It’s never been easier to acquire new customers, but it’s also never been easier for your competition to take them away, either. That means that as a growth marketer, you have to stay consistently on top of your game, despite the many challenges you face day to day. When it comes to growth marketing, the pressure never lets up, so it’s up to you to figure out how to turn your obstacles into opportunities.
Most marketers face many of the same challenges. By learning to identify and overcome them, you can avoid the pitfalls and keep on doing what you do best: finding and keeping customers.
Here are the 5 most common growth marketing challenges marketers encounter – and how to solve them.
Challenge #1: Discovering and Acquiring Top Talent
When it comes to recruitment in the marketing sector, the competition can be cutthroat – especially when the challenge of acquiring top talent is so widespread. In a study conducted by Bullhorn, 64% of recruiters reported a shortage of skilled candidates for available marketing roles. Good help is hard to find, and good marketers are in high demand.
Sourcing the right people for your team is crucial. But before you start, you first must assess your needs, analyze your current talent, and find bottlenecks. Once you have a firm grasp on what your company is lacking and where your choke points are, you’ll have a much better understanding of what it will take to fix it, and what sort of talent you’ll need to achieve your goals.
Here are a few tips for finding and acquiring top talent:
Tap into your existing network
Be upfront about all the aspects of the role, good or bad
Downplaying or withholding information can make employees feel misled, and they’ll either underperform or quit as a result. Being upfront from the start will help you weed out those who wouldn’t be a good fit, and attract those who would.
Focus on the perks of the role
Offering good opportunities for internal advancement, flexible hours, on-site snacks, and a solid company culture are all things top talent considers in addition to compensation and benefits. Find ways to stand apart from your competitors in those areas, and you’ll have no shortage of qualified candidates knocking at your door.
Utilize online hiring platforms
Platforms such as TopCoder and Upwork give you a unique opportunity to work with contractors before committing to a lengthy and costly hiring process, and working with several contractors allows you to acquire more specialized skill sets.
Challenge #2: Not Adhering to the Full Funnel
Every company should be looking at their funnel in its entirety instead of cherry-picking certain sections of it. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Marketers have a laser-like focus in one or two key areas instead of focusing on the full funnel. As a result, they can leave conversions on the table.
Go through each phase of the full funnel and make sure you’ve implemented growth strategies to capitalize on them accordingly:
The chief goal here is getting your brand in front of potential customers, since brand recognition is crucial to providing potential leads with a direct path into the funnel. One way to do this is through guest blogging. Leo Widrich wrote over 150 guest posts in nine months, which resulted in BufferApp acquiring around 100,000 users in that same time frame.
This stage of the funnel is all about guiding interested prospects to your website so they can begin to engage with your product or content (consumers aren’t ready to buy yet in this phase). Writing regularly scheduled blog posts that are 10x better than anything else out there on a given topic or keyword is a fast way to drive more traffic to your website.
Trust / Credibility
If you aren’t continually collecting customer feedback and reviews to share with leads, then you’re missing out on critical information and a potentially sizeable percentage of conversions. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Leverage customer testimonials to earn your prospective clients’ trust.
You have their trust – now what? Some of the best consideration techniques are free trials so they can test the product before committing, retargeting ads to keep your product top-of-mind, and detailed webinars that explain the product’s benefits.
Now that you have customers, you want them to refer their friends, family, and colleagues to you as well. Growth marketers should create a “WOW” experience for potential customers, which can generate lots of word of mouth and growth.
Last but not least, you should be vigilant about forging and maintaining genuine relationships with your best customers. Think personal visits throughout the year or offering personal account management.
Challenge #3: Automating Growth
It’s easy for growth marketers to get caught up in the day-to-day grind. From the outside, it might look like hustling; but in reality, if you aren’t utilizing a tried-and-true system for automating growth, you’re likely leaving conversions on the table and not using your time wisely enough.
Instead of focusing on a specific channel, stage, or tactic, marketers should be more concerned with building a system that produces growth – a system where they learn as much as they can, as quickly as possible, about who exactly wants their product and where that audience can be found.
Automation begins with measuring as much as you can and focusing on the metrics that truly matter. Standard metrics to pay attention to are those that are actionable or show engagement, such as leads generated, unique site traffic, social shares, converts to trial, and email or newsletter opt-ins.
Once you have a baseline of data to compare to, you can begin utilizing AB testing and experiment-driven marketing. Netflix does this by creating wacky and outlandish shows and seeing how their subscriber base reacts to them. Your company can learn a lot by following a similar model.
Add new products on landing pages, then drive traffic there to gauge customer interest. AB test existing product pages or variations of your company’s homepage or checkout page to see which one converts better. The secret to automating your growth is to find patterns in the data you collect from your experiments that can easily be replicated, scaled, and even outsourced to generate automated growth and free up your time.
Challenge #4: Having A Clear Go-To-Market Strategy
Prior to launch, you have to define a go-to-market strategy that is sustainable and best suited to your specific product and available resources. Ultimately, that will determine how you’ll sell your product, how you’ll onboard customers, and how fast you’ll grow. A lot of companies don’t have a clear go-to-market strategy, and if they do, it’s at the bottom of a drawer that nobody looks in.
For SaaS companies, a great place to start is finding your space on the complexity and price spectrum. The spectrum is a visual tool used to determine where your software company fits into the market concerning how you onboard clients and your product’s price.
GTM by Avoiding the SaaS Graveyard – Growth Marketing Conference
Nearly all SaaS companies fit into one of the four price/complexity quadrants:
- Self-Service – With low complexity and a low price point, the self-service option is sustainable because the product is simple enough for users to figure out themselves.
- Hybrid – Low complexity but with a higher price point, these companies thrive because their profit margins are larger, without the need for large service and training teams.
- Enterprise – High price and high complexity. These products typically require complex solutions, long-term contracts, and multi-month implementation cycles to become profitable.
- SaaS Graveyard – This is where products with high complexity and low price points go to die. The product is hard to use but doesn’t allow for a decent budget to implement the necessary support teams and systems.
The story of Autopilot is an excellent example of a company crushing it with a clear go-to-market strategy. They went from 0 to 2,000 customers in just 18 months by putting all of their efforts into creating an intuitive product that was easy to use, try, and buy without ever having to speak with a salesperson. They proved that having a clear product vision and marketing direction from the beginning is a rock solid go-to-market strategy.
Challenge #5: Keeping Up with Marketing and Industry Trends
The marketing game has changed, and with it has arisen the need for agile teams. That’s because the digital transformation is in full effect and affects all industries. Take Amazon, for example; they’re the largest retailer in the world, but they don’t own any stores. Uber, the transportation network company, doesn’t own any cars. What new trend or disruptive tool will shake up your industry next?
Refine your strategies on a monthly basis vs annually
It’s immensely difficult to keep up with marketing and industry trends. Things change so rapidly that you must refine and reshape your strategy constantly if you want to keep ahead of the game.
Start prioritizing relationships
This will help you discover more sales opportunities, establish partnerships you can lean on, and have go-to people for different needs and channel expertise. Having a trusted network of specialists, freelancers, and advisors in key areas is invaluable when you need additional support.
Identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses
Conduct a skills gap analysis. An analysis helps identify skills each job requires, compared to an employee’s actual skill level. Then, determine if an employee has the expertise they need to do the job, or if you’ll need to provide more training or hire externally.
Cultivate a constant state of learning
The skills gap analysis will help you identify areas where your company needs to improve. Once you have a baseline for your team’s knowledge and skill level, then you can start implementing employee training programs aimed at developing the skills you need.
Growth marketing is ever-evolving, and new challenges are always emerging that must be overcome. Now more than ever, it’s critical for you to stay on top of industry trends, maintain your reputation as an expert, and attract and retain top talent – not only to survive in the market, but to thrive.
What other challenges are you experiencing as a growth marketer? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below: