June 9, 2022
Every business is trying to grow, and many use marketing to do this. However, growth marketing differs from traditional digital marketing in that it goes beyond getting leads and hoping they turn into customers. These marketing efforts include campaigns that are intended towards business goals but seldom map out how to sustain scalable growth. But what really differentiates growth marketing from traditional marketing is that the focus is on constant testing and dissecting results, both the failures and the successes. At Ladder, we're big advocates for growth marketing and the benefits it creates for our clients. In this article, you’ll learn what growth marketing is, what it isn’t, and how Ladder’s strategy can help you gain business.
Growth marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on constant and in-depth testing of the creative, often through a full funnel approach using scalable strategies for long term growth. The key is that growth marketing will continuously test through each stage of the funnel, gathering valuable insights along the way. Growth marketing utilizes research, industry benchmarks, and data analysis to guide decision making and to constantly optimize and develop creative for maximum results. By challenging both successes and failures within campaigns, growth marketing pushes toward business goals so as not to become complacent.
Before we look at specific growth marketing strategies, let’s take a look at what it isn’t. Marketing agencies have traditionally based their campaign strategies on industry norms. They plan and develop campaign strategies to maximize customer awareness and acquisition. Marketers focus on getting people to notice their client’s brand through traditional methods, including placing ads in industry publications, events, trade shows, cold emailing, and social media ads. The strategy is to come up with winning ideas, design ads, budget for ad spending, and implement the strategy.
Inherently, it’s not a bad strategy. They do this by throwing a lot of money in at the creative and leaving it alone, hoping the strategy works and leads to paying customers. When businesses need to drive sales higher, they repeat the process, investing more time, effort, and money. They might optimize their existing strategies on an ad hoc basis, but the rigorous testing that growth marketing includes isn’t traditionally part of their overall strategy. Testing isn’t normally used to guide the overall strategy like it is in growth marketing. It’s done sporadically as the need arises. Traditional marketing can at times cause agencies to miss the big picture and not make adjustments accordingly because they are focused on incremental gains and ad hoc testing. The lack of continuous testing isn’t there. That’s where growth marketing succeeds.
Quite simply, growth marketing means your marketing campaign is based on growth. Everything you do, from constantly testing different creative techniques to utilizing different channels to optimizing testing, is geared toward growing the business in a sustainable way. Growth marketing involves innovative ideas, constant data analysis, and testing to help clients attract and keep more customers. The strategy isn’t only about growing the client’s customer base, it’s about developing personalized strategies across multiple channels to engage a company’s audience based on user behavior. The overall goal is to increase customer satisfaction. Growth marketing is about enhancing the user experience and building customer relationships, leading to customer loyalty.
For as long as we’ve been in business, we’ve been passionate about growth marketing. Ladder has harnessed growth marketing through regular and constant testing, analysis, and planning. We provide structure around monthly and/or quarterly planning to avoid complacency and to see where we can optimize the strategy. This also allows us to look at where successes are happening and iterate them. Many agencies and brands utilize growth marketing in the form of testing, whether that is audience focused or within the creative. What makes our approach at Ladder different comes down to two details:
When we onboard a new client at Ladder, our account managers bridge the best interests of the clients with their personal digital experience and the specialized expertise of our platform performance teams. We do this to develop an overall digital strategy that works across multiple channels. Our intent is to scale growth toward the overall goal of the client within that strategy. The creative planners take the lead on testing, working together with the account managers. This is to identify the best creative, messaging, and audiences they need to test to contribute to the overall scaling. This becomes the testing plan.
An agency implements growth marketing by developing strategic marketing strategies that include constant testing to help improve their clients’ brand growth objectives. This includes market research, testing, planning, and delivering growth marketing campaigns that lead to success. Implementing growth marketing means efficiently using advertising and channels to drive conversions for clients as quickly as possible. Growth marketing comes down to identifying which strategies work with each specific client and then testing and adjusting throughout the campaigns to continually optimize growth and increase sales.
At Ladder, we implement growth marketing by operating on monthly and/or quarterly planning. We constantly test, make adjustments, and adapt as needed throughout the month. The strategy is constantly evolving. We don’t just set our campaigns on autopilot and leave them. An important part of our growth marketing strategy is to continually look for ways to optimize the campaign throughout the month. If you only check it at the end of the month, you can only adapt and optimize once a month. You only see where the campaign is going and how well it’s working once a month. We see the importance of looking at it every day and making optimizations as we find areas where we can improve.
We always keep in mind the client’s overall strategy and overall goal for that month or quarter when tweaking the strategy. Now and then, we even adjust the timeline for testing as that allows us to acquire meaningful learnings. The structure and timing vary, depending on the client. The important thing is that we customize our efforts for each client as each one has different objectives and goals.
During the delivery of each plan, our team works cross-functionally to continually find areas where we can optimize the strategy. As a result, our growth marketing plans offer scalable and consistent progression that we can continually identify and hone in on. We see the results of each piece that we tweak right after we make the adjustment. We know quickly when a change works and when one doesn’t. This allows us to strengthen and build on the strategies that work and try a different approach for those that don’t without wasting time waiting for the end of the month to analyze the data.
Our testing is structured from various creative iterations, based on the most successful creatives. We take these successful creatives, adapt them, and use them to replace our least successful ones. By doing this, we are constantly optimizing the creative, which allows us to get more engagement with our clients’ ads. By utilizing this structure, we put testing and data-driven creative at the heart of what we do. This is where we differ from most agencies. They often only do this in a reactive instead of a proactive strategy and only integrate it on a case-by-case basis. What this allows us to achieve are growth marketing plans that offer scalable and consistent progression. In areas where we see a lack of growth, we can utilize our testing and creative adjustments to identify opportunities to improve.
A good growth marketing strategy has to utilize adaptability. Our growth marketing strategy at Ladder allows us to make adjustments as needed on a day-by-day basis. You need to operate within a well-defined structure, drawing on what has worked before. But, you also must be adaptable. Structure keeps you on the path, but adaptability drives a business forward.
Digital campaigns are fluid. You must do in-depth market research and data analysis, plan and develop strategies, and confidently launch them with the data-driven creative that you feel will lead to success. But in the end, you still need to trust how the audiences you're targeting are engaging with your strategies or if they’re engaged at all.
If that audience is the right one for your business, then you’ll need to be proactive and quick to catch details that you can learn from to move forward and optimize your strategy. The structure within the strategy is imperative to ensure that you make educated learnings and observations. But adaptability is what will give you the confidence to know how to translate those learnings into successful optimizations. This is what drives growth.
Growth marketing is the act of constant campaign experimentation and optimizations with the intention of scalable growth. To deliver growth marketing cross channel strategies, marketers have to balance being both structured in their planning and adaptable in their responses. This leads to a client relationship built on a foundation of reassurance, diligence to act with the client’s goal in mind, consistency in process to allow the client to feel both involved and guided through planning, and support through many touch points for clear and actionable communication.
Using this approach will not only help you gain business, but it will also help you to keep business. Not sure where to start but want to keep growing? That’s what we’re here to help with. Contact one of our growth specialists today to see how we can help.
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