The Three Most Common Causes of Marketing Failure
Every marketing team starts with growth tactics—they throw a bunch of stuff against the wall to try and find something that works—and once they find it they just keep doing more of that. Until they need to throw some other stuff on the wall.
For a lot of marketing teams this is their entire growth process. They keep layering on new playbooks, tactics, and new ideas, hoping something sticks.
But in the end they’re simply testing and learning about tactics that continually drive linear growth… This ad outperformed this ad so let’s do more of it.
When they should ask questions like this:
“Does ad performance even matter?” Is it aligned to the growth hypothesis our marketing team is focusing on?
The ad performance is a marketing issue, when the only issues that can grow the business are customers problems. “How does our ad performance align to customer issues?”
“Is there any outcome from one ad outperforming another that will fundamentally change our growth trajectory?”
Most marketing teams are not learning in the areas that are most impactful to growth and the buyer.
Learnings are the foundation for your marketing. In fact it’s the biggest competitive advantage in growth.
Over time everything stops working. The things that drive sustainable growth change constantly. The channels, your buyers, your product.
The more you know about your channels, buyers, and product, and apply those learnings you’ll improve your growth.
So the real question is:
Can you learn faster, and apply those learnings quicker than the competition to outgrow them? Do you have a systematic process to capture these learnings? Do you have a way to prioritize experiments based on their impact on the actual business?
Growth tactics and random acts of marketing do not lead to lasting, sustainable growth. Only a framework that focuses on impact and learnings.
The Four-Step Sustainable Growth Framework
Take a moment to think about the type of growth you want.
You can keep trying to scale mediocre marketing tactics, shortcuts, and hacks—for some B2B SaaS companies this might work, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.
If you’re looking for sustainable growth, you need to change your entire approach.
For a marketing team to work on the highest impact / value areas around growth, they first need a hypothesis on how they will achieve growth in a compounding and sustainable way.
A growth hypothesis is the primary way your marketing team will drive growth over the next 12-24 months.It includes your growth model (performance-led, content-led, word-of-mouth, etc.), how buyers will experience your core value pre purchase, what channels they prefer and what metrics map to this growth scenario.
Aligning and answering this question will enable everyone across marketing to pull in the same direction while ensuring they work on the most impactful growth areas.
Your marketing team needs a place to come up with a list of ideas against your core growth hypothesis, prioritize them based on impact, capture learnings from those experiments, and to generate more ideas.
The process is your actual growth engine. Without it, you have no way to know if you’re making real progress against your growth hypothesis on your journey towards sustainable marketing programs. Working with Elevate you’ll get an entire process you can steal and take in-house over time.
Your marketing is an amplifier of your message and is more important than even product/market fit.
If you don’t have the right message, you will always be attempting to scale failure.
Assuming you have product market fit—you’ll need to find message market fit around two key messaging components:
Product positioning: This is how you capture demand by ensuring you have the right value proposition, benefit statements, and pain agitation.
Brand Narrative: This is how you attract growth by ensuring you have the right story wrapped around a compelling brand narrative that makes buyers aware of pain they don’t fully understand.
The marketing execution i.e. tactics, fuel your experiments and get fed into your process. All of your experiments will focus on learning either about buyers, channels, or your product to learn how to attract sustainable growth.
Every experiment is launched with a hypothesis, buyer pain we’re seeking to solve, and the impact it will have against your growth hypothesis. As we learn we share these learnings with your team.
Each experiment is one of many that we learn from to understand how to drive sustainable growth for your business.