As the world around us takes an unprecedented turn, the instinct for many marketers will be to play it safe. But as Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
The B2B companies who will thrive in this new climate are those with a growth marketing mindset; who are willing to bend, flex and try new things.
What is growth marketing?
“Growth marketing is an integrated approach to growing your business and optimising your content marketing efforts through constant testing across marketing channels.”
In traditional marketing, you create a long-term strategy using proven marketing tactics and tools. You collect data, but you don’t really dig into that data beyond checking on traffic and leads. Because you’ve got a plan, right?
But adopting a growth marketing mindset means continuously looking for new opportunities that will help build and engage your audience.
Growth marketers are in a perpetual state of flux. They constantly experiment with new approaches to see what works best, using data as the driving force behind all decision making.
Because it’s impossible to know what truly works for your brand without an element of trial and error.
Deriving insights from data
Growth marketing relies on data. You need to collect data at every customer interaction and ideally, collapse it all into one area so you can derive coherent insights from it.
Marketing tools like HubSpot and Google Analytics can help you to collect and analyse your marketing data so you can turn it into meaningful and actionable insights. These insights should become the cornerstone of your marketing.
How to develop a growth marketing mindset
1. Look at the whole sales funnel
Traditional marketing tends to focus on the top of the sales funnel - raising awareness of the brand. But a growth marketing mindset means looking at every stage of the funnel:
- Top of the funnel (Visitors, Leads)
- Middle of the funnel (MQLs, SQLs)
- Bottom of the funnel (Customers)
If you only focus on one stage, you either won’t be doing enough to generate leads in the first place or not doing enough to turn those leads into customers.
2. Identify key metrics
Once you get to grips with your sales funnel, you can start identifying the metrics that are going to matter at each stage:
- Top of the funnel - e.g. website traffic, social engagement
- Middle of the funnel - e.g. leads, email open rates, click through rates, conversion rates per channel
- Bottom of the funnel - e.g. opportunities by channel, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), revenue by keyword
Be sure to track metrics that are going to be useful to you and that you can interpret the data from in a meaningful way.
3. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses
Now you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your funnel. If you have a lack of traffic, that’s the biggest issue you need to focus on. Perhaps you need to re-look at your keywords to make sure you’re targeting the right ones to draw in the relevant audience.
Or maybe you are getting lots of traffic to your website but failing to convert visitors into leads. Are you clearly communicating your value proposition? Are your CTAs clearly visible or is your website so crowded that people don’t know where to look?
At the same time, you need to leverage your strengths. What does your company have to offer that your competitors don’t? Are you communicating this clearly enough? What are your top products or services for bringing in revenue? Are you clearly signposting people to information about these solutions on your website?
In a HubSpot webinar on developing a growth marketing strategy, Sujan Patel, co-founder of Mailshake & Web Profits, suggests using the Bullseye Framework to help you prioritise what to test.
The framework is broken down into three rings:
- The outer ring contains what’s possible - all your prospective opportunities from new or existing channels, e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, podcasts etc.
- The middle ring focuses on what’s probable - the channels with potential to gain traction that you haven’t fully focused on growing yet
- The inner ring outlines what’s working - the top three channels with the highest potential for gaining traction for your business
As Sujan explains, “If your main focuses (in the middle of the ring) don't align with the channels that are working for you once you've analyzed the data, it's time for a rethink. Focusing on proven top tactics is vital.”
5. Inspire a growth mindset from the rest of the organisation
The final part of developing a growth marketing mindset is getting the rest of your organisation on board. You need your Sales and Support teams in particular to be excited about getting creative and experimenting. They will be talking to customers all the time, and the feedback they’re getting could lead to new, great ideas.
Tips for success
Being bold and creative is what will set you apart from your competitors.
Neil Downling, vice-president of global integrated marketing at professional services firm Genpact, says B2B companies need to think with a challenger mindset to maximise their impact. At Genpact, disruption has become part of the marketing team’s psyche and people and are prepared to take bold and brave decisions.
If you’re going to take bold and brave decisions, you need to embrace failure too. As not every experiment is going to end in success. The trick is to figure out fast when something isn’t working so you can learn from it and change tact. The best growth marketers are able to think on their feet and flex and adapt their approach when needed.
Growth marketing is about looking at data and driving insights from that data back into the business. To get that critical data, be sure to measure everything you are doing.
Instead of building long-term project plans, adopt an agile methodology and break down your marketing activity into shorter monthly and quarterly ‘sprints’ with goals. This will help keep you on track to make decisions based on data rather than hunches.
B2B marketing isn’t easy at the best of times. The buyer’s journey is often long and complex with multiple decision makers involved. Most of the people who visit your website won’t yet be ready to buy. And marketing technology is evolving quickly.
But by adopting a growth marketing mindset, with each experiment and iteration you will get closer to a comprehensive strategy that will help you to achieve your goals at every stage of your funnel. Now more than ever, B2B marketers need to challenge the status quo and look out for new opportunities to engage and build their audience.