The Ecommerce Executive’s Guide to Growth Marketing: Part 1
In the last few years, the term “growth marketing” has become one of those buzzwords that sounds really inspiring, but very few people actually understand what it means. So what exactly is growth marketing?
In this article we’re going to define what real growth marketing is and help you understand the key areas needed for building or hiring a successful growth marketing team.
What is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is a strategy that aligns all marketing activities and tactics around one clear goal: business growth. These tactics could be paid advertising, non-paid marketing such as SEO, content generation, site work such as conversion rate optimization, and more. They all work together for the same growth goal. Growth marketing is a holistic, coordinated effort, meaning you are aware of the effect one channel has on the others.
Growth marketing is not just running paid ads. Lots of agencies and marketers advertise growth marketing and simply run Facebook and Google ads. This is not growth marketing. True growth marketing takes multiple factors into account: running paid traffic, achieving the sale, and growing the lifetime value of the customer base.
Why Should You Care?
In the past, tacticians have managed different marketing channels and not truly cared about the results. Success was typically measured based on vanity metrics, such as impressions or views. However, in ecommerce, this doesn’t mean much. Sales are always the end goal. One million impressions with no sales is a waste of money.
No more vanity metrics
Fortunately, the introduction of “growth marketing” has shifted us away from vanity metrics and toward results that actually matter. Now, the success of a marketing program is based on increased revenue and sales. These results are actually tangible and meaningful (for example, 30% revenue growth YOY).
Therefore, the push for growth marketing is a positive trend. If you’re an executive or a stakeholder in a company, a growth marketing team is exactly what you need— a team of experts who understand how one channel affects the other and stop at nothing to achieve real results.
Growth Marketing Strategy Checklist
To lead a successful growth marketing effort that hits your business goals in a healthy way, there are a few foundational elements that are critical for your brand’s success. These are basic but fundamental and therefore worth reviewing. Follow this checklist to be sure you’re ready.
- Great Product: An interesting product isn’t quite enough. To be truly compelling, you need a great price, risk reversal (trust-building elements such as product reviews and/or a guarantee), and urgency. For more on this read our 3 Keys to an Irresistible Ecommerce Offer.
- Compelling Message: The way you message your products and offers needs to be compelling as well. Remember that people are much more likely to buy into emotion than facts. Weave your “why” into your message everywhere you can. Also, make sure every team is unified and pushing a consistent message.
- High-converting Website: Your website must live on a high-quality, stable ecommerce platform (such as Shopify Plus). From the customer’s perspective, your site needs to be easy to use. It should also deliver key trust elements in the form of social proof.
- Unified Marketing Calendar: Your marketing team must have a marketing calendar that covers all channels in one place for at least 6 months in advance. If they do not operate off of a unified marketing calendar, they needed this yesterday. This is what keeps all teams in sync and actually ensures you reach your yearly (or even monthly) goals.
- Excellent Photography: The online nature of ecommerce businesses means images are the only way for customers to connect with your product. That means photography must be of high quality. Include product shots and lifestyle images that are professional and original (not stolen from Google or given to you by your manufacturer).
- Accurate Data: Make sure all tracking is set up correctly on your site and marketing channels. This ensures that data is recorded accurately on your website and in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, etc. It’s also helpful to have a simple view of this data at a glance. We recommend building a single, unified dashboard representing only the data that’s most important to you.
- Experienced Team: As we’ve mentioned, you need specialists with experience to run successful growth marketing. This could mean hiring experts for your internal team or finding a reputable external team.
Why You Must Take Caution
As we said earlier: Many people advertise growth marketing, but very few are actually doing it right.
It’s all about customer lifetime value.
In order to do growth marketing well, marketers need to have deep ecommerce business expertise. They need to be able to achieve the sale AND increase long term lifetime value (sometimes known as retention marketing). This only comes from experience working with other owners or stakeholders of highly successful brands or from owning their own successful brand. This kind of resume allows a person to understand how business goals work and to plan activities that will achieve those goals. They will be able to monitor performance and adjust as necessary.
What does all of this mean for you, an ecommerce executive? You SHOULD scrutinize “growth marketers”. There are marketers who are good at running paid ads. And then there are true growth marketers who have enough experience to conduct an entire symphony of marketing activities, listening and adjusting as necessary for success. At the end of the day, specialization and experience are key.
Why Metacake Exists
Shameless plug: This is exactly why our team at Metacake exists. We have over ten years of experience helping grow some of the most influential brands in the world— from young companies growing virally to established, global brands. Our purpose is to bring real experience in ecommerce business success to tactical execution in key growth areas, including paid ads, site design, and email marketing.
What to Remember When Hiring a Growth Team
If you’re an executive looking to hire a growth marketing team, the first thing you need to look for is mastery of the platform they’re hired to operate. This could be Facebook ads, Google ads, website development, email marketing, or anything else inside of your strategy. If they’re running it, they need to be an expert. That’s harder to find than you would think.
Don’t view channels in isolation
As an executive, you also need to understand that each marketing channel affects others. Leaders often think that increasing Facebook ad spend by $X will automatically increase revenue by X%. It’s not that simple. You may think that cutting Google ad spend will not have a significant impact on other marketing activities simply because the attribution is showing that your Google ads aren’t “performing well”.
Again, it’s not that simple. All channels are connected. Just because it looks like Google isn’t performing well for you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not contributing in some way.
All channels work together
Imagine a car engine – it’s complex and all systems are connected. When one thing is adjusted, several other things are also affected because everything is working together. That’s how growth marketing works. You can’t look at areas and channels in sheer isolation.
Ad spend percentage trumps all
And for that reason, you should also keep in mind that there is no exact attribution method for every channel. Whether you’re advertising on Facebook or Google or running email marketing, the customer journey is a complicated path. A purchase could occur from a single Facebook ad. Or, it might come from awareness brought by multiple channels. At a high level, we recommend keeping ad spend at 35-45% of total revenue.
Ready to get started?
This checklist is critical for a solid foundation that sets your marketing efforts up for success. Once your business has these items dialed in, you are ready to get started on your growth marketing strategy.
In Part 2 of this guide, we’ll break down each of the major channels we recommend for a successful growth marketing initiative. Check out the Ecommerce Executive’s Guide to Growth Marketing: Part 2 to get started now!
If you need help
If you’re in need of a true growth marketing team and think we may be a good fit, get in touch with us! We grow some of the most influential brands in the world, including Tony Robbins, Walmart, Old Spice, and more. No matter who you hire, remember the key is running more than just paid ads. You need true holistic experience in all areas.