The Best Marketing Growth Strategies for 2020 [Updated for 2021]
is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
Remember when Periscope was the thing?
I know Periscope is alive and well. But, back a few years ago, if your brand wasn’t on Periscope, you were a dinosaur!
That lasted like 5 minutes.
You have to be on SnapChat or you lose.
Popular marketing gurus were pushing SnapChat every time they opened their mouth. Now, it’s TikTok… but I’ll not jump on my soapbox of how stupid that idea is.
My point is, every year we are inundated with new gimmicks and tricks for growing a brand. And every year, the previous gimmick goes into the garbage can.
A lot of great marketers are throwing their hands up and asking, “will someone please just show me something that works?” Today is your lucky day.
Marketing Growth Strategies That Work in 2021
Growth isn’t found in a new platform or medium. Let’s get that out of the way right now.
If you’re not growing right now, simply adding a new medium isn’t going to help. You have to do the things that drive growth, plain and simple.
Now, it’s true, sometimes the right thing is to get on the right platform. That’s beside the point.
The main idea I want to convey is, growth is not rocket science. It’s hard work. And, if you work hard on the right things, you can drive growth, guaranteed.
What Really Drives Growth Marketing Results?
There are six things that drive growth. We call them the Six Levers of Growth:
It doesn’t matter what tactic or gimmick you try, it doesn’t matter what growth marketing strategy you employ, if any of these levers are broken, your growth will suffer.
Growth is not about vanity metrics like traffic and leads generated.
A smart man named Richard Fertig once told me there’s only one metric that matters: revenue.
At the end of the day, if your marketing is not driving an increase in sales, you’re not growing. Therefore, the best growth marketing strategies are not the ones that drive an increase in traffic, or social engagement, or awareness, etc. etc. The best strategies are the ones that drive an increase in customer acquisition.
Your Product Is Not Your Competitive Advantage
That statement is more true than you think it is.
How many category kings don’t have the best product? A large portion of category kings have an inferior product compared to a competitor.
How did they become category king with an inferior product? They made customer acquisition their competitive advantage, and suffocated their competitors with the pressure of keeping up.
How did they do it? They made every lever of growth operate at maximum performance, and their customer acquisition engine out-performed their competitors. That’s how.
If you employ the best marketing strategy for growth, you’re going to lower the cost of acquiring customers. And, the lower you drive that number, the more customers you get for the same budget. And, when you apply more of the budget to acquiring customers, your competitors can’t keep up.
That’s how you win.
The Best Marketing Growth Strategies for 2021
Gimmicks always focus on the awareness and activation stages. Most marketing agencies play in that realm as well.
These stages are important, but when they are taken on their own, they are vanity metrics.
So, when you employ these strategies, do so with a clear determination to drive all six levers of growth with the intent to lower the cost of customer acquisition.
You can borrow attention and reputation. And, even though it can be expensive to get an endorsement or shoutout from an influencer, that single act of marketing can drive insane growth.
I recently talked with a founder who made a single partnership with a category influencer. That single partnership took his $10 million dollar company to a $50 million dollar company almost overnight.
Make a list of influencers your target customer idolizes, and find a way to get them to sign on, use, or promote your offer. The win will come easy if it’s a good match.
Chatbots have been one of those gimmicky things to come along. And, I know a lot of people have figured out how to make them work okay.
But, notice you don’t like dealing with them, why do you think your customers would?
The consumer today is hungry for conversations. If your chatbot is just repackaging your old-style forms and emails, it’s not what they really want.
But, what if you could have a conversation across all mediums. Why not accept real-time chat requests instead of chatbots.
“That takes too much time!”
Really? To connect with a potential customer and have a meaningful interaction is just “too much?”
Why do you think Live Streams are so effective? Because conversations happen on live streams.
This is where texting will be a big deal. If you’re not texting your prospects in 2021, what are you doing?
What about Facebook Messenger?
Did you know HubSpot’s website chat tool allows you to field Facebook Messenger chats as well as chats from your website? Try it out!
Creating “you ask, we answer” content still works. The only difference is, it’s working on every single medium available. It’s no longer just for your blog. It’s for everywhere.
Create content that helps your prospect, not that shamelessly promotes your product or service.
Dream 100 Marketing
Think Account-Based Marketing (ABM), but not as a permanent model. Instead, decide who the top 100 prospects are for your company. Then, do whatever you can to build a relationship with them.
A lot of us on the Lean Labs team are fans of Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and Dan Miller. A few years ago, we started doing proactive outreach. We designed a thing for Tony, and Brian, and Dan. Tony didn’t respond, so we never won that account. However, we did get to work with Brian and Dan.
Podcast & Video Marketing
Podcasting is here to stay, and it’s getting more and more popular. I believe most blog readers today are mostly people searching for answers (you ask, we answer), and a little avid readers. But the thought leadership content today, the kind of content people consume because they want to learn or be entertained, etc… it’s no longer blog content. It’s video and podcasts.
I just saw an email come through for one of our clients. A referral engine we put in place way back in 2017 is still bringing them new customers. It’s automated, and it works.
If you’re not asking your clients for referrals, you’re missing out on low-hanging fruit that can drive massive growth.
The Bottom Line
If you want to grow your brand in 2021 (and beyond), I’ll give you a little bit of advice: growth isn’t found in the gimmicks. And, if you don’t stop chasing the get-rich-quick equivalent marketing strategies, you’ll still be chasing the latest gimmick while others pass you by.
All of these strategies are tactics. Everyone is dabbling with all of them.
If you dabble too, you’ll get lackluster results no matter what you try.
Instead of dabbling, make a data-driven decision. Is a podcast right? Then go all-in and stick with it.
If you go all-in with the right strategies, and commit to getting it done right, you will experience growth. If you go all-in this week, but jump back out next week, forget it. You won’t win.
Growth doesn’t come from tactics. It comes from doing the right things, doing them well, and driving with them. It comes from driving a full-funnel growth, moving all six levers of growth.
When that is done, growth is a byproduct of being a great marketing company.
If you need help, let’s chat. And we can help you get all six levers moving!