What is “Growth Marketing” and why should CMOs be gunning for a job title change in 2018? It’s not just a shift in nomenclature, it’s filling an important success gap for both companies and consumers. In short – growth marketing is the future. Those who adapt fastest will be poised to succeed, while those who don’t may find their jobs on the line. The stakes are high.
Why the shift? It all hinges upon Customer Experience (CX).
According to a recent report, Forrester predicts: “30% of companies will see further declines in CX quality and lose a point of growth” in 2018. Do you smell blood in the water? Because we do. When growth slows, CEOs look to CMOs to fix it – and if they can’t, they’ll find someone who can: A Growth Marketer.
What is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is a modern marketing role that focuses on attracting and – most importantly, engaging – customers. Traditional marketing tends to focus on the top of the sales funnel, but growth marketing follows the consumer through the sales process, and out the other side, to when they become existing customers.
This approach makes a lot of sense – after all, existing customers are not only easier to sell to, happy and successful customers become brand advocates, essentially doing your marketing for you. If you can engage and delight your existing customers, your acquisition costs go down, retention rates go up, and profit rises.
This is why customer experience is set to become the centerpiece of business strategy as we enter into what experts call “the experience economy.” Harvard Business Review describes the experience economy this way: “a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.” But I like the way Forbes contributor and author of Futureproof Daniel Newman puts it better:
“If you want to build brand affinity, give the people what they want. What they want, it turns out, is an experience – something memorable, something they can connect with, something that makes them feel like less of a check book and more of a participant… Accomplish this, and you’ll have the loyalty of a mobile, social generation of consumers who can’t wait to share their experience.”
A Growth Marketer’s job is precisely that, but also more. Growth Marketing encompasses taking charge of CX transformation and driving the kind of meaningful operational changes that make CX programs actually work. It’s data-centric and performance-oriented, but entirely devoted to making customers feel like valued human beings. It means going far beyond determining which customer support agents are helpful, or not.
The Growth Marketer’s Trinity: Data, Optimization & Transformation
“Data-driven” is the buzzword we’ve all come to know and love or loathe, and it’s not going anywhere. That said, what “data-driven” means is evolving as we gain the ability to track more types of interactions and analyze them in more depth for more actionable insights.
The game-changer in CX data-tracking, specifically, is artificial intelligence (AI). The challenge with CX metrics is that the best ones are a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data is easy to analyze – it’s just numbers. But qualitative data is the voice-of-customer data that can really drive change and direct messaging – but it’s very difficult to analyze at scale. Until AI.
Growth Marketers are embracing AI-enabled platforms like Wootric’s CXInsight™ for text and sentiment analysis. Tools like this are capable of transforming open-ended responses into quantifiable insights that marketers can use to improve CX in ways that drive loyalty and growth.
Of course, you have to get the qualitative data first, which means that part of a Growth Marketer’s job description is to track CX metrics like:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Measures how likely customers are to recommend your business
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – Measures customer satisfaction (and the open-ended responses can be used to home in on your value proposition)
- Customer Effort Score (CES) – Measures your customers’ perceptions of how easy or difficult it is to perform tasks with your product or on your website (UX)
And, it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t take away from the customer experience by making these surveys short, targeted, and timed to be as unobtrusive as possible. A modern CX insights tool can coordinate these surveys to avoid survey fatigue and prompt the most thoughtful responses, while automating appropriate responses for positive and negative feedback.
Armed with customer data, Growth Marketers are expected to be able to optimize CX in a holistic way, not just A/B testing web pages (though that’s part of it), but searching for success gaps that stand between customers and achieving their ideal outcomes with the product. As a CMO, you’re familiar with A/B testing and optimization, but Growth Marketing – once again – takes this all the way through the sales funnel and into Customer Success territory. It’s testing and optimizing for acquisition and retention and customer advocacy.
If it seems like companies are asking more and more of marketers, you’re right.
Last, but not least, is transformation.
Because of the data Growth Marketers gather, analyze and use, they have the ability to tailor products – and entire businesses – around their customers’ needs. And that is when the fast, record-breaking growth can happen (sound too good to be true? Read Slack’s story).
Butterfield and his cofounders are voracious readers of user feedback, and they attribute much of the company’s rapid traction to this skill. From the get-go, Slack made sure that users could respond to every email they received, and approached every help ticket as an opportunity to solidify loyalty and improve the service. As they listened to their ever-growing flock of users, the Slack team iterated accordingly.
CMOs, as a rule, are in charge of the Marketing Department. And only the Marketing Department. But Growth Marketers require a much longer reach – their insights should inform every customer-facing decision, from product development to UX and customer success strategy.
Get Ahead of the Curve
Forrester predicts “More companies will replace CMOs with Chief Growth Officers in 2018” – and if you don’t want to be among the replaced, it’s time to branch out from marketing and look at the buyer’s journey in a more holistic way.
Think this is just sensationalized doom and gloom? Coca-Cola dissolved its CMO role in March of 2017, combining brand marketing, customer experience and strategy into a Chief Growth Officer position. The future is here.
Today’s consumers crave meaningful connection with brands. They want success, sure, but they also want to feel like individuals whose thoughts, ideas and experiences are important enough to impact the brands they love.
Supplying this more personal experience at scale is the only way to retain customers who have an entire internet of options. It’s really all about CX.
Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with Wootric.