Annu Baral is the Head of Consulting Services at LatentView Analytics, a data analytics and decision science company.
The responsibilities of the modern marketing leader have grown from the management of Don Draper-style print ad campaigns in the 1960s that were portrayed in the TV show “Mad Men” to a core arm of the business—tasked with driving revenue and building brands. As marketing channels continue to rapidly expand, the mandate is changing for today’s CMO to move beyond looking solely at ROI and consider how marketing, customer experience and sales fit together to nurture the customer at all stages of their journey.
Historically, marketing has been an upper-funnel activity. How many people have engaged with your ad or visited your website? Success was measured by the reach and stickiness of a campaign, and more was always better.
Today, we are seeing a division between traditional marketing and growth marketing, and the difference is critical. Traditional marketing involves determining the best channel to mass disseminate brand-related information using historical data and industry best practices to achieve short-term sales goals. On the other hand, growth marketing takes into consideration all the possible data points along the way to inform decision-making in real time and leave room for campaign and brand evolution.
CMOs today need to merge core functions of traditional and growth marketing to facilitate customer relationships throughout the entire brand journey and positively impact topline metrics. It will become critical for CMOs to understand how marketing data is driving those metrics and put forth a growth plan for the next several quarters that takes into account not only sales but also customer loyalty.
The key difference between a traditional marketer and a growth marketer is how they visualize, organize and utilize their data. The enterprise has never had access to more data, but without a plan to execute, it can be overwhelming and difficult to glean insights from.
Before launching a lead-generation campaign, marketers should consider whether or not they’re making the most of their existing data. A common mistake marketers make when building their analytics strategy is narrowing their focus to customer-related metrics.
To create comprehensive insights, look at data from all sides of the business. Ask: How can we improve our customers’ experience? Use data from multiple customer touchpoints to guide the course of action to achieve customer-centric goals. Once these insights are achieved, marketers can use customer experience data to drive leads down the funnel.
Growth Marketing In Practice
Decisions based on gut feelings don’t work. A few industries have found success in eliminating biased decision making by leaning on data to inform their marketing decisions. In e-commerce, brands like Glossier have capitalized on their cult following to build businesses constructed on loyalty and customer experience.
As the first-of-its-kind DTC beauty brand, Glossier used website data early on in its product journey to identify which products customers were frequently purchasing together so that they could create bundles. Glossier SVP Ali Weiss told Wired that the brand leans on its customers’ direct feedback to develop new products. The brand’s best-selling cleanser called “Milky Jelly”—named for its texture—was created based on first-party feedback on an Instagram post from Glossier’s founder. Now seven years post-launch, the best-selling product has thousands of 5-star reviews.
Glossier and like brands combine data from social media, digital advertising and experiential marketing to identify precisely what resonates with their customers. The result: customers are willing to wait months for their products to arrive or restock. Their brand identity bleeds into every business area, making it instantly and widely recognizable.
Other brands have made themselves equally indispensable in their respective markets. Slack dominates corporate communication for nearly 80% of Fortune 100 companies; Airbnb and LatentView customer Uber are household names in the short-term rental and rideshare markets, respectively; Snapchat continues to grow its user base quarter-over-quarter by offering outside-the-box features to its users (remember when they launched the dog filter?).
Transitioning From Traditional Marketing To Growth Marketing
Marketers can build virality around their brand by considering the following examples of how to transition traditional marketing practices into the pillars of growth marketing.
1. Going From Email Marketing Lead-Gen To Community Creation
In an effort to increase customer retention, many e-commerce sites encourage users to opt-in to marketing emails as part of the checkout process when they make their first purchase. Instead, to encourage customers to be organic ambassadors of their product, marketers should create a community built around their product and inspire customers to join it. For example, high-end workout apparel brand Alo Yoga offers customers a 30-day free trial of its library of online yoga classes, “Alo Moves,” with every qualifying purchase. As an example on the B2B side, growth equity firm Volition Capital offers site visitors access to its Rule of 40 comparison tool in exchange for contact information.
2. Going From Google-Focused SEO To Multi-Channel SEO Strategy
For the first time in almost two decades, LatentView customer Google has been dethroned as the preferred search channel for consumers. In 2022, 40% of Gen-Z prefers TikTok and Instagram to discover new products—a nod to the quality of engagement created by video. Instead of putting all their SEO eggs in Google’s basket, marketers should opt for an SEO strategy that incorporates multiple channels and mediums.
3. Going From Upper Funnel Campaign-Based Marketing To Full-Funnel Customer Engagement
CMOs need to start incorporating information collected across the entire customer journey as they create campaigns. This includes information on customer sentiment, sensitivity to price or other key variables, how they engage with the product or service and their interactions with the brand over the course of the journey.
The CMO’s Role: Bigger Than Ever
Today’s CMO must interpret messaging on multiple platforms, in multiple formats, all while curating user experience through the entirety of a customer’s journey. Their north star metric is moving from marketing ROI to topline business growth. The buying cycle has changed, and looking at best practices is critical. CMOs today must identify where to look for the best data to help delight customers and drive growth.