The Most Common Problems of Building a Growth Strategy
Growth doesn't happen by accident. And, if it were easy, no company would ever go out of business. The harsh reality is that most companies do go out of business for various reasons.
In fact, 50% of companies fail after their 5th year and 70% after their 10th. This gives any business owner all the more reason to be diligent with their growth strategy.
But, unfortunately, most companies aren’t that diligent. They sink money into paid ads that never pay off, and they gamble with their marketing budget.
They learn the hard way — through trial and error — that growth is difficult, business is cutthroat competitive, and many employees and their families count on your company's success.
If you don't have a growth strategy, you're gambling — and gambling on growth is a risky way to do business.
Keep reading to learn about the most common problems of building a growth strategy and how you can prevent them.
The Problems of Developing a Growth Strategy
We’ve worked with many businesses on marketing strategy - as a matter of fact, strategy is the first task we do for each client. Still, every client comes to us (as a general rule) thinking they have a solid plan in place, and they are looking for one thing: scaling growth.
The problem is, their system of growth isn’t working optimally. We see it all the time. And, trying to scale a broken growth system is like trying to win the Indy 500 with no wheels on your car.
You can rev up its engine and burn a lot of expensive fuel, but you’ll never get out of the pits.
1. Skipping the Fundamentals
You can’t have a revenue-generating sales funnel when you skip the marketing fundamentals such as creating buyer personas and planning the stages of your buyers’ journey. Working on your growth strategy framework is an excellent place to start.
Your product might be something your target market will buy, but your message is what persuades them to follow through and invest their money in your product or service. You can't have a message that resounds with your target customer unless you deeply understand what drives and motivates them to buy.
You need to research your buyers and find out what their values are — not rely on what you assume them to be. It's like assuming your audience is football fans when they’re actually basketball fans in reality. Finding out what their values are is extremely important to the success of your growth strategy.
2. Thinking “ME” First
Too many companies build their message around how great they are and how much better they are than their competitors. Most of the time, this message is so shallow that it ends up being "we provide better service."
I can't reiterate to you how many times we’ve heard C-suite leaders use that as their "differentiator."
You can't have a great message without talking about what your customers want to talk about — meaning talk about their problems, not your brand.
You have to start with them, and your message must be customer-centric.
Don’t make the mistake of positioning your company as the hero. Your customer is the hero. You’re the experienced guide who’s been where they are, faced the same issues, and come out on the other side transformed. Give them the plan to solve their problems (which is your product or service).
Another thing to keep in mind is that new customers won’t know your brand is the best when coming in.
So you should never assume they do.
You need to explain what makes your brand unique (USP: unique selling proposition) and how that relates to delivering a better solution than your competitors for your specific audience.
3. Rushing to Scale
Rushing growth is the fastest way to crash and burn, and you’ll waste a lot of your budget on stuff that doesn't work. Gimmicky growth — sometimes fondly referred to as growth hacking — is usually just gimmicks and nothing more.
It's best if you don't try to scale before you have an engine for growth. Don't waste your time building a ton of brand awareness before you have a system to close and retain customers.
Many people will initially sink a bunch of money into paid ads, attracting many people to the website. But, they won't be closing customers because the rest of their system isn't working.
You need to build the growth engine and make sure it's operating well before you try to scale.
Don’t Skip Steps — Start With Your Growth Strategy
There are six levers of growth:
If even one of those levers isn't working, you’ll waste money on marketing.
This isn't hyperbole.
Your growth strategy should start with engagement — including customer development, brand narrative, and competitive advantage.
Then you want to convert the customer by aiding their buyer journey, designing the website, and figuring out what lead magnets to create.
Last, you want to scale your audience with growth-driven design, implementing growth marketing, and establishing a growth leader.
We see so many companies pouring expensive fuel into their wheel-less race-car, expecting it to go fast. They have the biggest engine and the most incredible horsepower — but their vehicle is still inferior to a bicycle.
That's why we start, from the very first call, working on your growth strategy. We believe in it so strongly that we give away the first strategy-planning session.
Click here to grab a seat in one of our strategy-planning sessions.
Ryan's 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.