The key to growth marketing during uncertain times - ClickZ

30-second summary: 

  • Lead generation is a tactic, not a long-term strategy. When the business landscape is unpredictable, the worst move a marketer can make is focusing on shoving leads through the funnel.
  • Funnel marketing is limited by nature. Growth marketing challenges marketers to understand what drives and influences their customers and prospects — in good times and bad. 
  • During troubling times, the last thing a consumer wants to feel like is a tiny fish in a large pond. Moving past customer grouping and executing on dynamic behavioral segmentation refines messaging and makes every individual feel seen and valued.  
  • From economic turmoil to pandemics, crises can make consumers feel confused and out of control. The most successful brands nurture great experiences so customers know they are always in the driver’s seat. 

We’ve seen it all this year. Plunging stocks, supply chain disruptions, record unemployment and the shuttering of once successful enterprises. As marketers grapple with this new world, they are tasked with lofty goals.

But fostering brand devotion and growing a business can feel daunting during uncertain times. The fear of coming off tone-deaf or opportunistic is understandable, relatable and justified. 

In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Oracle, 77% of consumers say inefficient customer experiences detract from their quality of life.

This means the simple batch-and-blast, promotional marketing approach is not only obnoxious, it does little to move the needle. This rings (Read more...) true during times when quality of life is compromised by external factors like pandemic and recession.

So, what’s the secret to driving growth in a seemingly tough landscape? A successful marketing strategy is now contingent on a marketer’s ability to see beyond the lead.

To inspire buyer behavior in this climate, brands must sow the seeds for retention and foster a great experience at every touch point. Enter: growth marketing. 

By taking core marketing automation principles and extending them well beyond the “attract and capture” mode, growth marketing creates immersive buyer journeys by focusing on the lifelong needs of the consumer to foster a lifelong relationship.

From the funnel to the lifecycle

Optimizing your marketing funnel is crucial to protecting your bottom line — especially when times are tough. But taking a funnel-only approach is inherently flawed because it often assumes your brand is in control of the customer journey.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Remember, the customer is driving and you’re just along for the ride. 

And, although tempting, obsessing over lead volume during a crisis will do little to boost long-term growth. Instead, marketers need to balance this focus with peeling back the layers of customer interest.

This means digging deep enough to see what inspires, engages and motivates your customers and prospects. It also means paying attention to what they love (or don’t love) about your offering. What may have made them tick before might be irrelevant in this new, confusing climate. 

How can you help your customers and prospects get to where they need to go? First off, pay attention to their buyer behavior and the vast library of data you have that points to what they are looking for.

Then, offer resources, training and tips that empower them and highlight your desire to foster literacy in your offering. 

While funnel marketers assume their job is done at conversion, growth-minded marketers see a new opportunity for relationship-building at every touch point.  Why? Because they are there to support and engage customers, rain or shine. 

Taking this a step further, growth marketers invest as much attention on repeat customers as they do new prospects.

By celebrating important customer milestones and offering free or promotional trials to your most loyal partners, you will continue to show your unwavering appreciation for their business.

This will go an especially long way if these customers decided to stick with your brand despite economic constraints. 

Behavioral segmentation shows you’re listening

Customer grouping into basic categories — such as age, gender, income, etc. — changed the way marketers did their jobs. It was a huge stride towards more targeted messaging, but fell short in cultivating a clear understanding of how to market to prospects and customers based on their actual behaviors. 

To refine and target messaging even more, growth marketers execute dynamic behavioral segmentation. This practice takes customer grouping much deeper by allowing marketers to consistently automate their marketing based on real-time buyer behaviors.

During the pandemic, this proved extremely valuable as customer behaviors became erratic and changed overnight. 

Marketers can move beyond standard customer grouping to dynamic behavioral segmentation by using different data strategies, such as progressive profiling. This tactic allows you to gather bits of actionable information at a time versus overwhelming amounts of data all at once.

For example, placing dynamic and intuitive forms at key touchpoints helps build on your previous data collection by enabling you to ask new questions and receive new insights. You can then use this information to further segment your audiences and deliver uniquely tailored campaigns. 

Another behavioral segmentation best practice growth marketers live by is seamlessly integrating their automation software across all channels. Why? Consider the various ways consumers interact with businesses.

Some begin to learn about brands on social media and others visit websites or webinars. Today, it’s critical you begin to understand the full spectrum of buyer behavior, not just your corporate website traffic, and take advantage of all the digital properties at your fingertips.

Seamless data monitoring across all channels allows you to track and analyze complex online behavior, conversion points and purchase history in real-time. 

Move beyond leads and nurture experiences 

As you look to adopt a growth marketing model, understand your new job is to nurture customer experiences, not just leads. During troubled times, this means figuring out how you can take a holistic approach towards making your prospects and customers feel supported. 

Since customers value the experience you provide just as much if not more than your actual offering, you must go further than mere lead generation.

Pairing proven growth marketing approaches with emerging growth marketing automation solutions is a sustainable two-pronged approach that enables you to  understand your customers inside and out.

Once you start to demonstrate that you empathize with your base, you can start nurturing customers’ entire experiences rather than their lead status.

More so, by tracking behaviors and preferences you can treat each customer like a unique individual and learn more about what motivates him or her to take action.

By arming yourself with this knowledge, you can anticipate needs and meet customers head-on at every stage of their journey with you. Only then can you turn customers into brand evangelists who can’t wait to brag about you to their networks. 

Growth marketing year-round

Growth marketing isn’t just an emergency measure to take when times are tough. It’s a smart strategy to employ all year long. As you look to implement a new marketing strategy for 2021, consider how you can serve your customers beyond getting them to conversion.

By expressing your desire to help your prospects and long-term customers truly succeed, you invite them on a lifelong journey with your brand. And, it goes without saying, there will be good times and bad times throughout their lifecycle.

But, by constantly tending to customer experience, you will win over the hearts and minds of your audiences and grow your business no matter what state the world may be in.

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