Your B2B brand is on the rise, and you want to maintain that trajectory. But working with marketing agencies that aren’t exclusively dedicated to growth will mean a (literal) uphill battle to keep your numbers trending in the right direction. Lucky for you, we’re entering a new era of growth marketing, and if you’ve been thinking that it’s just an industry buzzword, it’s time for you to think again.
What Is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is a strategy-based methodology that encompasses all marketing channels to grow brands and deliver ROI via increased traffic, conversions, and revenue. Unlike growth hacking, which is a one-and-done approach to achieving rapid growth, growth marketing is a comprehensive, long-term approach that provides measurable and sustainable results. While growth marketing may leverage a number of growth hacks, that is only one tactic among many that growth marketers employ while executing a strategy to grow your B2B brand.
Growth marketing is different from traditional marketing in that it makes use of an extended funnel (often referred to as the “Pirate Funnel”) to achieve long-term growth with the addition of activation, retention, referral, and revenue. Growth marketers, similar to growth hackers, experiment with different tactics until they find what works for customer activation. Those methods are then repeated to deliver on customer retention, referral, and revenue.
If growth marketing sounds like a path to success for your B2B brand, it’s probably time to start thinking about hiring a growth marketing agency. It’s a big step, but with the right knowledge and planning, you can find an organization that will drive your brand’s forward momentum and push it to new heights.
But first, you have to know what you’re looking for.
What Is Growth Marketing?
Let’s talk first about what a growth marketing agency is NOT.
- We are NOT growth hackers. Hacks may be tactics integrated into a long-term growth strategy, but this is not a one-off quick fix for growth.
- We are NOT traditional marketers. We are not driven exclusively by customer acquisition or lead generation. Rather, we take a big-picture approach to meeting buyers’ needs at every stage of the AAARRR funnel.
- We are NOT digital marketers. Though these days, most of what we do exists in the digital space, we do not limit our thinking to websites or digital ads only.
- We are NOT a flash in the pan. Growth marketing is not a trend. It is a carefully considered methodology that is measurable and sustainable and is proven to drive results.
As for what we ARE, that’s a much simpler and direct list.
- We are forward thinkers.
- We are rooted in data and metrics.
- We are omnichannel.
- We are on the leading edge of new technologies.
- We are hyper-focused on achieving long-term growth.
- We are holistic in our approach.
- We are results-driven.
What Does a Growth Marketing Agency Do?
We like to think we do it all, but in reality, most agencies are not a one-stop-shop. However, any growth marketing agency worth its salt should be able to cover most of your brand’s needs, delivering strategies that integrate across channels to form a big-picture, holistic marketing plan based on clearly outlined deliverables and reliable analytics. From discovery to delivery to results, your growth marketing agency should offer a solution that works across all your business verticals and shapes your brand into an industry leader.
Growth marketing agencies should be able to handle:
- SEO: both technical and content-driven SEO, without the use of black hat tactics.
- Content: from strategy to creation and distribution, your content should be aligned with your brand and designed to achieve growth.
- Branding: no one knows your brand better than you, but your growth marketing agency should come close.
- Lead Generation: finding new potential buyers and moving them through the funnel is part of any effective growth marketing strategy.
- Social Media: your brand needs to go where the buyers are, and most of them are on social.
- Marketing Automation: from email campaigns to prospecting and customer relations, growth marketers rely on marketing automation to take care of the tedious repetition, so they can focus on moving the needle.
What Are the Benefits of Partnering with a Growth Marketing Agency?
More traffic and more revenue aren’t enough? Well, they are, but the key differentiator is how a growth marketing agency delivers these results. Yes, the biggest and most notable benefit in using a growth marketing agency should always be, well…growth. But there are many other ways partnering with a growth marketing agency will elevate your B2B brand.
Focus on Your Core Expertise While a Growth Agency Helps You Find Leads
Let’s say you’re a SaaS brand in the tech industry. Your time should be spent on new products, existing product updates, features, upgrades, and new service lines. You won’t have time to focus on that if you’re interrupting your day to post tweets or cobble together a blog article. And let’s face it — when your attention is pulled in a hundred different directions, are you able to give any one thing your best?
When you have a growth marketing agency, you’ll save time you can devote to tasks that leverage your expertise, while your growth marketing experts take care of the rest. By outsourcing SEO alone, you could save up to 29 hours a week, while your agency puts strategies in place to bring leads and traffic to your website.
Outsourcing content, social media, and PR also delivers similar time savings; overall, it’s the equivalent of several full-time staffers.
Get Access to Growth Marketing Experts in Your Niche
You wouldn’t ask a B2C retail marketer to grow your B2B fintech brand, would you? They simply don’t have the experience or expertise to understand your industry or your brand’s needs. That’s why, at First Page, we look for clients in the industries we know best: SaaS, fintech, startups, and tech. Every expert on our team has years of experience working with leading brands in these fields, and that’s what your brand should be looking for, too.
When your growth marketing agency understands your industry, your competitors, and the challenges you face, they’ll be better prepared to design right-fit solutions that deliver the results you want to see.
Save More on In-house Hires
Expertise doesn’t come cheap, but you can reduce costs and give your bottom line a lift when you outsource to a growth marketing agency. Salaries for in-house marketing experts are on the rise (and experienced growth marketers are needles in very large haystacks), so the time and money you save on recruiting, onboarding, training, salaries, and benefits adds up quickly.
By outsourcing to a growth marketing agency, you could save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Not to mention, instead of a few full-time staffers, you’ll have an entire team of multi-channel experts at your disposal.
Scale-up Quickly Without Overshooting Your Budget
With growth comes scale. When you begin to see your B2B brand achieving measurable and sustainable results, you need to be ready to scale up. One of the quickest ways to scale is to leverage marketing automation. It simplifies your process and frees up your time…but it’s pricey.
A growth marketing agency already has the tools and services needed to launch full-scale marketing automation, eliminating the cost of licensing, subscriptions, and people-power needed to get your automation off the ground.
Not only will you save money, you’ll also save time. Using an agency means you have a team dedicated to keeping your automation running smoothly. They’ll watch the metrics and make proactive adjustments, so you can focus on scaling at speed.
How Do I choose the Right Growth Marketing Agency for my b2B Company?
This is a pretty heavy question, and we’ll admit — we’re a little bit biased. But when you’re searching for a growth marketing agency, there are a few key elements you need to keep an eye out for.
Determine What Specific Services You Need
You’ll want to make sure the agencies you evaluate are experts in the areas you need the most help with. While most growth marketing agencies take a holistic approach to building your brand, not all are created equal. If you have a pretty good handle on content but are in desperate need of SEO guidance, you’ll want to be sure the candidates you’re looking at have SEO experts on staff.
Just don’t be too narrow in your search; good growth agencies will be able to identify gaps in what you’re already doing, and help you fill them. They will also look for ways to integrate strategies across channels, so you shouldn’t be surprised when an SEO strategy also includes recommendations that relate to content or social. Remember — growth marketing is about results, and they will know how to deliver them, regardless of service line.
Look for a Growth Agency That Specializes in Your Niche
As we mentioned above, you wouldn’t ask a retail marketer to grow your fintech brand. If you’re in the SaaS industry, you want to find a growth marketing agency that has experience and expertise with other SaaS brands. They will understand the competitive landscape and know how to find solutions to the challenges that are unique to your industry and your products.
Ask for Case Studies
If a potential agency gets skittish when you ask for case studies, we have just one word: RUN. A reputable growth marketing agency will have in-depth case studies that showcase client success. Here’s what you want to look for in agency case studies:
- Results: Real, measurable numbers that show exactly how much they grew the brand’s traffic and revenue.
- Channels: Where and how tactics were executed. Did they focus only on social media or only on SEO, or did they deliver a comprehensive, cross-channel strategy?
- Metrics: How did they measure the results they achieved? What did they consider a “conversion”? What type of traffic, keywords, or rates were they using to measure success?
- Process: Are they clear in defining the process they used to achieve the outlined results, or are they vague and nonspecific?
- Client Testimonials: What do clients have to say about them after a campaign? Would they recommend them? Did they meet expectations or exceed them?
Look for Social Proof
People don’t always believe marketers. But they do believe other people. (Hey, marketers are people too, but we get it.) Social proof is a key part of evaluating a growth marketing agency, because it relies on what people have said about them. Any good agency should be able to deliver on social proof, whether it’s client testimonials, reviews and ratings, trust signals, or certifications. Anything that increases an agency’s perception as trusted, respected, and credible is social proof, including any partnerships with known organizations.
At First Page, we’re a HubSpot Certified Partner Agency, and it’s something we promote as social proof. HubSpot is an industry leader in inbound marketing and a trusted name in marketing automation, CRM, and more. Leveraging our relationship with HubSpot gives you peace of mind that we have learned from the best.
Ask for Real SMART Goals
Promises are easy to make, but not so easy to keep. Be wary of growth marketing agencies that make sweeping claims about the kind of growth they’ll deliver your brand. Because if they sound too good to be true, they likely are. Instead, look for agencies that supply SMART goals.
Be sure that any results an agency is promising are based around a SMART objective. These goals should be realistic and attainable and should have a specific timeline attached, so you know what you expect, when.
Ensure They Create Customized Growth Strategies for Each Client
Growth marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. If they promise the same amount of growth (e.g., Triple the traffic! Double the revenue!) for each client, and aren’t being transparent about how they plan to deliver, that should be a warning sign. A quality growth marketing agency will build a strategy tailored to your brand, based on the industry, your business objectives, and your current performance.
Look for the Ability to Scale On-demand
As your business grows, you want your agency to grow with it. After all, growth is the name of the game. Be sure the agency you select has the tools and processes in place to scale with your business. In growth marketing, the worst that can happen isn’t losing sales — it’s hitting a plateau. Your agency should be as invested in business continuity as you are, and they should be able to scale up as needed to meet your growing needs.
Check That They Harness Evolving Marketing Technology for Business Growth
Growth marketing is often used synonymously with growth hacking, but the two are not the same. Growth marketing is strategic, while growth hacking is tactical. However, an effective growth marketing agency will employ growth hacking techniques, like experimentation, repetition, and referral-seeking, to build your brand. To do that, they’ll need to be well-versed in all of the marketing technology available to them. Not only should they have access to the technology, but they should understand how to use it. At the same time, be wary of agencies that get distracted by every shiny app that comes along. It steals their focus from implementing the tools that do work.
Make Sure the Price Is Right
Most agencies are learning that being transparent about their pricing is a best practice when it comes to securing new clients. While many offer tiered packages that vary in scope and deliverables, a good growth marketing agency will design a plan — and a pricing structure — that fits your brand and your needs.
Keep in mind that agencies that promise results for “just” a certain price point won’t be able to scale with your business and probably don’t have data to back up those promises. Enterprise businesses can always expect to be on the high end of pricing models, but ultimately, the right price is the one your business can afford. Remember to evaluate not just cost, but value as well. A growth marketing agency will save you time and reduce the money spent on hiring an in-house team and paying for tools, programs, and software, which all add value and reduce the overall investment you’re making.
Find a Strong Company Culture That Aligns with Your Brand Values
Culture drives results. Happy employees work together like a well-oiled machine. Unhappy employees throw a wrench in the whole thing. A growth marketing agency should have a workplace culture that fits with your own and upholds your brand values.
Strong company culture:
- Reduces turnover
- Lowers conflict and increases resolution
- Empowers and motivates workers
- Lessens stress and reduces the risk of burnout
- Creates transparency and effective communication
Most of all, finding a growth marketing agency whose culture aligns with yours leads to higher productivity, strong relationships, and ultimately, more growth for your brand.
Conclusion: Choosing the right agency depends on your goals, challenges, and needs
Growth marketing agencies can’t be all things to all brands, but when you find the right one, it could be everything to your brand. At First Page, we’re pretty picky about the clients we work with, because we want to ensure a good fit. And we think you should be picky, too. If you think we could be your growth marketing agency, we’d love to explore the possibility. We don’t make promises we can’t keep, but we do back up our claims of growth with data, social proof, case studies, and a rock-solid culture built around a team of remote experts who get stuff done. Sound good? Get in touch, and let’s see how much we can grow together.