Growth Marketing Experts weigh-in, as we explore the drivers for change and what you can do to stay ahead.

Featuring Dan Siepen: Co-founder of Coder Academy and Juan González: Growth Marketing Lead and Growth Marketing Mentor at Academy Xi. *Update* We’ve added answers by James Norquay from Prosperity Media.

For the first time ever, total ad spend on TV and Digital are equal. And not for long – this brief crossing of paths makes way for massive growth in Digital Marketing, projected to be worth 105 billion by 2020, according to Magna Global.

It’s no wonder traditional marketing doesn’t cut it. Sure, the underlying drivers of marketing – creativity, originality and a strong understanding of what makes people tick, are all still very relevant today – but with massive shifts in consumption habits and customer expectations, comes the need for radically different marketing strategies. Gone are the days of abiding citizens responding to big media, big budgets and universal messages; marketers are no longer speaking to a crowd, but a sea of individuals.

Cause for Change

Ubiquitous Technology means consumers are always plugged in

Technology is slowly creeping into every aspect of our daily movements and interactions. The Internet of Things, wearable tech and the rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality all point towards a society that is always connected. Consumers are saturated by media. As a result, we’re growing more aware of being marketed to. Year after year, Adblocking has increased by 41%, and 28% of consumers say they hide their internet activity from marketers (second only to criminals).

What does this mean for marketers? Dan Siepen, co-founder of Coder Factory explains that Consumers are becoming smarter, demanding more value and higher quality experiences than ever before. Immediately accessible, personalised and straight-to-the-point content is essential in this information-overloaded, digital economy.” Consumers don’t want to be sold to or talked at, they want to engage with brands that resound with them.


Traditional schools of thought aren’t keeping up

Core marketing principles are still around from the 60s – like the 4 Ps (Product, Place, Price, Promotion). Marketing schools breeze over areas like SEO and mobile optimisation; though curriculums are adapting, it’s not fast enough. Considering that the average person interacts with their smartphone 125+ times a day, and Google rakes in more than 100 billion searches a month, these are pretty big oversights. Teaching someone how to tweet is not the same as teaching someone how to be heard.


The Mistakes Marketers are Making

Our Growth Marketing experts outline the main misconceptions they see marketers holding onto. 

Marketers aren’t getting deeply involved in product. Before, marketers would put the product/brand in front of people in the hopes that they’d buy. Now, marketers work with sales and product to develop solutions that appear to sell themselves.


In conjunction with Juan’s thoughts, many marketers and members of senior management very rarely understand the concept of building growth into the product, as well as building a growth model. Whilst top of the funnel activity is great, it means nothing without instant gratification and an overall satisfying 1st experience.


Many marketers have the misconception that SEO is simply a channel. They don’t understand how quality SEO works, they are not in-tune with how high-quality suppliers work nor do they understand the campaign timelines of these high-quality suppliers. It is astounding how many in-house employees don’t ask to see monthly reports detailing completed work from agencies. Very few marketers seem to care about the transparency of the agency they work with, putting up with the bare minimum.



A Traditional Marketing Funnel vs. a Growth Marketing funnel; Growth Marketers take into account the entire customer journey.

The 3 key trends:


  1.  The consumption paradox; consumers are plugged in, but hard to reach


How will future-ready marketers reach their customers? A seemingly easy task.  What, with so many digital opportunities to get in front of your audience, broadening and diversifying of available modes, and, on average, people spending more hours on the internet. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.


The competition is tough

The sheer volume of daily interactions a consumer has paired with our decreasing attention span (down from 12 to 8 seconds), means that you really need to push your way to the front.  Competition is fierce, Juan points out that “consumers have a lot of information available to them, and usually they’ll have a variety of great possible solutions to any given problem”. It’s incredibly important that marketers properly target to their audience.


You’d better keep up

Media consumption is changing and will continue to change. This means that settling on one strategy will result in stagnation. James from Prosperity Media recalls “when banner ads were first rolled out they saw a 75% click-through rate, it’s crazy how much this has changed over time.” You need to learn how to learn and learn how to look for opportunities to change and adapt. Testing is key here; Dan urges that “changes in consumers’ expectations are becoming more rapid and online marketers can’t afford to not have up-to-date, real-time analysis of consumer behaviour”.  Additional to this, James reminds marketers to “focus on large-scale testing to figure out the channels where you can grab the most attention, and that will provide you the best ROI”. Leading marketers assert that the industry has changed more in the last 2 years than in the last 50, according to this Adobe survey.


  1. You’ve got their attention – what now?

Engagement is the next big step, and something that will become increasingly hard to get right as consumer expectations reach new heights. 70% of B2B Marketers want more quality leads – it’s not about just getting in front of as many people as possible, but rather getting in front of the right people, and broadcasting a message that is personal to each individual (and the context of their interactions with you).


Purpose-driven brands

9 out of every 10 millennials would switch brands if associated with a cause.  Other generations reflect similar sentiments. 41 academic studies show a correlation between social enterprise and financial performance, it’s no wonder there’s been a big push for companies to become purpose-driven. Consumers are smart enough to see through companies that are feigning evangelism – authenticity is paramount to developing purpose within a brand. Why is emotional engagement so important? Dan points out that “consumers now have the power to switch off and disengage in a matter of seconds – that’s the real challenge marketers now face.”


Make it personal

Marketers need to anticipate consumers’ needs – understanding what they want before they do. Analytics, social intelligence and other technologies are playing a paramount role in keeping content tailored and valuable” explains Dan; every aspect of customer experience should be moulded to fit that individual, experiences should be tailored and personal. We’re moving from one-size-fits-all to tailored, bespoke and personalised customer experiences. Juan explains that “the expectation is not simply to address their need, but to do it better than anyone else could. Do it in a way that works for them and to do it in a way that will make them proud to have done business with you.”


  1.  Building customer relationships


Long-term customer relationships

Marketing isn’t about getting consumers to buy buy buy – but nurturing leads, and building trust and genuine rapport with your customers. Customer Relationship Marketing is really important here – where marketers build strategy with the aim to develop their brand’s value, their customer loyalty and nurture relationships.


Improving the product

Without a quality product, chances are, you’ll be unable to foster quality customer relationships. This is where strong communication between marketers and other areas of business is essential. Product Management and User Experience Design have really come to the fore as a way of managing product quality, and using customer insights to better overall customer experience and product. Marketers already gain insights from data, and are shaping brand awareness and a customer’s initial experience with their brand. It only makes sense that marketing works together with other areas of a business to improve product.

Where to next? Changes we’re excited to see

We asked our experts to predict future changes that will make waves in 2017 and beyond.

Artificial intelligence and natural language processing will put a huge onus on businesses to spend the time developing their brand as a persona. When AI allows you to create a digital entity, with a personality, that interacts intelligently with your prospects/customers… what personality will it have? How will it talk? What will it like/dislike? What kind of jokes will it tell? Will it joke at all? I’d be surprised if the title ‘AI Marketing Consultant’ isn’t already a job title. I’m very excited about AI in marketing.


The landscape will change a lot in 2017 alone. With the rise of Virtual/Augmented reality and live streaming, consumers are demanding more real-time experiences. However, Interaction is what they are craving – and why do marketers need to focus on this? It’s about engagement. Engagement equals results and an ROI. Automation and chat bots will play a more significant role in traditional news media outlets, but if not controlled, can kill a business. Machine learning and big data will play a massive role, particularly for larger retailers and corporations with larger marketing spend. Traditional mediums for these companies still play a role, but digital experiences is the next differentiator that consumers are getting a taste of now and they are loving it.


Brands are shifting their spend to digital given the good Return on Investment (ROI) in the last 10+ years. In regards to what shifts we’ll see, I think Google will go after more “land grabs”; they’ll attempt to secure more space, especially from local search. Given they said they want to increase local search paid advertising by 5 billion in 2017, there could be some big changes in paid advertising for anyone who focuses on customer acquisition via local search.


The Takeaway:

Change is the only constant. Rapidly progressing technologies are disrupting industries from health to hospitality. Marketers really bear the brunt of this change, consumer expectations shift and pivot, while entire modes of delivery are toppling away beneath them.

Academy Xi has worked with the growth hacker community to deliver Australia’s first in-person Growth Marketing Course. This is a 10 week, part-time course delivered in Academy Xi’s Surry Hills campus. You’ll be learning directly from experts in the field, gain access to some of the brightest minds in the local Growth Marketing community and tackle a real-world problem, hands-on (you can bring your own project or we can assign one to you). This course is a unique opportunity to take your marketing skills to the next level. Learn everything you need to know about funnels, tracking, testing, advertising, etc… Gain the growth marketer’s mindset, and learn how to make products appear to sell themselves. Learn more


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