The three shifts to consider right now

It’s rarely a game of maintaining the status quo. 

In marketing, it’s almost always about making adjustments. And often bigger shifts. 

But the job of this newsletter is not necessarily to tell you exactly how to go about these shifts. That’s what virtually everybody else is trying to do. 

Our job with Growth Lessons is to (1) help you see the real issues around growth and (2) inspire your thinking about how to address them. 

That’s it. 

So if you remember our recent spiel about low friction acquisition – and assuming customer acquisition is truly a priority for you – we believe there are some shifts you should consider making in order to actually reduce friction for your buyers. 

And that’s the key. We certainly won’t acquire more customers by adding more friction. 

Take a look and see where you stand on these: 

1. The shift to buyer-related problems

If we can be real for just a minute here, let’s all admit we’re not nearly as customer-centric as we’d like to claim. And before the minute is up, how about this little tidbit: 

We tend to prioritize business-related problems over buyer-related problems. 

“We need more demo requests”

“Our ads don’t seem to be working”

“We need content that drives revenue”

Timely business outcomes is what every company prioritizes. 

But what would happen if we looked at it from the buyer’s side? It might sound like this: 

“Do buyers find our story credible and relatable?”

“Is our marketing in line with how they want to buy?

“Wait, is our value prop even clear enough to buyers?”

The idea is to run objective-driven growth experiments through the lens of buyer-related problems. 

Meaning, develop hypotheses based on what you’re seeing from buyers. 

“Yeah, yeah – we’ll get to that. But we need leads right now!” 

Short-term thinking gets in the way. But breaking that cycle is one of the key ways to lower friction for buyers. And one of the shifts we believe winners will embrace. 

2. The shift away from funnel thinking

Did you see that “It’s a formula – not a funnel” piece?

It suggests most ideas in B2B marketing are still either based on or leading to “funnel thinking.”

We still can’t seem to shake this false idea that people just move through some kind of path to become buyers. And that we just have to fill it up and stimulate conversions add friction as we go in order to get the results we need. 

It just doesn’t work that way. Sadly.

It appears to work when times are good. But when times get tough, the truth is revealed. A funnel orientation is inefficient at best – and detrimental at worst. 

So what’s a better way? 

We believe it all comes down to distribution. Do whatever it takes to establish a reliable way of getting in front of your buyers. One that can sustain and compound. 

Like a podcast buyers actually listen to regularly. Or an event strategy that builds on itself. Or a newsletter people actually read.

Distribution is the most defensible part of any customer acquisition strategy and a requirement for low friction acquisition. 

Which is why we believe in a conscious shift from funnel thinking to distribution building. 

3. The shift to “messaging over product”

Oh, what kind of can are we opening here?! 

It’s not that product doesn’t matter. Obviously. Product being at a certain level is assumed. 

But as marketers, we need to own customer acquisition through an obsession with telling the right story. Not an obsession with what the product does or doesn’t do. 

It’s on us to develop a brand narrative that puts the product in the right context for buyers. 

And it’s on us to hone in on messaging to get it so crips and strong that it’s magnetic to buyers. 

We can all have our opinions about whether or not the product we’re marketing is quite where it should be, but the winning mindset is believing that what we do on the story side is even more important. 

That sets the tone for the right level of effort and accountability for us.

So yeah, messaging. As always.

Admittedly, these shifts are a lot easier to write about than to actually make.

To some degree, they go beyond what marketers can do without getting the rest of the company onboard. 

And that’s actually the real work. 

We talked about that extensively last year in “The Most Important Thing:” 

“The most important thing you can do to drive meaningful growth at your company is invite your CEO and the rest of the leadership team to a conversation about how the company will drive growth so that the group can prioritize, align and ultimately focus enough to get on a path to sustainable growth.”

That goes hand in hand with these three shifts – for anyone bold enough to make them. 

Forever rooting for you!

- Your partners in growth at Elevate Demand