Effective marketing is essential for your company to reach it’s growth targets. However, random acts of marketing will never help you become a high-growth company. They key is to leverage a cohesive growth marketing framework that will help you attract and convert customers at scale.
If you're pursuing a growth marketing strategy, you may not know where to start, what to measure, or how to organize your process. A growth marketing framework helps with all that and more. In this article, we'll talk about the benefits of using a growth marketing framework.
Additionally, we'll walk you through the growth marketing framework we've used to 10x our clients' growth in 36 months and provide some additional resources to help you implement the framework in your company.
While there are many growth marketing frameworks to choose from, we recommend The Six Levers of Growth, also know as the AAARRR framework. More on that in a minute, but first…
Why Do You Need a Growth Marketing Framework?
First, it helps set guardrails when you are developing your marketing and growth strategy. There are infinite numbers of tactics, strategies, and channels you can use to grow a business. So many, it may be intimidating to sit down and try to build a growth strategy.
Your growth marketing framework brings clarity to the essential things you need to focus on to achieve growth.
Tracking the Metrics and KPIs That Influence Your Growth Rate
Where are your company’s strengths and weaknesses concerning your buyer journey?
Get everyone in your company aligned around the same plan.
The tactics and channels are the primary drivers of your company’s growth (i.e., where you should focus your time and budget).
Your Growth Marketing Framework - The 6 Levers of Growth
The 6 Levers of Growth make up the AAARRR growth marketing framework. Each lever feeds off of and depends on the lever next to it. Sales and marketing must own the entire framework together.
The most common problem with traditional marketing is that the ball gets dropped between the three A’s and the three R’s. For this framework to succeed, your sales and marketing teams must be aligned and work together to optimize each lever.
Awareness is the most well-known lever of the growth marketing framework. At its most basic, awareness is how much traffic you get to your website. However, there are some caveats to this.
Getting traffic for traffic’s sake is where many brands turn awareness from a valuable metric into a vanity metric. You want to get the right kind of traffic, meaning the people most interested in what you offer and, therefore, most likely to buy from you.
This makes awareness a vital piece of the growth marketing framework. It has a heavy influence over the five other levers. If you bring the wrong people to your website:
- Acquisition numbers will be low or produce low-quality leads.
- Low-quality leads mean Activation initiatives won't be as effective, leading to decreased conversions of MQLs to SQLs.
- Fewer or low-quality SQLs mean fewer conversions to paying customers and lengthy sales cycles in the Revenue stage.
- Poor-fit customers are most likely to churn, causing Retention to suffer.
- Poor-fit customers are also not likely to recommend you to others or offer a testimonial, causing your Referral engine to stagnate.
Acquisition is all about turning your targeted website traffic into leads through forms, offers, and lead magnets.
When done well, Acquisition sets your Activation activities up for success. However, if your offers and lead magnets aren’t targeted to the website visitors most likely to buy from you, you’re sabotaging your Activation efforts. Untargeted offers and lead magnets crowd your sales pipeline with unqualified leads. At this point, leads become a vanity metric until you optimize your Acquisition tactics to produce qualified leads.
Acquisition feeds Activation, but it also guides Awareness. If you’re getting a good amount of traffic, but they aren’t converting on your lead magnets, two things could be happening. First, your offer may not be targeted or exciting enough for your visitors to act.
But it may also signal an issue with the type of people visiting your website. If the bulk of people coming to your website aren’t the right fit, they either won’t convert on your lead magnet, or they will convert but will ultimately be a bad fit. This is why Acquisition has to be well-planned and thought out, not just a form slapped on your website.
Activation is about lead nurturing and qualifying leads further as a good fit for your product and then getting them to “raise their hand” to convert to a paying customer. An easy way to picture what happens in Activation is by considering leads in terms of temperature: cold, warm, and hot.
- Cold: A person who comes in cold with little to no knowledge of your brand to your website and converts on a lead magnet is not ready to be sold to. You need to further qualify them as someone likely to buy from you.
- Warm: Warm leads are your marketing-qualified leads or MQLs. They’ve taken another step toward learning about your solution, further qualifying them as someone likely to buy from you.
- Hot: At this point, your MQL has taken some action — attended a webinar, attended a demo, completed a needs assessment call — that means there is a near certainty that they will buy from you, not a competitor. They have moved from MQL to a sales-qualified lead or SQL.
Activation’s success relies on the tactics you use AND the quality of your Awareness and Acquisition efforts. If you’re getting the right traffic to convert on lead magnets, Activation will most likely be successful. If you’re getting the wrong traffic and low-quality leads, Activation will suffer.
Revenue is all about the number of SQLs you close compared to the total number of SQLs in your pipeline.
Why is Revenue important? The obvious answer is that you’re getting new business in the door through paying customers. But it’s also a way to vet the performance of Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation. Each of the previous levers influences the success of your close rate and vice versa. If you’re closing 1 out of 10 product demos, it’s possible the people making it to the demos are non-buyers. In this case, you must assess your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities.
Is this where a lot of marketing and sales teams stop? They convert the lead to a customer and then focus on the next lead. But that leaves out two key pieces of our growth marketing framework: Retention and Referral.
Why is Retention an essential part of our growth marketing framework? Let’s rewind to the goal of growth marketing to answer that question.
Revenue growth is your goal. But it’s hard to grow if you continually churn more customers than you bringing in. Additionally, a paying customer doesn’t become profitable for you right away. They need to stick around for a few months to be worth the amount you paid to acquire them (your customer acquisition cost).
If you churn 2% of customers monthly, your Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, and Revenue efforts have to get that many new customers each month to replace those churned customers. Then you have to go above that number to grow your user base.
Your retention efforts should focus on the customer experience and getting them deeper into your product. It’s not only about preventing churn but upselling and cross-selling current customers.
Referrals may be the last on our growth marketing framework list, but it’s actually the best place to start. Using your own customers' positive experiences in their own words as a marketing tactic is a great play for a few reasons.
First, you don’t have to create content; just capture it. Second, it’s a positive claim from an objective third party about our product or company. . People are very good at ignoring marketing messages that say, “Our product is the best; buy it now!” Customer testimonials on your website and word-of-mouth referrals bring the credibility of that person giving their personal seal of approval.
Finally, it provides context for other people considering your product. They see that Dave, who also works in the same industry or has the same challenges they do, found success using your product.
An established referral engine lets you use your current customers to feed Awareness and Acquisition. It also helps guide your Retention efforts. If we know what’s causing our customers to share and promote us, we can work that into our Retention playbook.
3 Tips for Setting Up An Effective Growth Marketing Framework
1. Build A Growth Team
Building a growth team traditionally is revolved around hiring people with specific skill sets and buying ads. While this still does work, there are more effective ways that help you scale long-term.
When you’re working to grow your business, the best avenue is hiring people who have a passion for your solution and have the skills to reach the community you’re searching for.
The team should prioritize and test various growth strategies, such as SEO, content marketing, social media, paid advertising, partnerships, and email marketing to identify the most effective tactics for your business.
2. Align Your Team Around Key Growth Metrics
Aligning your team around key growth metrics is like everyone putting on their GPS and heading to the same destination. Without it, you might end up in different places, wasting time and resources. Key growth metrics are like the North Star for your marketing efforts. They guide you toward your business goals, and everyone can work towards them with purpose and direction.
By tracking and analyzing these metrics regularly, you can make data-driven decisions that drive business growth. It's like having a team of explorers all using the same map, compass, and GPS to navigate the treacherous terrain of the market.
3. Measure & Track Performance
Measuring and tracking performance in your growth marketing framework without a data-driven approach is like playing darts blindfolded. You might hit the bullseye occasionally, but it's mostly luck. With a data-driven approach, you're like a dart player with perfect vision, steady aim, and a deep understanding of the game. You know what you're aiming for and have the tools to get there. Tracking and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) lets you see where your darts are landing and adjust your aim accordingly.
At Lean Labs, we optimize the six core growth functions: awareness, acquisition, activation, revenue, results, and reputation. By measuring and tracking performance with a data-driven approach, you'll hit your targets precisely and achieve your business goals like a pro.
Your Growth Framework is Your Starting Point for Success
The 6 Levers of Growth aren’t just a theoretical growth marketing framework. We’ve employed it for our clients, resulting in over $100 million in generated revenue and helping them acquire over $90 million in funding.
What we’ve done in this article is merely a brief overview. The next step is to check out the Growth Playbook. It provides video tutorials and bonus resources to put you in a better spot to implement your company's framework.