If you’ve scrolled through our blog, or even just our website, you’ll catch on pretty quickly that we’re big fans of discussing growth marketing. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing dozens of marketing leaders and business executives across all industries, chatting about growth marketing strategies and tactics that can be implemented to attract high-quality leads and generate revenue.
However, we haven’t covered in-depth what the stages of growth marketing actually look like.
Analyzing the Stages of Growth Marketing and their Role in Driving Revenue
To bring you this content, we brought in Kurt Daniel, CEO of Ubersmith, to break down these stages, the activities that should be taking place along the way, and the goals of each phase.
Tune in to learn:
- The ins and outs of the stages of growth marketing
- Marketing’s ongoing role in profitability and revenue
- The key metrics and responsibilities growth marketers should focus on
Watch the interview now to find out how you can make the most impact on your growth marketing strategy, regardless of which stage your company is currently in.
CAROLINE: Hi. Welcome to Growth Marketing Chat. Today I am here with Kurt Daniel. Kurt is the CEO of Ubersmith. It has a very rich background, especially in marketing. I'm really, really excited to have you here today with us.
KURT: Thanks so much. Looking forward to it.
CAROLINE: Me too. So before we start, I'd love for you to give us just an overview of your carrier on your background.
KURT: Sure. So I was going way back. It was an economics major. First job was as a management consultant. So I was interested in a lot of different things. But then pretty early on in my career, I got focused on technology and specifically software. So I've been 21 years in software, big and small companies. So first at Microsoft, which was a great experience and then three startups all which did well.
So Parallels, where I changed the name from SW Soft to Parallels, which is a good switch. We went from 3 million to 100 million of revenue with over a million customers in 100 countries and then Work Light, which is playing up, bought by IBM, which is great and then MongoDB, which is a pure rocket ship and pretty well known now worth over $30 billion. And then Ubersmith for the last seven years above built in led marketing teams from one to 40 people in seven countries. But I've also led business development and sales strategy and community and been in the kind of CEO or kind of pure general management role like I said since I joined. Well, since I joined Ubersmith and but still trying to stay as close to marketing as I can.
CAROLINE: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining today. I'm really, really excited to have this conversation with you. And so given your background and the different sizes of companies you've been at, I'm really interested to have your perspective on what companies need from marketing at different stages of their growth.
KURT: Sure. It's a great question, something I've lived through, and I imagine you've lived through with your clients and before the earliest stage. I think of it as a product and company positioning because you're really just building the initial product, which then you're hoping to get some adoption for and hopefully some kind of money or revenue for even if not right away, you need to build just a first website, a landing place for people to find your company and help you find kind of product market fit through them.
If you don't immediately have it, there's initial lead generation for your website and otherwise maybe it's some events and other strategies and tactics. And then you're really choosing your first marketing tools. Also, whether it's WordPress for your website or HubSpot or other tools you want to use to we manage the manage and enhance the websites and your initial lead Gen efforts and customer communication efforts importantly, through email and otherwise that's I think the earliest stage and every company is a little different. And every time is a little different. But later, you're building a team. You're getting more sophisticated about all the things I just mentioned.
You're adding things, kind of additional areas, additional specialties. You might be getting better at PR and starting analyst relations, for example, so on and so forth. And then even past that, you're really kind of scaling after you've done the initial kind of building of the team, you're adding additional levels. So now your team is kind of like three levels and then four, five, six to X, and you're just getting more sophisticated, more specialized. The people you're bringing on are more specialized, which is great because you can bring on new talent, additional talent in depth, and everyone can learn and approve as well. Who's staying on the team as a company gets bigger and bigger and then just continue scaling and new ideas, and it's never static. There's always something to kind of learn or improve or try for your company.
CAROLINE: Yeah. Well, thank you for this. I can definitely relate and see this across our clients. Also, when you talked about what you first need from marketing, you described one of my first jobs, which was kind of really fun to hear, because that's literally everything that I did at the time. So when you have these different things that are happening at different stages, you know something I hear lot from marketers, they say, well, it's it's important to build your brand, which I totally agree.
Your brand is your messaging. If you don't have this and you can do anything else you want, it's probably not going to work. But that said, you know, in my perspective, it still should align to revenue and profitability. And so my question to you is that do you think there is a time that is not true that the rule of marketing is not to generate revenue and profitability.
KURT: That's a really interesting question. And before I go there, you mentioned the idea about the brand, and I view that as a company-wide effort where kind of marketing kind of leads it and putting it all together. But looking to the revenue and profitability question, yes. Absolutely. Revenue is a good metric to be focused on.
Really, for most or all of the company at the highest level, but marketing doesn't typically own the revenue. Profitability is not usually important in the early days of a startup at most startups and sometimes even much later, so companies can go public and be worth billions of dollars and still not be profitable. And that's a good thing because they're efficiently and profitably bringing on new customers, but they're investing kind of in the future to grow faster and everyone's aware of that and that's okay.
Eventually, companies should get profitable.Even Amazon eventually gets profitable. But it's always important to be cost efficient at any stage here in marketing marketing, typically, especially over time. We'll have quite a significant budget at the company in terms of program spend, and that should be handled very responsibly.
Beyond revenue and profitability. I think there's many ways to kind of go marketing and look at what marketing does, but then the leads come in and then making sure they're qualified leads. There's the kind of the marketing source kind of pipeline in marketing source revenue, then they're just key marketing initiatives, which can be hard to tie to revenue profitably, like most other functions as well. It can be rather indirect, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't measure it or shouldn't try to improve it or be efficient or highly effective at it.
I don't love having just one marketing metric, for example and similar to other functions managing as well, for example, sales and other groups. I don't like just looking at one gold metric or especially if it's indirect for marketing having revenue possibility. So I'd like to just at least a few whenever possible. And in the early days might be just based on marketing initiatives and not yet numbers, because it might just be a little bit too early, especially if you haven't launched yet, launched your product yet. And then marketing helps get new customers, obviously through the awareness lead generation, et cetera. But also serves custom to the existing customers with a nice and helpful website with email communications, even if they're already customers.
And it doesn't lead to kind of leads and opportunities with events and community efforts and educational efforts and beyond. So the marketing is definitely more than lead generation. There's a funny story at a prior company I was at where the CEO said marketing is just lead generation. And then I walked the person through how you can help with product marketing launch with existing customers. Corporate marketing, other things that don't necessarily lead to pipeline generation, leads.
And then some marketing team on pricing, packaging and other areas where it really doesn't make sense to kind of goal those efforts around leads. But at the highest level, leads is probably the best metric for marketing.
CAROLINE: I mean, pricing is part of the four P's, right? It is somewhat part of marketing, and it can make a huge impact on revenue. So when marketing owns that they can impact revenue, not in terms of leads, but in terms of, like, just sales and revenue number. Right. If you price a product differently, whether it's higher or lower. Right. Because if you price it lower, you can get better volume. It impacts revenue or, you know, hire you just you get more revenue and sell you the same number of people. So you know, at the end of the day, it's still like. The goal is to increase revenue. Right. But not necessarily the number of leads. And you don't look at leads you look at revenue, right. And sometimes having less leads, but better leads.
And actually we have a client that we just went through this. We totally changed the pricing with them and the revenue. Like, I think it tripled. And they got more, less leads. But these people were the right people, right. And they were willing to pay the price and the value for the product.
KURT: That's a great example. And I hope they were very grateful. It's interesting because pricing is something that lives in so many different functions, so it can be done in marketing extremely well. I've seen finance teams on it. I've seen product teams own it. That can work pretty well if they're thinking holistic about the product and the value proposition and the overall willingness to pay and that kind of thing.
If you have the right person, I think it's the best person at the company to do it regardless of the function. So if that person happens to be a marketer great, if the person ideally skilled at doing it is in product or finance or even sales, sometimes that could be great as well. So I think people should be flexible and not rigid about where it kind of sits. And, you know, in the perfect world, right. Pricing is a team effort as well.
Like you get the import from all the team, even though at the end of the day, you have one function that's responsible for it. But all it shouldn't be dictated to all of the functions because all of the functions will have a different perspective on it. I saw something similar, maybe a little off topic, but when I was at Microsoft, a lot of times, technical marketing or product management would own the road map or whatever. But a lot of times they were just taking what was done in the engineering teams because the engineering teams were much better staff, and they were closer to especially if you had a larger product that Microsoft.
There's really many products in one. And so some people thought they own the product. They're very rigid about it. But you need to just kind of add value at the company regardless of what you're doing. And so if someone else already had a great roadmap, there's no need to really change that. But just maybe your job is just to help communicate it externally or internally and kind of formalizing that kind of thing. So it's good to have people working on things that they're able to contribute to, as opposed to just try to own them for ownership sake itself.
CAROLINE: Alright. Well, thank you so much. I think it was a really great chat. So I appreciate your time and your thoughts here.
KURT: Thanks. I enjoyed it. Good luck.
CAROLINE: Thank you.