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Lucas HamonJun 7, 2024 2:18:21 PM6 min read

First Marketing Investments Should Be Strategic, Collaborative, & FAST

First Marketing Investments Should Be Strategic, Collaborative, & FAST
7:14

Strategy, Synergy, and Speed are the three most important things when it comes to making your first marketing investment

You're about to hire an agency or marketing team to grow your company. It's the first investment you're making in Growth outside of Sales, which has so far consisted of the hustle and grind of networking and cold calling. You have some momentum, and it's time to scale.

Strategically, that means the entire customer experience carries the potential for change. The problems you face right now won't be the same as tomorrow, so having the ability to shift focus is instrumental to scalable growth.

Synergy is about aligning all of your Growth-makers (Sales, Service, Marketing), leveraging their unique perspectives, and maintaining buy-in and adoption for their individual and departmental roles in Growth achievement.

Regardless of where the momentum came from, you know that it tends to be fleeting, so the faster your investment pays off, the better. Things change so fast today thanks to generative AI, that the value of speed cannot be overstated.

There's a formula.

  • The bigger the investment (relative to your momentum), the faster it must prove out
  • The faster to market, the more relevant the idea you're about to implement is
  • The more relevant the idea, the more likely it is to generate impact

Here's a simple graph to illustrate:

Copy of Size of investment (1)

  • Speed in taking ideas to market
  • Speed in testing the limits of new ideas
  • Speed in generating data and impact
  • Speed in reacting and iterating
  • Speed in changing focus within the customer experience
  • Speed in achieving internal buy-in and adoption for any change that's made

 

That's the beauty of Growth Marketing


It's strategic.

Meaning, it's big picture and considers all aspects of the customer experience.

If you start with inbound lead generation as your first major tactic... or SEO as your first marketing tactic within the inbound framework--what next?

In Growth Marketing, the mark of success is the achievement of your North Star Metric (NSM). Conversely, when you take a tactic-first approach, the mark of success is limited by the tactic's influence.

For example, SEO achievement is traffic and other metrics related to traffic, such as pages viewed, bounce rate, etc.

Another example is inbound marketing, where achievement is measured by the number of leads generated.

Marketing KPIs like traffic and leads are important milestones, but they're not goals. The goal for anybody investing in marketing is always Growth.

Sales.

Revenue.

Growth. 

To illustrate, let's take a look at a Growth Marketing KPI framework that we like to use because it simplifies how we articulate the customer journey. It's called "Pirate Metrics:"
  • Acquisition - Lead acquisition in B2B--Traffic acquisition in D2C
  • Activation - Setting up discovery calls in B2B--Filling up shopping carts in D2C
  • Revenue - Signed engagements in B2B--1st purchases in SaaS & D2C
  • Retention - Fulfill engagements & renewals in B2B--Next purchases in D2C
  • Referral - Expanded footprints, testimonials & reviews, personal introductions

As you can see, there are no tactics embedded in the KPI framework, just milestones that are influenced by tactics. 

It's Agile.

What do you do if it doesn't work? What if you get no traffic? ... No leads? How long do you wait to respond? What exactly does one do in response? 

What does one do next if it does work, but you still don't get any sales out of it? Or, sales do happen, but so does expensive, soul-sucking churn?

In Growth Marketing, we operate in short, 2-week Sprint Cycles. Week 1 consists of analysis, ideation, and iteration. Week 2 consists of development & deployment--ensuring there is always consistency.

This is where speed is born.

By working in short cycles, you:

  • Identify momentum and velocity in real-time
  • React when it's still happening and relevant
  • Prevent yourself from waiting on outcomes that never materialize

With typical marketing investments like inbound marketing and SEO, it could take months or even YEARS to achieve more than just a KPI report. 

It's Formulaic & Collaborative.

In B2B, Sales is likely to revolt against any Marketing investment made that doesn't include their participation and input. They shouldn't be in charge of it, but they do play a pivotal role and should be part of the planning. They have unique perspectives on the customer experience, and you need them to close the deals that Marketing instigates.

For businesses that have self-service purchase models like SaaS and e-commerce, your Service and development teams have that critical perspective and provide those critical roles in customer success.

The point is, perspective and adoption are key.

With Growth Marketing, there's a formula to this collaboration. Using our proprietary method, Experimental Marketing, that formula consists of bringing Sales and/or Service together for:

  • Deep alignment in week 1 (workshop + SLA)
  • Strategy development in week 2 (workshop + concept development)
  • System & process updates + experiments for solving the first problems in week 3
  • Ongoing feedback, support, and ideation thereafter

Deployment starts on day 1 of week 4.

That's 21 calendar days from the start to the first experiment with a comprehensive strategy that marries your vision with the best available data--and an Agile plan for working through any problem that surfaces.

Planning and prioritization are fluid and rely on tools like ICE and the Pirate Metric framework to ensure you never miss a beat, commit to time-wasters, or get sucked into endless cycles of debate.

Then there's the 2-week sprint cycle formula that's driven by standing meetings and commitments to minimum experiment counts.

By being strategic, agile, formulaic, and collaborative, Growth Marketing leaves nothing to chance.

That's the problem with everything else

There are many issues with taking a tactic-first approach to Growth.

Since it's not strategic, even if it does work as intended, what comes before and after is likely to prevent any value from being derived from its success.

Since it's not Agile, it could also be years before you see anything good from it.

You're going to make mission-critical decisions about launch using the best available information--but the best available information isn't any good when you're just getting started. So, the likelihood that you hit a home run with your first attempt is much lower than when you're building on established success.

In those critical first weeks and months, 3rd party advice and verbal reassurances will only stretch your patience so far when you're $20,000 in and haven't published your first anything yet... or 6 months in, and the leads coming from your website won't pick up the phone.

And, since it's also not collaborative, it's likely to create a cultural nightmare. Meaning, your Growth-makers aren't working together or capitalizing on the momentum created by one another.

Conclusion

With Growth Marketing, we're prepared to change direction on a dime when (not if) the signals warrant it because of our Agile framework. We apply our efforts to anywhere in the customer experience that needs attention. We have a more realistic perspective because it involves your other Growth-makers.

And, we're willing to abandon tactics that don't work.

Our customers agree that these are the keys to growing in the age of AI.

Check out what they're saying about us here:

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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