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Most discussions about digital marketing have revolved around individual trends or hyping new technologies. But digital marketing is much more than that. It is a way of working that answers today’s need of measuring and optimizing resources to activities that bring back the maximum revenue. Simply put, digital marketing is a systematic way of driving scalable growth.

Commercial growth is achieved by solving customer problems better than competitors do. Since marketing alone is not responsible for all customer touchpoints, it cannot solve all customer problems that are standing in the way of growth. It doesn’t help to hire one digital marketing specialist to the team – the growth-oriented approach should be leveraged to all customer related departments.

Therefore organizations should form integrated growth teams combining skills from marketing, sales, IT, product and customer service. By doing this organizations ensure that common resources are being optimized for growth, relevant data becomes available for everyone and each team’s goals are tied to solving customer problems. Only after profound organizational changes are companies able to take full advantage of the data driven approach for growth.

But how to start the growth transformation process? It requires organizations to: 1) reorganize team structures, 2) change decision-making processes 3) learn to work with data 4) connect budgets and 5) become more goal-oriented.

1. Reorganize team structures and create growth teams

How: You can organize teams for example around specific topics. The cloud-based communication company Slack has organized their customer service and engineering to work together in a way that enables their customer service professionals to provide very quick technical assistance and clear solutions to their customers’ problems.  

Another way is to build teams around Customer Journey Thinking, since it is a great tool to connect, focus and measure customer driven growth efforts. It forces you to ask important questions about the bigger picture, like what has been our marketing investment’s measurable impact on the sales pipeline? Have we set up a process for collecting customer insights to be used in developing our commercial activities? What is being done to increase our customer lifetime value?

Why: These evolved team structures will enable better use of resources by focusing them to solve customer problems and achieve growth. It will also make sure that no relevant data is left hidden or unused, customer touchpoint development won’t be blocked by the lack of budgets and different departments won’t get distracted by irrelevant goals.

2. Create new decision-making processes

How: Data driven decision making requires you to map and open up relevant data points to collect enough signals for your analysis. Typically collecting data is the easier part, and the harder part is to define what decisions need to be made based on that data, so that we do not drown in irrelevant information. You can start this by simply asking yourself: what decisions does our team need to make in order to drive growth?

Why: Traditional management-led decision making has been changing because of more self-directed organizations. This will change even more drastically when teams move towards a growth-driven approach, in which decisions are made based on customer and performance data and not being handed down. Backed by data and analytics, the team is able to share thoughts, develop insights and quickly make important decisions together with agencies and other external partners.

3. Learn to work with data

How: Most of us in marketing have got fond of the idea of “free data and insights”, but as the demand for more sophisticated solutions to more complicated problems increases, you’ll also need to allocate more resources. Meaning more budget for software licenses and more time for data collection, visualization, analysis and maintenance. On top of that, you will need a general understanding of what are the touchpoints where data can be collected, how should that data be handled, what use can you get out of it and in how it can be interpreted.

Why: Customer and performance data is always collected in a certain context and the outcome depends on how the collection has been set up, processed and then analysed. You can’t develop or challenge something you don’t understand. That means that in the worst case you will need to make big decisions related to your area of ​​responsibility based on a process that isn’t familiar to you. 

4. Connect budgets

How: Forming connected Growth Teams will make it easier to connect budgets, as goals are aligned and the team’s success is measured with the same KPIs. Knowing how much you can spend to acquire new customers (Customer Acquisition Cost), keep them and grow their value (Customer Lifetime Value) will help you to create scalable budgeting.

Why: Connected budgets will enable you to prioritize development and investment decisions based on their growth value. Also when IT is connected to Growth Teams, the knowledge of e.g IT sourcing processes won’t come as a surprise to anyone looking to get new martech licenses.

5. Set clear goals

How: Commercial growth is something measurable, but the reasons behind it are not always easily attributed. That should not stop you from setting clear goals and KPIs. If everything is equally important, then nothing is really achieved. Effective goal setting is based on prioritization and having a clear view of your team’s role in achieving those goals.

Why: Clear goals will help the team to understand what type of decisions needs to be made, what kind of data is needed for that and where to invest resources for future development.

Psst! Are you looking to start your own growth transformation, but are not sure how? The next part of the Growth transformation series will focus on the Growth service and solution Genero has developed for you.

Miia Koverola works at Genero as Lead Growth Hacker focusing on strategy and digital transformation. She has been following the change of digital consumer behaviour since launching her first own webshop in 2008.

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