Four Trends Your Growth Marketer Should Be Following
Thanks to the rise of the Silicon Valley “Growth Hacker,” a data-driven growth monster who (in theory) can drive company growth 5–7% week-over-week, marketers have increasingly become focused on following formulas. Because of an over reliance on stale formulas to grow companies, I see an ever-increasing theme of badly run marketing campaigns: Facebook campaigns with pixels installed incorrectly, UTMs (Urchin Tracking Module) missing, spends on ad networks promising high CTRs (Click Through Rates) on banner ads, and a focus on vanity metrics such as app downloads. The focus has moved away from finding KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that matter, as they are harder to find and require a certain level of creativity. Download numbers are important, but time in app, time on site, returning visitors, and repeated conversions are a better measure of success.
Part of the problem with formulas is that they are always one size fits all.
A+B = C but B+F ≠ C.
I find this formulation to be a bit of a relief, as it means there is space again for marketers to dominate using new techniques. I love to create my own systems, and part of independent creativity requires more resourcefulness. It takes hard work and imagination to brainstorm and seek out truly undervalued channels and develop automated systems for growth within each unique company.
It means that there is space again for growth monsters to dominate.
So what am I loving right now? Here are my current picks for interesting places to explore:
Facebook recently reported that it has over 8 billion video views daily, or about 4 daily video views per user. Considering that there are only 7.4 billion people in the world, this is a truly astronomical feat.
Videos on Facebook have 135% higher engagement rate than photos.
You read that right:
That means if your photo posts averaging 200 likes, you can expect closer to 470 interactions with a video.
Thus, this yields decreased CPC and better results for campaigns utilizing video.
Better yet, with the photographic technology available on your iPhone, you can film everything your new campaign needs, without hiring a crew. With Linkedin releasing native videos, this form of advertising will work for B2B and B2C. Additionally, Neil Patel and Eric Su recently mentioned in one of their podcasts (Marketing School) that Linkedin videos are going to be the next big thing. Josh Fechter from BAMF is also mentioning the huge opportunity emerging with Linkedin’s native videos. So get filming now!
In a recent fireside chat with Jonathan Gaurano, creative content director of Hint Water, he laid out his rules for success with video content:
(i) Begin by identifying your target customers. This is easy to do using your Google analytics. Then dive deep into your customers.
(ii) Identify what demographics and behavior your customers have in common. Your next step is to focus on telling a story to sell your product or service. Jonathan storyboards everything prior to filming. Even a simple 15 second video is storyboarded.
(iii) Find and plan the story, and then sell the story in the first 3 seconds of the video. Most viewers move on within 30 seconds or sooner, so hook people fast with an emotionally engaging pull. Don’t forget to include the Call-to-action (CTA) in the video. It’s great to use external CTAs in the description of the video, but ensure that there is an actionable call (either text or spoken) within the video.
(iv) Use Facebook or LinkedIn engagement chat bots to connect with users who like and comment on your videos. DM active commenters with more info about your product.
(v) Lastly, learn from past campaigns: A/B test, optimize, and iterate.
One company I am watching right now, Indivio, YCS17 , is rolling out a product that A/B tests videos. They reduced Instacart’s CPA by 25%. Indivio is currently in beta, and are definitely worth a look!
2. Linkedin / Facebook Groups
One of the hottest undervalued channels is content distribution through Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Linkedin groups have been around for awhile, but they are having a renaissance. Communities are finally beginning to emerge and they are rapidly increasing potential reach. With the high level of engagement on these platforms identifying the right groups and stacking them can lead to a HUGE returns. The key to using these channels is to focus on creating real value for members, not repeatedly spamming the groups. Engage in real discussions with members, answer questions with legitimacy, and use your content as a way to help others.
Gaining members’ trust leads to more long-term valuable relationships. It’s a long game, making genuine value-creation via online relationship building, but it’s nevertheless useful.
I like the idea of distributing very targeted content that leads to landing pages with email signups, so you can use that email list to hit people all day on any appropriate channel.
3. “Jobs To Be Done” Messaging
So much of your success depends on how potential customers emotionally connect with your story. Think: how is our service or product making customers lives easier, alleviating pain points, or bringing delight?
The question for us is how do we craft impactful headlines, messaging, and content that will dig into our customers’ headaches, and on some level, emotionally exploit it.
You better make that headline emotionally impactful.
One of the frameworks creating buzz right now is “Jobs To Be Done.” JTBD was developed by Clay Christensen at HBS as an answer to the question:
“Why are customers using your product?”
He found that if customer interviews were conducted on the two key moments leading up to purchase — see chart — we could understand why a potential customer would “hire” our product or services. Literally, customers are hiring our products and services to do a specific job.
The framework seems to be used primarily for finding Product Market Fit, but I have found it an awesome tool in creating headlines, copy, and most importantly, messaging.
So how can you use JTBD for messaging?
Begin by conducting interviews with past purchasers. Spend time digging into their purchases and behaviors by asking questions. Listen for the reasons they maybe didn’t buy your product at first. Identify why they finally converted. Spend time doing a few of these interviews, and themes and repeated lines of thinking will begin to emerge. This insight allows to jump-in, craft targeted messaging, and start A/B testing.
4. Learn HTML, CSS, SQL and Python
I was told repeatedly that to excel in growth, you need to be able to pull your own data, and make actionable insights. I come from a traditional marketing background, and have seen first-hand how lazy many traditionalists are about data.
The days of Don Draper sitting on a couch with whiskey in hand and philosophizing about creative content are over.
Now we have entered the age of Big Data and machine learning. We as humans are inherently flawed in our ability to predict accurately. Using math and past information/patterns accurately is how companies like Facebook, Uber, and all the other unicorns have succeeded. Too many marketers are unwilling to take the time to learn basic coding, let alone master machine learning.
You will be at a disadvantage in the startup or tech world if you don’t have experience with code. After all, combining marketing with engineering is what made “Growth Hackers” in the first place. What’s more, your engineers and designers will love you, as they have little interest in receiving your tickets to pull data or change the color of a button. Mostly though, your boss will love you, as delegation takes time and saving time is saving money.
Take it a step further and learn to scrape data with Python, running basic hook-ups to ad buying APIs, run your LTV and cohort analysis with Pandas, and most importantly learn to pull with SQL. Yielding a deeper, faster understanding of your users. And that information is where you win the growth game.