What is Your Marketing Approach for Growth?
"How Fast Should You Grow?", an article in the current issue of Entrepreneur Magazine talks about SpotHero, a parking company that has raised $118 million. Initially, investors wanted the company to enter new markets to grow quickly. SpotHero turned away those investors and chose instead to strategically grow the company at a slower pace. They focused on their initial market in Chicago, testing and learning their operations as the grew and forming strong relationships with parking garage companies. Those relationships with national garage companies led to SpotHero's expansion into other cities (currently 300), outpacing their competitors who started by growing across markets.
SpotHero's approach to growth relates to how companies can approach their marketing strategies. It's important to talk about these strategies and gain agreement from company leadership at the start because, like SpotHero's choice in business growth, these marketing strategies have implications for the organization beyond the marketing department.
One approach to marketing is a fast-growth strategy. This is usually achieved by a strong focus on PR and/or advertising, and a big marketing budget. An integrated campaign is created to flood the market and quickly bring in leads and customers. There is a strong focus on analytics and rapid testing and learning which marketing channels, messages, and landing pages are converting people into customers. If you're doing well, this means other parts of the organization will feel the impact of this quick growth - your sales team will have more meetings and your customer service teams might be fielding more questions in a short period of time. Keeping up this level of growth will depend on the size of your marketing budget and resources.
Another approach to marketing is a continuous growth strategy. This approach relies on a more consistent integrated campaign that is in-market at a similar pace through the year. It allows for more time to plan your marketing channels and messaging in advance, and to work closely with your sales and customer service teams in receiving feedback to iterate and improve your marketing campaigns over time. Since you are in-market at a steady pace throughout the year, you have more opportunities to reach potential customers in their time of need vs. going in and out in short bursts and only attracting the segment of people who have a need at that moment.
Both marketing strategies will bring growth to your business. Which direction you choose depends on your organization's preparedness for growth and how you want to spend your marketing budget.