How to Scale Marketing for Growth

This is the 50th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Here we are… the last post in this blog series of building a marketing team at B2B startups. We’ve covered a tremendous amount in the last 50 posts, and hopefully the content has been helpful in growing your team. As a startup evolves, the marketing needs and team makeup will as well.

In this final post, let’s consider what we need to account for as we scale the marketing function for a growing business. For my team at Netpulse, we hit a certain level of growth where we started to struggle with challenges such as:

  • We’re out of content ideas… what do we write about?
  • Did our team grow too fast… what should our interns do?
  • Are we seeing diminishing returns from our inbound strategy?

To help answer those questions and more, let’s outline a philosophy and considerations around scaling marketing:

1. Prepare for the old bag of tricks to be empty

One of the most frustrating aspects of our marketing team scaling was the increased difficulty in achieving our core marketing goals. In the very early stages of building a marketing team, there are a seemingly limitless supply of quick wins and big, impactful projects. Figuring out the core story, launching the websites and marketing automation system are all incredibly satisfying. As we scale, we need to be ready to look for new problems to solve, and recognize that the marketing strategies that worked last year, may not be as effective this year.

2. Look deeper than a dry MQL pipeline

A perfect example of old marketing strategies becoming less effective is in lead pipeline. After the first 18 months of growing marketing at Netpulse, I noticed it became a lot harder to acquire new leads. We had tapped the low hanging fruit, and the wells were drying up. This required us to dig deeper into our best lead sources, put more focus on the right channels and truly examine the size of our market.

3. Consider new combinations with partners

When we scale, we need to branch even further out of our comfort zone and expand work with partners. For example, Lyft just launched a cool partnership with Detla Airlines where users earn SkyMiles for Lyft rides. In the beginning of Lyft’s journey in establishing its brand, such a partnership would have been seen as a distraction to the core. Now that it’s more mature, Lyft can explore unique deals like that.

4. Repetition isn’t always a bad thing

Just because we wrote about a topic last year doesn’t mean it’s now off limits for good. In many cases, our targets need to see our messaging and read our story over and over again before they are ready to proceed through the buyer’s journey. Repeating content with a slight variation can actually be a positive for reinforcing our value proposition.

5. Consider team skills evolution

Skills we hired for in the beginning may be less relevant at scale. People who were invaluable on day 1 may be contributing a lot less on day 500 because of change in team makeup and the company’s marketing needs. It’s important to be aware of these changes, help the team evolve and have the difficult conversations if a team member isn’t scaling.

6. Don’t rebuild without good reason

It may be tempting to rebuild for the sake of a successful project. That is usually the starting mantra of a failed website re-design. While we may want to A/B test different messaging on our home page, it’s a sign that we may have the wrong people or wrong focus if we are gutting architecture because we need a good project.

7. Consider scale and scope adjustments

Finally, our company might have evolved to the point where we’ve saturated the market with a certain message or product, and now it’s time to reduce marketing focus in that area. That is totally ok, and is the sign of a disciplined, effective team.

Conclusions

Thank you to all of our readers and best of luck with your marketing team! Please feel free to contact me anytime if you need guidance… I’m happy to help!

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