How Can New Businesses Accelerate Their Growth?
I’m the founder of a boutique media agency that supports early stage disruptor businesses with growth strategies. In recent conversations with my D2C clients I’ve learnt lots about what has been successful in driving their growth and I’d like to share that knowledge with the marketing community.
How can new, high growth businesses ensure that all their marketing and media activity hits the bottom line?
For a founder with a focus on short to medium term growth, the marketing possibilities are endless, but time is limited, and product promotion is one small facet of everything that needs to be managed.
The entry point for many businesses is paid search and social. Large tech companies such as Facebook and Google have democratised advertising for Micro SMEs. There are no barriers to entry, start-up costs are minimal, and sales can be measured in real time.
However, if a new business wants to achieve the level of scale that warrants the interest of external investors, they need to disrupt existing industries and established players.
So how can a new business achieve significant sales growth in an established category or, in the case of disruptor brands, create a strong consumer appetite for an entirely new category of products?
Whilst organic reach can deliver a foundation of sales activity, true scale cannot be achieved solely through digital direct response activity that targets people who already know about the brand and understand the product.
For accelerated growth, there are certain marketing fundamentals that need to be considered:
Marketplaces such as Amazon demand a huge amount of consumer attention and subsequent web traffic. In April 2019, Amazon had 2.65 Billion visits. If a direct to consumer (D2C) business doesn’t have a systematic approach to working with marketplaces, there needs to be a qualified business reason for this.
2. Filling the funnel
Whilst there may be an initial need for a product, as a business starts to scale, digital cost per acquisition (CPA) activity will not continue to deliver efficient results without an investment in brand activity.
This is especially true of disruptor brands with new products, of which consumers have limited understanding of how they may benefit their current lifestyle.
New brands should consider investing in channels that provide larger creative canvasses such as video and out of home (OOH) to give the brand the space and time to communicate this message.
3. Approach to testing
Often unexpected channels can accelerate sales, but it is important that the investment in testing a new channel is enough to cut through and provide useful results. Investing at low weights under the banner of testing can cost more than it delivers in terms of time and insufficient impact.
By ensuring that media is weighted correctly to build frequency amongst the target audience and glean enough data to optimise properly, a brand will create the foundations on which to build a successful iterative advertising strategy.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If SEO is implemented correctly it can increase both the effectiveness of your pay per click (PPC) budget and the volume of organic traffic to your website by more than 20% each year.
When planning SEO activity, there are three things for a brand to consider:
1. Accessibility (technical structure)
2. Relevancy (website content)
3. Authority (backlinks).
Authority is both the most important factor and the most difficult to get right. Whilst planning PR and Influencer activity, a brand must also understand the keywords that drive maximum traffic and the distribution of the content created.
Whilst traditional social networks like Instagram are great for reach, they have no impact on SEO so any content delivered in these areas needs to repatriated across more permanent locations, such as blogs, where possible.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be in industry. A business can market its product to the entire world, from a device in the palm of a hand.
However, entrepreneurs need to manage their runway carefully to ensure that all marketing investment delivers maximum acceleration for their brand.
Deciding when to bring in specialist knowledge is important. The correct partners will ensure that marketing activity is an investment, not a cost centre.
We recommend checking in with experts as early as possible to ensure that everything you are doing both accelerates sales and builds the brand’s long-term ambitions.