3 MUST Focus Areas for Growth Managers

There is an increasing amount of noise out there about what a growth hacker or a growth manager (please don’t confuse these two!) should do to drive 10x growth in organizations. I’ve seen a lot of tactical suggestions, examples and strategies, ranging from PPC, A/B testing, to branding and sales organization setup, but very few talk about the WHYs, the reasons behind all the tests and the activities, the larger picture, the strategic intent. Sure, you can argue that it could be all for growth.

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Growth for growth’s sake is not sustainable and is a bigger danger to a company than not having growth in the first place!

Here’s my take on it. Every Growth Manager who is building a sustainable oranization must focus on the following 3 elements:

  1. Product Marketing
  2. Business Development
  3. Investors & Other Key Stakeholders

1. Product Marketing

The Growth Manager needs to understand the customer and be able to work with the product & sales teams to develop benefit statements and compelling stories.

They own the message, the brand and the marketing strategies, channels and budgets and are responsible for lead generation, PR, thought leadership, influencer relationships and all other brand building activities. They own the paid, earned , owned media mix and drive brand awareness both industry-wide and to customer segments.

Here’s a very good definition given by Openview Partners:

Product Marketing also focuses on understanding the market and market needs, but with an emphasis on understanding the buyer of the company’s products and services. Product Marketing is responsible for developing positioning, messaging, competitive differentiation, and enabling the Sales and Marketing teams to ensure they are aligned and work efficiently to generate and close opportunities.

Deliverables: Product Marketing Strategy, Marketing Assets (website, branding, PR, messaging), Marketing Campaigns

2. Business Development

If a Growth Manager focuses on just the first point, then they are effectively a Product Marketing Manager. However, given the moment a growth manager joins the organization, they are required to step up and step in the business development process, as well as the marketing process.

That way, they learn two important things – first hand customer feedback on product marketing messages and materials that sales teams need in order to be successful. The feedback is very useful in refining and iterating on product benefits, narrative, angle, story, case studies, customer success showcases.

The materials needs assessment feeds into creation of product sheets, pitch decks, videos, websites, communication campaigns, email marketing, automation flows, lead nurture campaigns – any activity that the sales team needs “air support” for in the process of moving leads down the funnel to opportunities and active customers.

Deliverables: Business Development Strategy, Sales Funnel, Sales Pipeline Management, Sales & Marketing Collateral (white papers, product sheets, videos, presentations, nurture campaigns)

3. Investors & Other Key Stakeholders

To ensure healthy and sustainable growth, the last piece of the Growth Manager puzzle is resource & stakeholder management. They must always think two steps ahead of the game, making sure the team is ready to raise the next round, ready to bring in the right people to expand the team and ready to present itself in front of customers.

Growth Managers need to figure out how the company should look like, what it needs to become, in order to grow into that picture piece by piece. It can be the way the branding is portrayed, the way the website is designed and structured, the way you handle recruitment & employer branding and how all of these are externally perceived by stakeholders other than customers – i.e. investors, partners, future employees, peers.

Deliverables: Marketing Collateral, Investor Relations Collateral (decks, website, marketing and sales assets), Employer Branding Strategy & Collateral

If you are a Growth Manager today or planning to become one, you must keep your actions focused on all three of the elements to ensure consistent, sustainable results delivery. Hey, one day you could be the CEO of the company.

Secret Sauce #GrowthHacking book – the review of a preview

I recently got my hands on the free chapter of the Secret Sauce Growth Hacking guide. You can get it too here – secretsaucenow.com. In a nutshell, it’s a 14 pages walkthrough on how to get free press, whether you’re a startup or a more established company, but struggling to get your foot in the door with the media reps & journalists.

The chapter is well written and uses good examples and step-by-step sections where one can easily take the learning and apply it right away. Hell, I’m going to try it next week to see what happens, how fast I can get those couple of dozen media articles. I even have the right campaign in mind to do it. I bet you have one of those ideas, too, right now. But like me, you may be lacking the tools or the knowledge about the order or the approach which you need to take on to get noticed and published.

Even with my 10 years of digital marketing, growth hacking and PR experience in corporate, startup and agency environment, I was impressed with the big promise it starts with – the 1000s of journalists you can reach out to in a scalable way without risking to be a robot.

What you need to do to achieve this is to build that list of 1000s of websites (pay attention here, it’s websites, not contacts). Use the Chrome Scraper add-on for speed – it gets you directories. Cool, right? Ok, then once you have the list, then go to Buzzstream.com and push that list to get the contact details (magic!) and you are only left with the email and press kit to put together. Then you start mailing and replying to the ones interested.

Download the free chapter to find out exactly how to pitch and what to include in the press kit and please come back and tell me if it was worth your time.

Featured image source

You can’t capture micro-moments just like that

Recently read about Google’s VP of Marketing saying that the advertising game is “no longer about reach and frequency”, but about capturing micro-moments. While the micro-moment focus is not news coming from Google, they’ve been at it for a while, the real deal here is the fact that a VP of Marketing is suggesting to drop demographics and identity to focus on immediacy and intent.

The author citing the Google rep tries to steer away from just micro-moments, suggesting to match customer data with context, but that’s still not enough. Let’s think about a use case:

Imagine you are searching for something you need, like money transfers or a sim card company for calling abroad.

Is it enough to stumble onto an ad?

What if that keyword group or market is saturated by competition and you see 10-15 different ads in a search result page?

How do you make up your mind which ones to click?

Then how do you make up your mind which ones to buy?

The short answer is that we don’t know for sure. But experience, past results and methodologies show that one person buying a product or service will go through several stages until they purchase. That’s AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action), in this example. A customer is unlikely to take action if they aren’t aware, interested or desire your product or service and to desire, they must first be interested and to be interested they must first become aware. While you can short-circuit the model with Adwords, you can do it only if the perceived risk is lower than the promised reward and that’s difficult to assess if there is no awareness of your brand, product or service.

To build that awareness -> interest -> desire flow of customers, you want to look at demographics, reach and frequency of interaction with your multichannel touch points – that’s PR, events, offline branding, content marketing, emails, search ads, display ads, social media, endorsers, referrals, reviews. This mix becomes critical when you have a trust barrier to overcome, like in financial services or healthcare, for example, where the lack of delivery is financially or physically painful. In that case, Adwords alone cannot do the job. I like to compare its impact to that of the weapons in the case of the hunter and the hounds.

The hunter can only shoot the prey which is her weapon range, so she has to spend a lot of energy going out and finding the herds of deer. There are others out there too, so she might find herself heading to the pack and shoot or scare the prey. So her best bet is to bring in hounds to find and steer the prey in her direction. That way, she doesn’t have to waste time and energy going towards packs or shooting from afar, with little chance of success, but rather have deers come to her, cased by the hounds, and making single sure shots.

Chasse_a_courre

Image credits: wikimedia.org

But what are the right hounds (channels) to go for? How do you choose them? That’s where the narrative, strategy, product USPs and experiments come in.

Tutor @ The Alchemy Diploma of Digital Marketing – April 2015

Proud again to announce something cool that I am going to do this year in London. I’m going to put my Digital Marketing, MBA and Entrepreneurship skills & experience to good use mixed with the seasoned methodologies of the Digital Marketing Institute to create the space for Londoners to take the first steps in the digital world. Here’s the blog post I wrote for the class earlier in the week. Please feel free to share 🙂 And use the EARLY BIRD code when registering.

Update 6/3/2015: Supersaver code expired, please use Saver 🙂

Update: 24/3/2015: The Saver code is gone now!

alchemyclass

We believe in giving before taking, so here are our 10 key digital marketing tips that will help you build amazing campaigns using the best digital mix.

1. Be helpful, honest and open – the rise of the internet & mobile connections have brought people closer together & closer to brands. It’s now more important than ever to stand out with a helpful message. Give before you ask.

2. Write for your customers, not for Google – too much we have focused on keywords and link-building for search engine optimization and forgot about the power of digital PR, organic mentions and fresh content.

3. The click is just the beginning of the journey – use today’s wide variety of pay per click networks, but don’t forget to track your customer all the way from the banner/link ad to your thank you page. You will learn a lot.

4. Email is king – if used correctly, email is still a very powerful tool, even with the rise of social media. Gets people clicking and gets people buying. What would you do without all those travel deals, Timeout offers or cool discounts that you get every day?

5. Display advertising enriches brands – pictures are worth 1000 words, especially in display advertising. Show what’s great about your product of service, make people smile, laugh or go “aha” with that design and copy. Clicking isn’t everything here.

6. Use that mobile connection wisely – our (smart)phone is the most intimate communication tool of them all. We carry it around with us every day and use it regularly. Do everyone a favour and don’t be intrusive. Connect with a purpose and add value.

7. Measure everything – the internet was a big leap forward from the TV or print ads because we now can track each and every marketing tactic. So we know what works and what doesn’t and focus just on the stuff that works. Analytics tools have to be part of every digital mix, no matter how small.

8. Social media is about being social – Don’t just start a social media channel to broadcast, use it to connect and engage with your customers, answer their questions, post useful content and entertain them. Oh, and use photos and videos a lot, it works.

9. Not all social networks are useful for your business – or for yourself for that matter. Learn how to choose from the wide range of networks and go where you can best provide added value and reach your customers at the same time. I know, a tricky one.

10. The strategy pulls it all together – the mix of tools is not a campaign unless we make strategic choices and establish a clear path, a tone of voice, narrative, approach, network mix and a set of indicators that will tell if we are successful or not. Never start a digital marketing effort without a strategy. You’ll never know if you are successful.

This is just a 5 minute taster of a 10 module Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, an accredited course we are running this spring in London. Just to give you an idea of its scale, over 9,000 professionals from 36 countries have graduated and taken enhanced digital knowledge back to their businesses. So why not join them in April?

We have two types of classes, both full time and part time, run by two experienced tutors, Mike and myself.