Growth 101: Part 3 – Brand and marketing
You brand is your calling card. It captures the essence of your mission and is the rallying point for your team. In part three of our Growth 101 series, we look at brand identity and how to drive revenue growth with marketing.
Investors appreciate a solid brand, one that conveys a distinct identity with clear elements that communicate your vision and core values. Strong brand identity tells investors you have done your homework and you are confident in your mission.
It’s easy to get carried away with product development and forget about marketing. Even if you have confirmed your product-market-fit, reverse-engineering your value proposition can be remarkably difficulty.
Get going building your messaging early. The communications around your product should follow a similar development path – as your product matures, core messages can be refined and solidified. This work is also valuable for your brand and can help you identify high-impact messaging that should be part of your brand DNA.
Build the brand
Your brand is your identity. That rings true regardless of point of view. For outsides, your brand is the gateway to understanding what you offer and why you are doing it. For your team, your brand helps bring focus to your mission and can boost motivation.
The main elements of your brand, your so-called “brand DNA,” include who you are (vision, values), where you play (target customers, propositions), and how you communicate both in text and imagery (tone of voice, graphic elements, colors, etc.).
Take an iterative approach to your brand development, just like you would with product development. Bring in a professional agency if needed, but don’t assume you must put loads of money on the table to build a success brand image. Get as far as you can with your own team and advice from trusted contacts.
Complete your messaging
There are plenty of good tools and methods for building strong messages: identifying audiences, creating target persona descriptions, structuring, visualizations, and so forth. What is important to remember is that you need content that clearly expresses value propositions as well as product features. Value propositions or feature description on their own won’t cut it.
Great value propositions are intriguing and capture the interest of customers (and investors). They also force you to think about the value of your product from the outside-in – what’s in it for those who don’t understand (or necessarily care) about the technical prowess of your offering?
That’s just the first step – gaining attention. Once you have their attention, you need to clearly and convincingly explain the what and wherefore of your product. Feature names, descriptions and presentations should be transparent and concise. Don’t drown your audience in complexities or fancy, technical lingo.
Choose the right tactics
In the early stages of growth, focus on the easy wins. You don’t have to start generating demand from scratch. Leverage your investors and their networks to find potential customers.
There will come a time when you need to focus on growth marketing, or growth hacking, as it is sometimes called. Basically, this is any non-traditional marketing that focuses on getting your message to a huge audience with relatively little investment.
The hack may have nothing to do with marketing per se. Indeed, the key difference with growth hacking is that the aim is to get new customers all the way through the Pirate Funnel. There are six stages of the funnel that spell out the classic pirate “AARRR” : Awareness – Acquisition – Activation – Retention – Revenue – Referral. Marketing typically focuses on the three AAA’s, whereas sales addresses the three RRR’s.
A successful growth hack tackles all stages, including the very important last step, referral. The more customers you have who promote your product, the higher growth velocity you are likely to achieve.
Measure what matters
If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. Should you control your marketing? Absolutely – if you want to get any value out of the investments you make. Marketing shouldn’t be a black hole that you toss money into without any idea what may come out the other side.
Revenue-driven marketing is all about ensuring your marketing make sense for your bottom line. Your marketing KPIs should provide meaningful feedback that helps guide you towards your growth goals. Don’t fall for the vanity numbers. Page visits or social media impressions don’t mean much on their own if they don’t translate into actual sales.
Fortunately, today there are lots of great marketing tools available that have metrics baked into the solution. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or spend lots of money to build a marketing machine with measurable performance.
Getting the attention of potential customers and converting leads into purchases is all well and good. Following up with a product that actually delivers the promised value – that’s the ticket to success. A great offering coupled with excellent after sales and customer care builds loyalty and ensures customers associate your brand with greatness.
Growth 101: Part 1 - Product Development
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