The Five Marketing Essentials of High Growth Brands
In my last blog I shared the five business essentials of high growth tech brands – check it out here if you have not yet seen it. Here I’ll be focusing on what shared marketing characteristics were called out from the research, ‘Uncovering the secrets of high growth tech brands’, downloadable here.
- Strong brand and clear mission – high growth brands sell the mission, not the product. Reframing in this way helps to show how high growth brands differ from their competitors, and this differentiation delivers the benefits of competitive advantage. As Simon Sinek says in his book, ‘Start with Why’, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
- Aligned and integrated sales and marketing – whilst this is such a cliché, it is still recognized as a real challenge for many businesses. Often these two teams are not only measured differently but even use different language e.g. ‘audience’ (marketing) versus ‘opportunities’(sales). Integrating sales and marketing into one ‘revenue team’, working towards the same goals is recognized as critical for high performance. Some ideas proposed on how to achieve this were:
- Sales are on the front line, talking to customers all the time. This gives them great insights that Marketing must harvest to inform great marketing.
- Marketing needs to see Sales as their key client, and complex sales as a team sport.
- Part of Marketing’s role is to educate the forward market on behalf of Sales
- Marketers should be proactively encourage to ride along monthly with sales people, including pre-call planning and meeting debriefs. The value here is both in meeting customers face to face and in the interactions with sales people.
- It is well recognized that compensation drives behavior, so ensure Marketing and Sales compensation is aligned.
- Laser focused targeting of customers – key to the success of high growth brands is their ability to identify and engage with those prospects that represent a genuine sales opportunity, rather than trying to be all things to all people. Marketers may resist deleting records from their databases but they are wasting resources that could be better deployed on increasing engagement amongst those with high potential. Where relevant, Account Based Marketing (ABM) and persona based marketing are key approaches to adopt.
- Customer obsessiveness – listening, really listening, to customers is a critical success factor. Sometimes the conversations can be tough, and they may say things you don’t want to hear, but often those who are the most critical are also the most passionate about your products. Quantitative surveys have their place, but nothing beats face-to-face interactions via user groups, client advisory councils etc. The value here is both in feedback on current propositions and in the bubbling up of latent pain to identify marketplace opportunities (see point 5 in my previous blog on why this is important). One recommendation was to review customers you lose to identify how gaps could be closed in future. Another was to hold RFP pre-mortems to try and identify where your proposal is weak so you can then identify ways to shore it up.
- Powerful and influential advocacy – especially for smaller companies, strong unpaid relationships with relevant influencers can really grow your marketing reach. These can be third parties like journalists and industry commentators, but don’t forget to ask customers too. Most are willing to speak at an event, do a podcast, present on a webinar, share a case study or provide a testimonial. Even if they say no, they are usually flattered to have received the invitation, strengthening their relationship with your brand. Another element here is asking customers for referrals. Satisfied customers have the potential to be your best advocates and the high growth brands utilize this opportunity fully to engage with new prospects.
And do you know what I like best about this list? The fact that none of these characteristics of high growth brands rely on big budgets for success! So Partner Plus partners can leverage this learning to grow their midmarket practice without breaking the bank – does that sound like a formula of success to you?