Early stage startups must focus on traction before growth.
Stage 1: Traction
The first marketing related objective that an early stage startup must achieve is traction – that is a small set of marketing programs that can be depended on to sustain growth. Although true product-market fit requires traction, every startup should demonstrate a strong degree of product-market fit before shifting its focus away from customer development. In this stage, we will identify the 3-5 tactics or channels that together will allow your company to achieve a sustainable rate of growth. We will then figure out exactly how to execute on these initiatives effectively and efficiently, and finally, hand them off to your internal team to own moving forward.
A Sprint-based Approach to Marketing
Every week we run a new campaign designed to test a new channel or set of experiments within a channel. This approach helps us discover opportunities for growth, understand how to improve our execution, and highlight points in our funnel and marketing stack that need improvement. This allows us to focus our energy and resources in exploiting low hanging fruit and addressing any single points of failure. This approach is also more conducive to early results within a resource-constrained environment.
Once we determine that a channel or tactic has significant potential, we move to streamline and operationalize it into a program that we can later hand off to your team, who becomes responsible for execution and continuous improvement. Owning execution builds internal capabilities within your company, and frees up our time so we can move on to find the next breakout channel.
Growth Mindset Training
In addition to any domain-specific training required to effectively hand off newly minted programs to your internal team, we will also help them execute these programs following the growth marketing process. To help you adopt this way of working, we’ll assign a specific funnel metric to each functional lead member of the team. Every week, we will use this set of metrics to measure progress and to prioritize what initiatives or tests come next. Everything your team does must be in service of improving one of the metrics they own.
Stage 2: Optimization
Once we have completed the traction stage and have 3-5 programs that the team is executing really well and which can be counted on for predictable, sustainable growth, our focus will then shift heavily towards operations and efficiency. At this point, we will loop in domain-specific experts to help us make sure that each component of our growth engine is fine-tuned and that we are operating as efficiently as possible from a capital and labor standpoint. This stage will prepare us for growth.
Stage 3: Growth
Having comprehensively stood up our marketing programs, next we will spin out a growth team separate from the current marketing team. Marketing will remain in charge of marketing programs and operations. Their focus will be to pursue scale without losing efficiency. On the other hand, the new Growth team will be responsible for finding 10x revenue growth opportunities by conducting more ambitious and technically involved experiments aimed at improving our high-level AARRR metrics.