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How to make sure you’re marketing to Gen Z the right way

For many brands today, marketing to Gen Z might feel like trying to talk to aliens.

Because at a glance, the so-called “smartphone generation” is a totally new species of consumer.

The reality, though?

Figuring out how to make your marketing click with a younger crowd is easier than you think.

Listen: Gen Z’s massive spending power and dependence on social media speak for themselves.

Having a pulse on what young customers want not only opens you up to new business but also ensures that you aren’t missing out on key social media trends.

That’s why we put together this guide on marketing to Gen Z.

10 social strategies for marketing to Gen Z

Marketing to younger customers has historically been tricky.

Demographic data can be difficult to track. Marketing trends come and go.

That said, the outspoken and chronically online nature of Gen Z makes learning their buying behavior much less of a guessing game.

But treating all of Gen Z like a singular block is a surefire way to come off as out of touch. It’s also key that brands learn how to bridge the gap between Gen Z and other generations of customers, particularly millennials.

And so while this list emphasizes tactics for marketing to Gen Z, many of these tips are fair game for millennials as well.

With that, let’s dive in!

1. Emphasize eye-catching, visual content

Chalk it up to being born with smartphones in their hands, but Gen Z’s addiction to eye-popping visuals is well-documented.

Food for thought: Gen Z spends more time on YouTube versus the likes of Netflix. In lieu of long-form content, bite-sized video has been the go-to for brands targeting younger customers for a reason (think: Instagram Stories and Snapchat).

Snapchat's bite-sized content has become a cornerstone of marketing to Gen Z

Short-form video bursting with overlays, effects and music has proven to be marketing gold for influencers and brands alike.

Look no further than the recent boom of TikTok as evidence of this phenomenon. With over 500 million users and a huge chunk of Gen Z, the platform represents a new wave of social that marketers are still trying to wrap their heads around.


TikTok is a growing platform for Gen Z

The key takeaway here is that video and stylized visual content should be a top priority for catching the eyes of younger customers. In the wake of so many new apps, social features and creative filters, anything that’s considered static or “boring” doesn’t stand much of a chance to a zoomer.

2. Pick their brains with interactive content

Research suggests that much of what makes social media so compelling to Gen Z is a combination of creativity and interactivity.

Translation? Younger customers want to do something when they land on your posts.

Tap. Swipe. Click.

You can almost think of Gen Z and social media as a game of call and response.

Anything you can do to encourage interaction or pose questions via social is a plus. For example, consider interactive features such as polls that do double duty of learning about customers and winning their attention, too.

Light-hearted Twitter polls are a playful, low-hanging way to encourage engagement, for example.

Meanwhile, Instagram features such as polls, stickers and sliders provide some interactive pizzaz to your Stories.

Interactive Instagram story

Beyond social media, interactive content is becoming increasingly common to help customers make purchasing decisions.

How so? Brands like Topshop, who shares a significant Gen Z and millennial customer-base, have a comprehensive quiz to help buyers hone in on styles that speak to their personality. This combination of interactivity and personalization is key to speaking to younger customers looking to support brands that value them as individuals.

Marketing to Gen Z means giving your audience an opportunity to give a sense of who they are

3. Tap in their FOMO with time-sensitive posts

Don’t forget that Snapchat is the most popular social network for Gen Z based on social media demographic data.

The concept of time-sensitive, ephemeral content that “disappears” is an element of social media that young customers have grown accustomed to.

When marketing to Gen Z, consider how you can tap into your audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO).

Stories are perhaps the best example, allowing brands to drive time-sensitive engagement and likewise become a constant fixture in their followers’ Instagram feed via Stories-based notifications. Here’s a great series of Stories from H&M for reference (note the interactive elements):

Instagram Stories are among the most popular types of social content for Gen Z

4. Encourage engagement through tagging

Piggybacking on the need to produce interactive content, much of marketing to Gen Z revolves around tagging. For example:

  • Encouraging followers to share user-generated content (think: customer photos) coupled with your branded hashtag
  • Enabling customers to tag themselves at your physical location
  • Asking customers to tag their friends to bring new potential followers into your social feed

Brands should be upfront with Gen Z about what they want, letting these sorts of actions serve as a CTA for any given post.

For example, Uniqlo promotes a dedicated Instagram Stories which shows off customers who use their #Uniqlo or #LifeWear hashtags.

Hashtags encourage interactivity which is a big deal to Gen Z

Despite popular belief, Gen Z aren’t shut-ins that can’t find time away from their phones. In fact, the majority of Gen Z prefer to shop in-store versus online.

Brands with a physical location should capitalize on younger customers’ desire to be seen “in the wild.” This speaks to the importance of not only having a hashtag for followers to promote but something on-site worthy of snapshotting. For example, Disney Springs has a constant flood of customer photos to promote to their followers thanks to their slew of hashtags.

In-person tagging is important for capturing moments "in the wild"

And again, even something as simple as asking for a tag is enough to encourage a meaningful response from younger customers. This post from TOMS is a shining example of a simple yet effective tag-a-friend post, speaking to the brand’s heart without promoting a product outright.

5. Put your brand’s sense of humor front-and-center

This might sound like a no-brainer, but the majority of Gen Z want to support brands that they see as “fun” and “cool.”

Perhaps that’s why humor and meme-centric social presences are so popular among the younger crowd.

Much like social media marketing to millennials has heavily involved personality and brands showing their human side, the trend continues with Gen Z.

The challenge for brands here is how quickly the internet at large moves. For example, brands trying to post a months-old meme might be seen as out of touch. Similarly, not all industries have the benefit of being able to play the role of a comedian.

What matters most is for brands to have a distinct voice, showing the human side of their social presence through authentic interactions that don’t sound like something totally suit-and-tie. When interacting with customers, brands should strive to be organic and unpredictable rather than templated.

6. Respond to your followers in a timely manner

Speaking of responses, note than giving Gen Z followers your undivided attention goes hand-in-hand with boosting brand loyalty. 

Note that three-quarters of Gen Z want brands to respond to their comments and feedback, specifically “viewing responsiveness as a metric of a brand’s authenticity.” Here’s a great example of a personalized, timely response from Milk Makeup:

Responsiveness is a huge piece of successful marketing to Gen Z

Gen Z’s loyalty appears to be rewarded to brands that go back-and-forth and do so quickly. This speaks to the need for brands to invest in social listening tools to ensure that they never miss brand or keyword mentions that could lead to meaningful customer interactions.

7. Don’t be shy about your brand’s beliefs and values

As highlighted by our Brands Get Real survey, consumers have high expectations when it comes to taking stances on social issues.

Similarly, Gen Z is noted to rally around causes and tend to support brands who do the same.

From championing diversity to raising awareness for social issues and beyond,  we’re seeing more and more brands wear their beliefs and values on their sleeves.

Brand taking bold stances is becoming more of an expectation rather than an exception to the rule. This boldness seems to correlate with Gen Z’s desire to be heard and express their beliefs.

Of course, brands should always be mindful of how they present their stances on social issues and do so in good taste.

8. Make your advertising more authentic via influencers

Although influencer campaigns mostly began as an avenue for marketing to millennials, consider that Gen Z is totally on board with being sold to be influencers.

YouTubers. Instagram ambassadors. Twitch streamers. The list goes on and on.

In fact, key stats on Gen Z consumer behavior highlight that influencers are the best way to reach younger customers versus any other marketing channels. Consider the following:

Oh, and research from Kantar notes that over half of Gen Z won’t click on online ads at all. The same study notes that 36% of Gen Z will “do something else” while a digital ad is playing.

So much of marketing to Gen Z is about authenticity and overcoming a well-established aversion to ads. Influencer campaigns seem to represent most brands’ best bet for reaching a younger audience.

9. Provide a seamless experience for mobile customers

To say that mobile optimization is essential to marketing to Gen Z would be an understatement.

As highlighted by ClickZ, smartphone usage is almost universal among Gen Z. Meanwhile, most younger consumers spending at least four hours a day online.

Capitalizing on impulse buyers and social shoppers mean offering a seamless mobile experience. From copy and clear calls-to-action to striking visuals and beyond, make sure your site is optimized for visitors with short attention spans.

Scroll-friendly and easy to understand at a glance, ASOS’ mobile product pages are an awesome example of what we’re talking about.

Mobile optimization

10. Emphasize discounts and value in your marketing

Finally, consider that Gen Z refuse to pay full price for just about anything.

Although some Gen Z characteristics might be hard to dissect, this one makes perfect sense.

Think about it.

Cheap and near-instant access to nearly all forms of entertainment (YouTube, Spotify, Netflix). Couple that with steep discounts and speedy shipping (think: Amazon).

The end result is a consumer-base that might have indeed cash, but are mindful of how they spend it due to how accustomed they are to convenience and low price points.

Frequent discounts have become increasingly common across all corners of e-commerce, but especially brands targeting teens and young adults. A consistent rotation of time-sensitive offers (remember FOMO?) works like a charm with younger shoppers, especially bargain-hunters who shy away from bigger price tags.


Steep discounts are crucial for winning over Gen Z buyers

And with that, we wrap up our guide to marketing to Gen Z!

How are you reaching Gen Z customers?

Marketing to younger customers might require a bit of finessing, but doing so definitely isn’t reserved for “hip” brands on social media.

More visual content? Emphasis on authenticity? More back-and-forth with customers? 

Hey, those all sound good to us.

Today’s Gen Z marketing trends aren’t completely different from what we’re seeing for consumers across all demographics. Even if you aren’t worried about marketing to Gen Z now, these sorts of behaviors will have a long-term impact on consumers to come.

We want to hear from you, though. What’s your experience marketing to Gen Z been like? Challenges? Success stories? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to make sure you’re marketing to Gen Z the right way originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to use social media crowdsourcing effectively

A few months back, Jarett Wieselman from Netflix sent out the following tweet asking people what they mean when they say “Netflix didn’t promote the (cancelled) show”.

Thousands of people responded with their opinions and gave suggestions on how the streaming platform can better promote shows.

This is an example of social media crowdsourcing in action.

Not only did the company learn what its customers expected, it also gained some brilliant promotion ideas.

When used correctly, social media crowdsourcing can be a powerful customer research tool. It can provide you with valuable insights on how to optimize various aspects of your business – from marketing and sales to customer service.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can use crowdsourcing for your business.

What is crowdsourcing?

First of all, what is crowdsourcing really?

Simply put, it is the process of collecting ideas, services, and/or content with the help of contributions from a large number of people. The “crowd” in crowdsourcing typically refers to third-party entities that are unrelated to the business that’s conducting it.

In other words, you ask people for ideas and opinions on a particular topic and use that information to feed your product development, customer service, and marketing campaigns. With the large amount of ways to tap into the wisdom of the crowd online, other forms of crowdsourcing like crowdfunding have continued to build the relevance of collective opinions and efforts.

How social media crowdsourcing adds value

When done right, social media crowdsourcing can provide valuable insights about your customers and how they feel about your business. You can use it to identify opportunities for improving your performance.

Here are a few major ways in which social media crowdsourcing adds value for your business.

1. Gain a better understanding of your customers

Crowdsourcing on social media is hands down the most effective way to know your customers better.

Sure you can look at your analytics data to study customer behavior and preferences, but asking them directly provides unique insights and context. You’ll be able to get specific quotes that help put a story behind how users interact with your offerings, and what their needs are that you still haven’t met.

Learn how to ask for feedback from customers so you can understand how they feel about your business, your products, your service or even your campaigns. You can also collect feedback to understand their interests, buying behavior, expectations, content preferences, pain points and more.

Enterprise.nxt, for instance, created a Twitter poll to understand how its followers manage their passwords. It even threw in a handy guide to creating more secure passwords so that they provide value to their audience while getting a better feel for an aspect of their behavior.

2. Improve your product or service

Customer feedback on social media can also help you identify problems in your product or service that you should address.

You’ll be able to hear about improvement opportunities straight from the end users. Since they come in direct contact with your product regularly, they are the best people to point out what needs fixing to build a better product.

An advantage of reaching out to your social media audience is that the group that will respond are typically some of your most engaged followers and users. They can serve as a focus group that knows your brand in detail and is motivated to help you improve them so they can benefit as customers  too.

While you can create polls and ask questions, that’s not the only way to collect product improvement feedback. Look at the comments on your posts, direct messages and reviews on your social media pages.

For instance, the following screenshot shows how Pact could potentially identify a product improvement opportunity from a customer’s comment on its Facebook post.

customer comment on Pact Facebook post

Sprout Social’s social media engagement tools can help you streamline all of this. You’ll be able to manage reviews and filter the most relevant messages for your crowdsourcing efforts.

sprout unified inbox

Further, you can dig into greater depth beyond brand mentions to see what people are saying about your brand and products using the social media listening tools from Sprout. Listening lets you set up more complex queries and dig into data from ongoing social conversations, expanding your reach beyond the users who engage specifically with crowdsourcing efforts.

3. Optimize your social media customer service

Social media crowdsourcing goes hand in hand with the customer feedback you receive through social customer service as well. Every new review, every new interaction can provide vital information on how to improve your service.

If you’re seeing recurring issues with your product or service, such as many customers experiencing shipping issues, you can start to diagnose problems affecting your business and improve. For many growing brands, a key issue can be the bandwidth of your service team itself. Maybe your team isn’t responsive enough or your limited availability is inconvenient to your customers.

You can then use these insights to develop a set of best practices for social media customer service that your team should follow. You can also use it to enhance your existing protocol and deliver an even better experience by expanding your customer service efforts.

Netflix even set up a separate Twitter account to collect and streamline all their customer service inquiries. They provide updates on streaming issues and respond to customer queries in multiple languages. This is a great idea when brands have high volumes of customer service-related queries that can’t be easily handled on the main account.

4. Assess performance

Social media crowdsourcing is also a valuable performance assessment tool. While analytics data tells you almost everything you need to know about your performance, there’s one aspect of your performance that it can’t always measure. And that’s people’s sentiments and opinions.

It could be about a new product, a certain marketing campaign, an event or even a new piece of content. If you’re going to get a 360-degree view of its performance, you need to learn how to ask for feedback from customers about it.

For instance, you may see a lot of engagement on your social post. But that’s not necessarily positive. People may be leaving negative comments or sharing it for all the wrong reasons. Crowdsourcing customer comments and feedback helps you gain a more complete picture of how your campaigns and your overall business decisions as a brand are faring.

How to conduct social media crowdsourcing

Now that you understand how social media crowdsourcing adds value to your business, you need to learn how to conduct it. This is where it gets a bit tricky. As the name suggests, crowdsourcing involves sourcing information from the crowd. So you may end up with hundreds of thousands of people sharing their insights and opinions.

When there’s too much information to sort through, it can be extremely challenging and time-consuming to turn it into actionable insights. This makes it crucial to learn how to ask for feedback from customers in a more organized fashion. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

1. Define your goals/expectations

Some customers may give suggestions on how to improve your product, while others may have complaints about your customer service. With all kinds of information for different purposes, it can get messy and confusing.

And unless you have a clear idea of exactly what you’re looking for, it’s a bit difficult to understand what to do with the information you have collected.

This is why you should start your social media crowdsourcing efforts by defining your goals or expectations. What do you want to gain out of this? Maybe you want to improve customer service or you want to look for opportunities to improve your product. Or perhaps you want to discover your customers’ interests so you can use them in your promotional campaigns.

Whatever the purpose of your crowdsourcing effort is, make sure it is clearly defined from the start. You may even run several efforts simultaneously with different end goals, just make sure the purpose and goals of each one is defined.

For instance, you could crowdsource for ideas on how to promote an upcoming product and set a deadline for it. At the same time, you could have an always-on effort to improve your social media customer service. These will have different cadences in terms of when you collect, analyze and develop takeaways and insights.

2. Choose the right tactics and channels

There are several ways to collect customer feedback on social media. You could:

  • Conduct polls on social media
  • Browse through comments
  • Monitor your DMs
  • Send out survey links
  • Have people mention you in their posts
  • Monitor un-tagged mentions

Make sure you use channels that your customers use frequently so you have a better chance of collecting sufficient information.

Denny’s, for instance, created a series of Instagram polls to find out which of its sauces are most popular among customers. This is a fun and visual way to engage your fans while finding more information about their preferences.

Instagram poll from Denny's Diner

3. Have a dedicated team to sort the information

Once you have the information coming in, you’re going to need people who will collect, monitor and sort it into actionable insights. This calls for a need to create a dedicated part of your social team to manage your crowdsourcing efforts.

Based on the goals you previously set, you can determine the best teams to monitor your social media comments and polls and keep things organized.

Depending on your goals, you may even have different teams to monitor different efforts. For instance, a dedicated team from customer support could monitor support-related feedback. Your marketing team can take over the surveys related to customer interests to gain insights promotional campaigns or to share with the larger organization.

4. Have a unified monitoring platform

The more sources of information you have coming in from social channels, the more overwhelming it can get extremely overwhelming to try and make sense of what you have. If you’re conducting social media crowdsourcing through a single channel, this may not be a problem. For instance, you may be running Instagram Stories polls just for a specific campaign.

However, that’s not the case when you’re using multiple social media platforms. You may even miss some important comments if you have to monitor them all manually.

This makes it crucial to have a unified monitoring platform so you and your team can easily sort through the collected information and manage your social media. You’ll have a much easier time collecting every comment or response and prioritizing on the most important details.

Engagement tools and social listening tools from Sprout mentioned earlier are perfect for this. They let you manage all your messages, reviews and mentions in one place and provide valuable analytics data to inform your efforts.

What to do next

Social media crowdsourcing is a valuable tool for businesses and content creators alike. You can use it to inform your content strategy, promotion strategy, product development efforts and more. Make the most of the tips we’ve provided here to take an organized approach to crowdsourcing.

Got any other useful tips for better crowdsourcing? Let us know in the comments.

This post How to use social media crowdsourcing effectively originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Caring for Your Customers: Executing & Analyzing a Social Customer Care Strategy With Sprout Social

What Is Social Customer Care?

Customer service. Customer support. Customer care.

These terms are thrown around a lot in the social media realm. They’re often used interchangeably so it can be confusing to gain an understanding of which engagement approach is right for your brand.

When it comes down to it, social customer care is about building relationships with your audience and engaging, whether your company is B2B or B2C.

Social customer care encompasses the entire relationship between a brand and its customers. From being an accessible resource to providing ongoing support and creating delightful customer experiences, you can build customer loyalty and increase sales with the right social strategy.

Sprout Social makes it easy to manage and analyze your social customer care strategy. The platform helps you engage with incoming messages, find and join conversations and track profile, network and individual performance around your customer care approach.

Three Types of Customer Care

Understanding the three core segments of social customer care is crucial. No matter the size of your business, you can easily add and maintain these care initiatives using Sprout to manage, execute and measure.

1) Preemptive

Preemptive communication anticipates incoming messages around a planned event or potential disruption of service to keep your customers in the loop. To do that, you’ll want to publish content that is clear, helpful and informative.


If you know you’re going to have a service outage for regularly scheduled maintenance, inform your community of scheduled downtime in advance. This will preempt any inconvenienced customers while saving your social team a lot of time in dealing with the potential response.

2) Proactive

Proactive communication sparks a conversation with your customers. To do that, you’ll want to publish content that resonates and elicits some sort of action or reaction from your audience.


Does your social team receive a lot of the same questions about your product? Then you should proactively share resources, such as best practices and tips, to keep your community informed while opening up your social team to tackle more pressing matters.

3) Reactive

Reactive communication engages with incoming messages. Respond with content that is helpful and direct to meet your audience’s needs.


Does your brand receive incoming messages from new or potential customers? Reactively engaging with your audience will cement those relationships, and help you find new opportunities in the market.

Executing Social Customer Care

Sprout makes it easy for brands to manage the entire customer care spectrum, from publishing to engaging to reporting.

The Publishing toolset encompasses creation and management of preemptive and proactive communications. The Compose window enables you to draft, queue, schedule and submit messages for approval, while the calendar provides a visual of outgoing content.

The Smart Inbox is the central hub of engagement and the place to manage reactive communications. With a unified stream of incoming messages across profiles and networks all in one place, users can engage with their audience, monitor keyword searches, task messages to other users and mark messages complete to clear out of the inbox.

Sprout’s suite of reports enables you to measure communication reports across the customer care spectrum. A range of network, profile and message-level data helps you understand customer care success and its impact on your social presence. Advanced keyword, productivity and trend analysis helps you identify valuable opportunities and areas for improvement.

Managing Preemptive Customer Care

Getting important messages in front of your audience at the right time is key for preemptive customer care. You can use Sprout’s Publishing toolset to create and manage preemptive communications.

Publishing tools:

  • Message Tags to categorize published messages
  • Scheduler to optimize publishing times
  • Message Approval to review drafted messages
  • Mobile app to communicate while on the go
  • Publishing Calendar to visually monitor scheduled messages

Analyzing Preemptive Customer Care

Understand when and how your team is communicating important messages to your audience. Use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze preemptive customer care communications.


  • Tag Report to analyze performance of grouped messages
  • Team Report to track your team’s posting behaviors
  • Sent Messages Report to understand reach and engagement

Managing Proactive Customer Care

Providing informative and engaging content to your audience will strengthen your relationships and position your brand as a thought leader. You can use Sprout’s Publishing toolset to create and manage proactive communications.

Publishing tools:

  • Message Tags to categorize published messages
  • Scheduler, Optimal Send Times, Queue & ViralPost to improve reach
  • Message Approval to collaborate and ensure quality content
  • Custom Link Tracking to trail published messages
  • Organic post targeting to reach relevant audiences
sprout compose window for posting new messages

Analyzing Proactive Customer Care

Track content performance and volume to ensure you are talking with your audience—not at them. You can use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze proactive customer care communications.


  • Sent Messages Report to understand reach and engagement of published content
  • Tag Report to analyze the performance of related messages
  • Twitter Keyword report to analyze keyword usage to target conversations
Sprout sent messages report example

Managing Reactive Customer Care

Participating in conversations will rearm your customer relationships and finding new conversations will grow new relationships. You can use Sprout’s Engagement toolset to manage reactive communications.

Engagement tools:

  • Message Tags to organize incoming messages
  • Tasks to assign incoming messages
  • Brand Keywords to monitor conversations
  • Saved Replies to create and store responses for common questions
  • Inbox Views to streamline all messages requiring attention
  • Message Spike Alerts to be notified of unusual volume increases
  • Automated Alerts to stay updated on important messages
  • Mobile app to engage while on the go
Sprout's smart inbox allows you to tag specific social users as sales leads

Analyzing Reactive Customer Care

Benchmark replies and responses to ensure timely engagement with your audience. You can use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze reactive customer care communications.


  • Engagement Report to analyze incoming messages and responses
  • Team Report to assess team reply rates
  • Task Performance Report to measure your team’s use of Tasks and completion
  • Tag Report to monitor trends of grouped messages
  • Trends Report to understand what people are saying about your brand
  • Twitter Profiles, Facebook Pages and Instagram Profiles to determine the impact of engagement on your social

Sprout Brings Customer Care Full Circle

Your customers are talking about you across social, reaching out directly and passively listening to what you are saying—so, it’s important that you listen, respond and communicate effectively in order to create exceptional customer experiences.

With Sprout’s social customer care toolset you can communicate with your audience, monitor and engage in conversations and analyze your reports, all from one platform. Whether you focus on preemptive, proactive, reactive—or all three—in your social care strategy, Sprout’s toolset will help you build, strengthen and effectively measure your customer relationships.

This post Caring for Your Customers: Executing & Analyzing a Social Customer Care Strategy With Sprout Social originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Microsoft Advertising talks intelligence, UI updates, audience solutions in SMX keynote

Customer journeys are getting more complex and less linear, which means it’s more imperative than ever for advertisers to understand the advanced technologies and innovations that drive meaningful brand engagement.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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How Sujan Patel Used a Growth Mindset to Increase Views by 8 Million

While every business owner likely realizes the integral role marketing plays in a business’s overall success, marketing for marketing’s sake isn’t going to get you anywhere — there has to be a clear strategy and focus behind it.

In my 17+ years of online marketing, I’ve seen far too many businesses lose focus on the bottom line when it comes to their content strategies.

Fortunately, a healthy blend of marketing, sales, and customer success helps you maintain a “growth mindset”, or a laser-sharp focus on your goals.

Essentially, a growth mindset is an experimental and data-driven approach to growing your business and leveraging all the marketing channels at your disposal.

By using a growth marketing mindset approach myself, I was able to help drive 8.2 million unique users to my clients’ sites last year alone.

Here, I’m going to show you how you can achieve real growth by focusing on what’s working for you — and ditching the rest.

Sign up for HubSpot Academy’s Content Marketing Certification course to learn how to grow your business in a human and helpful way.

The 3 Vital Elements of Growth Marketing

1. Focus on the most important and relevant metrics for your business.

The sheer number of metrics that you could measure can be completely overwhelming. But data is only as good as the conclusions you draw from it. That’s why it’s essential to focus on the most important and relevant metrics for your business so you can address your weaknesses and grow.

So how can you identify the metrics you should be tracking? It can be helpful to start at the end and work backwards. For instance, start with your business goals. What are the mechanisms by which you’ll generate revenue? This will incorporate a combination of product development goals and marketing goals.

Let’s say, for instance, that one of your major marketing goals is to generate revenue via your website. Next, you’ll want to identify your website goals — which KPIs are most useful for tracking progress toward these goals? Think about what weaknesses you need to overcome, and — once your strategy for doing so is in place — identify the metrics needed to track the progress of your tactics. Look at the marketing channels that perform best for you, and the most relevant metrics to measure them.

Ultimately, the channels you use will significantly affect the metrics you should be measuring.

For example, marketers using paid social posts need to look at followers, likes, click-throughs, and engagement rates. Alternatively, if you’re focused on email marketing, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates are king. Lastly, if you’re interested in focusing on SEO, measure traffic growth, changes in keyword rankings, and the number of new backlinks.

Once you’ve identified your most valuable metrics, rip off the bandage and ditch the rest. I’ve found that if you can’t count your metrics on one hand, that’s generally too many to effectively monitor.

A good example of this is my email finder tool, Voila Norbert. We found that our best customers (highest LTV) were on a $49 or $99 subscription. We have higher-priced plans and annual plans, but our customers with the $49 and $99 plans stick around the longest.

As a result of this realization, we made it our goal to increase the number of customers on those two plans. It wasn’t easy — it changed pretty much all of our tactics.

For instance, we no longer needed salespeople (because those two plans are self-service), we changed our strategy to focus on traffic sources targeted at those customers, and we killed our partner program.

All of this helped us stay focused on a handful of marketing and sales activities that were driving the growth of those two plans. An added bonus?

We reduced our marketing and sales spend by 35% and our time by 50%, allowing us to double down on our efforts and grow the company faster.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to marketing.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to both marketing and product. Ask yourself where the weaknesses are within your metrics. What tactics are clearly not working for you at the moment? On the flip side, what does your company have that others don’t?

Over 65% of content marketers report having a clear, documented content marketing process. It’s vital you create a strategy for leveraging your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses within that framework.

Alternatively, perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board to tweak your value proposition. Maybe you simply don’t have good product-market fit, and a rethink is needed.

Common weaknesses that hinder growth include:

  • A lack of traffic
  • A low conversion rate
  • Customer churn

From the very beginning at Mailshake, our strengths have been word-of-mouth and simplicity of product. That’s the thing people love about us — our competitors’ weakness is that their tools are very complex, but we’ve built something incredibly simple.

To leverage your strengths, a robust framework is key.

The Bullseye Framework is my preferred model, because it’s so target-driven. Within the framework, the outer ring contains what’s possible for your business (your moonshots), the middle ring focuses on what’s probable (potential big future performers), and the inner ring outlines what’s working (your three most prominent channels).

Image Source

If your main focuses (in the middle of the ring) don’t align with the channels that are working for you once you’ve analyzed the data, it’s time for a rethink. Focusing on proven top tactics is vital.

As billionaire PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel says — “Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution — not product — is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished. So it’s worth thinking really hard about finding the single best distribution channel.”

3. Get buy-in from teams throughout your business.

It’s easy to build a product that customers don’t want or don’t know how to use, because the people building the product are typically the furthest from the customer. This is why it’s essential to secure buy-in for your growth marketing strategy from teams throughout your organization.

The big win here is leveraging customer-facing teams. Of course you’ll need buy-in from your management team and other departments, too, but I’ve found the most valuable departments to work with on growth marketing are:

  • Sales
  • Development
  • Product
  • Support

The sales, business development, and support teams are already talking to customers, so it’s critical you listen to the customer feedback they’re getting. Meanwhile, the development and product teams can help you reduce a friction point, adjust the value proposition, or even build a new feature.

As Sophia Bernazzani writes in HubSpot’s 10 Ways Marketing and Customer Service Can Work Together — “The need for a symbiotic marketing and customer service relationship is only more important now, with consumers increasingly turning to social media as a way to communicate with businesses.”

Once buy-in is achieved, leveraging these teams can involve:

  • Getting marketing and/or the CEO talking to customers
  • Listening to sales calls
  • Concierge onboarding

Getting buy-in and leveraging the expertise of all our teams has been instrumental in making Mailshake a success. From the outset, we realized the product needed to be built around the customer. Our roadmap is driven by sales, customer success, and marketing teams, all of whom who are interfacing with our customers.

In practice, that means that sales, CS, and marketers are creating feature/bugs/feedback lists, and then the product and development teams set priorities and timelines. This puts the customer at the heart of the process, allowing
them to drive the product roadmap.

With concierge onboarding, we use our customer success team to onboard customers, allowing us to customize the experience and minimize the friction, hurdles, and workload a customer must go through to get value from the product.

This helps to identify improvements that could be made to the on-boarding and sign-up processes, and the product itself. For example, we consistently found ourselves educating customers on their approach to email outreach. To improve the customer journey, we created videos covering this topic — now, they’re the first thing our customers see.

Using this approach for over four years has helped us grow 3X year-over-year for the last three years, simply through word-of-mouth — our biggest channel, responsible for bringing in over 40% of our new customers.

Another way to generate word-of-mouth is to use referral and incentive programs. Rewarding people when they share your content, refer new leads, and interact with your brand allows you to speed up the rate at which your brand awareness spreads.

Ultimately, growth marketing focuses on what works, and discards the rest, allowing you to ramp up your efforts on proven performers and stop wasting time.

Additionally, it reduces the feedback loop, allowing real-time customer demand to shape products and the user journey.

And, most importantly, putting growth at the forefront of your marketing strategy gets your business where it wants to be, faster.

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