There is no full-proof guide to marketing strategy.
What we mean is that there isn’t an exhaustive instruction manual. The business world moves quickly, and new technology and opportunities can make any manual out of date in a matter of months. Also, marketing is situational. A marketing strategy that works well for one organization won’t work (or isn’t in the budget) for another.
A good marketing strategy comes from a flexible approach or an innovative way of thinking. Growth marketing is that framework. Why? Because it was made to shift and scale with new data and market changes. Growth marketing’s goal is to improve your bottom line. The strategy isn’t locked in stone but made of steel that can be bent and sharpened according to your resources and the changes around you.
How does data-driven growth marketing work?
Data-driven growth marketing takes a full-funnel approach to testing and optimizing. It looks a little something like this:
- Identifying target customers
- Acquiring sales via creative experimentation
- Tracking your results
- Analyzing results
- Iterating based on the analysis
- and then repeating the whole cycle.
Note: We didn’t outline whether this was for top-of-funnel leads, middle of funnel audiences or loyal customers.
That’s because this strategy would apply to anyone in your journey map–no matter where they are—and aim to bring customers to the next level.
The importance of a data-driven approach to growth marketing can’t be overstated because it allows for informed decision-making and optimization based on real-time metrics and analysis.
Invoca found that companies that deploy data-driven strategies are likely to gain five to eight times greater returns on investment than those that do not.
Our goal with this blog post is to provide you with an overview of growth marketing (what is and what it isn’t) and map out actionable steps for you to implement a data-driven growth marketing strategy in your own business.
Growth Marketing vs. Performance Marketing
While both value metrics and optimization, there are a few key differences.
Performance marketing is typically focused on the bottom-of-the-funnel results, such as winning MQLs, and a happy sales team.
On the other hand, growth marketing strategy encompasses the entire customer journey from awareness to loyalty. This includes activities like launching an SEO strategy, paid search and social campaigns, adding new features or content to your site, testing various marketing campaigns, A/B testing landing pages, optimizing user funnels, and tracking web analytics. An overall strategy combined with strong assets and these chosen channels is what drives successful growth marketing.
Both disciplines provide valuable benefits to an organization. However, growth marketing is better suited for long-term growth strategies, while performance marketing excels when it comes to short-term goals.
How to Craft a Data-Driven Growth Marketing
Understanding Your Target Audience
The first step in any data-driven growth marketing strategy is to identify and understand your target audience.
This includes gathering data on your audience’s demographics, behavior, and pain points, as well as creating buyer personas to represent your ideal customers. Don’t forget to consider geographics and current industry trends.
For B2B companies, we recommend focusing on buyer groups instead of one individual. The exact number of people ranges, but Gartner finds that “the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision makers.”
Essentially, your target audience is a decision-making team. As an example, this team could be a group of executives working together on evaluating and purchasing enterprise-level software solutions for their organization. They need to be able to pitch your product or service to the company board members for purchase approval. Your offering should align with their needs. In the case of a software solution, this buying group is looking for security, scalability, and integration capabilities.
Techniques for gathering data on your audience include surveys, focus groups, and web analytics tools. Also, it always helps to check out your competitors and research how they move to resonate with audiences.
By understanding your target audience, you can build hyper-targeted campaigns and focused messaging that connects with them. You’re able to tap into their needs and craft not only your growth marketing strategy accordingly but also your product or service.
Setting Goals and Measuring Success
The target audience is analyzed. Now it’s time to take the next step—set business goals and measure success.
Most likely, you’ve already set and confirmed your business’s overall goals. This step is about making sure your growth marketing strategy aligns with them. Remember, you aren’t focused on how many eBook downloads your marketing team can deliver. After all, marketing’s job is to provide qualified leads that boost sales.
Once alignment is in place, it’s essential for you to start tracking progress and measuring success. It allows you to make informed decisions and optimize campaigns based on real-time metrics.
For what this process would look like in real life, check out this list that New North CEO, Tobin Lehman, crafted for tracking growth marketing strategy goals.
- Provide a frequently-updated dashboard against your goals. You need to be reporting frequently against the goals. Some companies use monitors in the lobby to show the live status of goals. Some use weekly meetings to share updates. The point is that goals are not real unless they are discussed frequently and tracked.
- Meet with each team member to coach performance on the goals. Breaking out individually will allow for candor and accountability in the group. Review the numbers together and see how each team member is supporting or hindering the goal.
- Provide group training. Find activities and aspects of the goal that could be supported with training for the team. Start the quarter off with a day-long training to help them hit the goals, or read a book as a team that reinforces the rationale behind the goal.
- Celebrate progress. If it’s a quarter goal, do something when you are on track at the end of the month. Let the team taste victory and keep the momentum moving in the right direction.
- Track the factors leading to the goal. Discuss the micro metrics associated with each goal so that you’ll have as clear a picture as possible of potential success.
Developing Data-Driven Growth Tactics
Once you’ve identified your audience—the who—and your goals— the why—now you can start to plan the tactics of your growth marketing strategy or—the how.
You’ll need to identify growth channels, such as paid advertising, content marketing, and account-based marketing. Too often, many businesses blaze ahead with tactics because of the latest trends. Make sure your audience can be reached effectively through that channel, and the ROI is there. Not all channels are for all businesses. And look into multi-touch campaigns that utilize multiple platforms at once.
A test-and-learn approach is a crucial part of growth marketing strategy, so keep it in mind for your tactics. Use it for optimizing campaigns and identifying what works and what doesn’t. Leveraging data to optimize campaigns, such as A/B testing and conversion optimization, are essential for maximizing ROI.
Want help implementing your strategy? Or looking to craft an even better one?
You’ve asked the big, strategic questions – that’s an excellent place to start.
Growth marketing with a data-driven approach will help your business thrive when done right. If you’d like to get it right, don’t hesitate to reach out.
At New North, we’ve been creating strategies for B2B tech firms like yours since 2008. More than a decade later, we’ve gained expertise in both execution and strategy to create campaigns for our clients. Find out what we can do for you!