories and how you use them are a way to promote customer engagement.
Facebook is an effective tool to foster such customer interaction. It values native-style ads over direct response ads. The engagement on them is far higher.
From a marketing point of view, that is challenging because it’s actually saying Facebook prefers you to do a video that you record on your iPhone and tell your story than doing a fully produced, fully-choreographed piece. But you still have to be able to tell the story.
What does that mean? Let’s take for instance a SaaS business that is trying to answer the questions: “What is the problem that our software solves? What is the pain point that somebody would get to that would get them to the fact that they want to use this software?”
The answer lies in understanding that and then creating content around that, that is probably the sort of content that will allow people to re-engage with you, and that’s what you’re looking for.
Over to you
The process outlined above will help develop your growth marketing strategies and tactics via the 3×3 implementation framework. To get more sales and engagement you need to take your audience through the customer value journey which turns strangers into superfans.