Marketing Led Growth: What is it and how it differs from other growth motions

Marketing Led Growth

Understanding the Concept of Marketing Led Growth

New trends create new strategies (and also new buzzwords). In this context, Marketing Led Growth has recently emerged as a key strategy for scaling up enterprises. Unlike other, let’s call them, more traditional growth models, which are often driven by product development or sales initiatives, this strategy positions marketing as the principal driver of business expansion. It places a significant emphasis on consumer understanding and value delivery, which in turn brings about profitable business growth.

In this article, we will explore:

  • What is Marketing Led Growth
  • The Role of Innovation in Marketing Led Growth
  • Key strategies for effective Marketing Led Growth
  • Success stories of brands that adopted Marketing Led Growth strategies
  • Future trends of Marketing Led Growth
  • What’s the right approach for YOUR business?

What is Marketing Led Growth?

Marketing-led growth is a business strategy where marketing efforts are the primary drivers of a company’s growth and development. In this approach, marketing isn’t just a supporting function or a means to communicate value to customers, or neither, as in growth motions, serves the AARRR funnel –  rather, it plays a central role in shaping product development and customer experience. Think: Marketing-first. That’s MLG.

The essence of Marketing Led Growth lies in deciphering customer behavior, preferences, and demands and starting with integrated marketing efforts. Through the systematic gathering, interpretation, and application of these insights, businesses can tailor their offerings to meet the specific needs of the market. It also focuses on using data analytics to enhance customer experience and build stronger, more meaningful relationships with customers. This, of course, needs to be directly related to the revenue.

The Role of Innovation in Marketing Led Growth

Another crucial aspect of Marketing Led Growth is innovation. It demands constant innovation not just in products and services, but also in marketing techniques and strategies. In order to keep up with evolving customer expectations, enterprises must constantly revolutionize their marketing approaches. This includes everything from digital marketing efforts and personalized messaging to devising new customer engagement strategies, like omnichannel strategies that continuously surprise and WOW customers.

Furthermore, Marketing Led Growth requires a relentless focus on performance metrics and outcomes. That’s right, vanity metrics have (thankfully!) no place in here. This goes beyond just tracking sales and revenue figures; it includes measuring the impact of marketing activities on overall business performance with tangible sales metrics.

Marketing Led Growth Description

Key Strategies for Effective Marketing Led Growth

We know already that Marketing led growth is an approach that drives business success through strategic focus on your marketing initiatives. Let’s now go deeper into some of the essential strategies that can put in practice from this powerful framework.

Understanding the Target Market

One of the most pivotal strategies for effective marketing-led growth is a deep understanding of your ‹b›target market‹/b›. By developing comprehensive customer personas, it is possible to cater to individual needs more effectively, resulting in improved satisfaction and increased retention rates.

Robust Digital Presence

Maintaining a robust digital presence is nowadays non-negotiable. This may comprise of a user-friendly website, engaging social media accounts, and of course a powerful SEO strategy. When potential customers look up your product or service online, you want to be on their radar, engaging them with informative and appealing content. Remember what I always say: marketing is about massive impact, but if you treat each and every customer like a gem (ekhem, account based marketing), you will win your clients hearts.

Investment in Data Analysis

The final crucial element of marketing led growth is a significant investment in data analysis. Collecting and interpreting data correctly allows businesses to anticipate customer needs, predict future trends, and make informed marketing decisions. By understanding the true value of data, and I mean, data that is, above all, consistent across sources, businesses can leverage its power to drive impressive growth.

If you have your data set right, you can:

  • Understand your target market to offer personalized, effective marketing strategies (that is only possible if your database is updated)
  • Maintain a robust digital presence to stay relevant and competitive (with personalization to make sure you target people with the best possible message every time!)
  • Invest in data analysis to predict trends and anticipate customer needs (WOW factor!)

Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Marketing Led Growth

As with everything else in the world of marketing, implementing a marketing-led growth strategy may come with its own set of unique challenges. In my view, the key challenge is always the data consistency. However, from prioritizing the right metrics to understanding customer needs and adjusting to changes in the market environment, the path to marketing-led growth is complex.

Understanding the Barriers to Marketing Led Growth

Firstly, one of the primary challenges that organizations face is identifying and prioritizing the right metrics. It is crucial to not just focus on marketing-specific metrics but also to tie these to business growth outcomes. As I already mentioned, the holy grail of attribution comes in place yet again here. How do we know what exactly made the user purchase? Are we absolutely sure that the journey we think it is, is the right journey?

Another significant challenge is often an inadequate understanding of customer needs and behaviors. That’s mostly due to the fact that, unfortunately, people don’t always know what they really want. This is why the main pillars of growth are twofold: customer feedback should be consistent with the data around customer actions. This is the only way in which we can be sure that what the customer said he or she wanted, is what will then drive action.

Solution-Driven Strategies for Marketing Led Growth

While these challenges may seem daunting, there are viable solutions that can enable effective marketing-led growth. To tackle the issue of metrics, organizations need to establish a clear linkage between marketing and business outcomes. How does it work in practice? Determine the journey and apply the weight depending on the message versus sales cycle. Some messages are more powerful than others, and we can see whether it was a newsletter around the new trends in fashion or a push notification with 20% of discount that drove the sales. Am I going to be hyper fashionable, look like… whoever it is that’s a trendy fashion influencer now… AND have a 20% off? Sold!

Success Stories of Brands that Adopted Marketing Led Growth

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Now, how others DO it? Companies that have implemented marketing-led growth strategies have seen impressive results in customer engagement, brand visibility, and most importantly, increased revenue. Let’s look at a couple of prominent examples:

Nike – An Unshakable Brand through Bold Marketing

Nike is a prime example, the sports industry giant has always been a leader in persuasive and inspiring marketing. By focusing on unique storytelling, Nike engages its audience through powerful marketing techniques. The brand’s notable “Just Do It” campaign caused a paradigm shift in consumer perception and established Nike as an unshakable brand promoting perseverance and determination.

Nike Marketing Led Growth Example

Let’s break this gem:

  1. Just do it – a “done” sign, just get it done. Essential in sports, where we often say that we will “train tomorrow” (I’m like that with lifting weights… unfortunately can’t make myself to “Just do it” every day).
  2. Messaging around: if you do it, you will succeed. Featured with the most prominent sport stars. Everything clicks: they’ve done it, that’s why they’re now where they are. YOU should do it too.
  3. If YOU do it (with Nike, who is like a magic fairy here that makes you the hero of the story), you can get wherever you want. Be whoever you aspire to be.

What do you need to do to accomplish that? JUST DO IT. Check.

Airbnb – Redefining Travel through Innovative Marketing

Another success story comes from the hospitality sector – Airbnb. With its innovative “Belong Anywhere” campaign, Airbnb was able to transform from a modish startup to a globally recognized brand in just a few years. Airbnb is much more than MLG, in my view, as they’re among the best Growth Hackers there are and the baseline of their success wasn’t marketing but the overwhelmingly logical value proposition where EVERYONE won (start with a great product… yet again in place here):

  • Hosts make extra money from the space they already have
  • Travellers save money (initially, now it changed a bit) versus getting a hotel

Everyone wins.

With that powerful product baseline (without which growth is not possible), Airbnb managed to redefine travel through its seamlessly integrated, user-friendly online platform and the brand was able to establish an emotional connection with its customers through its authentic and personalized marketing efforts. How? Marketing focused on both critical personas:

Hosts should “Airbnb” everything (btw, once you are able to successfully turn your brand name into a verb, you know you’ve “done” it):

Marketing Led Growth Airbnb example hosts

Travellers should use Aibnb to get the “real” experience:

Marketing Led Growth Airbnb Example

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Apple – Marketing that Inspired a Cult Following

When we talk about marketing-led growth, it would be remiss not to mention Apple. Known for its cult following, Apple has grown immensely through its sophisticated, minimalist marketing strategies. “Think Different,” a revolutionary campaign, not only differentiated Apple from its competitors but also cemented its reputation for innovation and creativity.

The brand’s distinct marketing approach has given it an edge in the highly competitive tech world. It’s not only the device, it’s an entirely new way of thinking. It’s future. It’s different. It makes you be different, because you think different. And of course, here, different is better.

Apple Marketing Led Growth Example

Future Trends of Marketing Led Growth

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Understanding the future trends of Marketing Led Growth is crucial for businesses to create efficient strategies for expansion. With the increasing influence of technology, these trends are transforming rapidly, shaping the way markets behave and interact with consumers. Not only do these trends influence purchasing behavior, but they also help businesses track customer journey, customize services, and maximize profits.

Interactive and Hyper Personalized Digital Campaigns

Digital advertisements are predicted to be one of the significant trends leading marketing led growth. With the proliferation of digital platforms, advertising has shifted from traditional methods towards more interactive and personalized formats. Companies are investing in creating compelling digital advertisements to attract customer attention and drive brand engagement that speak to the right customer in the right moment. This strategy not only increases brand visibility but also contributes to marketing led growth by generating leads and conversions. Remember what I said before about every customer being a gem? THAT.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in marketing strategies is also on the rise. These technologies allow businesses to analyze vast amounts of data, predict trends, and make data-driven decisions quickly. With AI and ML, businesses can understand customer behavior better, anticipate their needs and preferences, and provide customized solutions, all contributing to marketing led growth. However, especially AI that produces text, is a text predictor. That means that it combines massive amounts of data but creates… the same stuff (mostly). We can feel something has been written by ChatGPT now instead of a human after reading yet another phrase around “today’s digital world”. So be very careful here, and use it smartly.

Social Media Marketing and its WOW factor

The influence of Social Media Marketing cannot be overstated in the future trends of marketing led growth. SM platforms are increasingly being utilized by businesses to reach out to their target audiences. Through effective social media marketing, companies can build strong relationships with customers, improve their brand’s reputation, and influence purchase decisions. However, this will only work if the WOW factor is there. Just being in Social Media and talking about how great your brand is, is long gong.

What’s the right approach for YOUR business then?

Marketing is still the king, but you need to understand where the main motion lies. Unfortunately, Marketing Led Growth is mostly visible in big players, but you can do your own motion based on the uniqueness of your brand message. If you’re having a great product and you’re able to WOW your customers, use AI smartly in order to bring social media into the place of following and engagement, then Marketing-Led Growth can be good for you.

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I'm Natalia Bandach
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