This is the seventh in a series of articles on growth hacking, which I'm going deep into with a minidegree in Growth Marketing from the CXL Institute. Read more: What is growth hacking? | How to run a successful growth marketing experiment in six steps | How to identify the best channels for your next growth marketing campaign | What the FUD? | How to test the health of your Google Analytics | This is the successful formula for A/B testing mastery
For marketers looking to be more efficient with their budget, it's not just about segmenting your audience and writing great ads.
It's also about optimizing the entire user experience so that you aren't losing customers due to poorly-placed buttons, confusion information architecture and bloated copy. You also have to make sure that your analytics or set up correctly so that you aren't being led astray by polluted data.
It turns out great markers have a lot in common with great detectives. They question, they probe, they gather, they analyze -- and ultimately they sequence the clues, make a hypothesis and then reassess. The detective mindset works wonders for marketing success!
Each discovery leads to many questions and paths to investigate. All of which might lead to an insight -- or not -- that boosts conversions.
We have to investigate each lead as if we were looking for a murderer.
As a performance marketer looking to optimize budget, you need to do three things: attract more prospects into the top of the funnel, convert more prospects to customers down funnel and reduce churn to maximize a customer's lifetime value to your business.
To achieve those goals, you need a detective mindset that has four key components:
Don't make assumptions. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! You must look at each piece of evidence with a fresh pair of eyes. And those eyes should be the eyes of your customers -- marketing masterminds are curious and customer-centric. Anytime someone internally thinks they know the answer to a question that should only be asked of a user, be sure to question their underlying assumptions. We should assume that we know nothing and that the only facts come from those closer to the research. So trust your sales reps and customer service agents more than your desk jockeys and C-suite. As you question everything, look for answers from users first.
The obvious answer may often be the correct one. But there are also many pieces of disparate information that you can connect together to gain perspective. For instance, you could take what you learned from talking to customer service above, identify a problem that you have never addressed in your marketing, and look back at past campaigns to see if any could be quickly repurposed. This reduces the time it takes to translate new insights into active campaigns.
By repurposing existing assets, reduce turnaround time and increase impact -- without investing more in creation. In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs said "You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…" As a sleuthing marketer, this means that you amplify and accelerate your Time to Value by looking at past data/campaigns through the lens of any fresh insights. More on "connect the dots" marketing.
A detective pursues suspects; marketers pursue winners. In fact, "in pursuit of winners" should be your mantra plastered across your desk! I know this sounds obvious, but it sometimes overlooked. You're not just looking for "ok" performance; you want a clear winner that tells you more about your audience and is the springboard to amplifying the rest of your marketing efforts.
A note here: just like a detective peers into shadowy corners for clues, you must also look in unconventional places for your winners. These may be ideas from another industry or from connecting the dots earlier. Most likely, winners are waiting to be discovered in your customer communications. Sift through chat logs, listen to customer calls, interview salespeople, and hang out with customers. The more you can see the world through their eyes, the more likely you'll be able to identify a winning channel, winning creative, winning copy or something else that makes your marketing better. And yes, this does circle back to #1: question everything through a user-centric lens and you'll be primed to identify winners faster and more effectively than your competition.
Once a detective has homed in on a suspect, she must make the case for the arrest. That case requires certainty -- Because, eventually, the detective will have to take the stand to present the case. Marketers must also be prepared to take the stand. You must equip yourself with the knowledge and interpersonal skills to share your results, and embed more precise knowledge within your organization. The better you are showing your work, touting your performance and gaining internal allies, the more resources you'll get. It's a virtuous circle that keeps on delivering dividends!
And there you have it: four facets of a detective's mindset that will make you a masterful marketer. Stay sleuthy!