5 Growth Hacking Secrets CMOs Can Apply To Their Brands

Last week I wrote about some “local” tools that big brand CMOs need to be aware of. Today, it’s a not-so-gentle reminder to the same group that there are lessons to be learned from startups who, just like you, are interested in learning how to expand their customer bases and increase monthly income.

Fortunately, CMOs can apply some of the advice given by startups to their own daily efforts. The key is in knowing exactly which startup growth strategies will work in a corporate environment. Here are a few of the best growth hacks that will help CMOs efficiently do more without spending extra money.

And yes I realize some of these may seem obvious, aka not-so-secretive or are already used by some large-brand CMOs but my assumption is not by most – so consider this a bit of a wake-up call that you can learn from and put into practical application.

1. A/B Test Everything

With A/B testing, a brand tries multiple approaches to a specific effort and measures the results of each. This could be a marketing campaign, a new product launch, a piece of software in beta testing, or any other effort a business undertakes. Instead of completing a major project before testing results, businesses should make “little bets” trying different channels for different pieces of content. After carefully monitoring the results, CMOs will have an idea of the most effective route to take.

2. Use Mentors/Advisors

Startups often utilize mentors and advisors as they make major decisions about the direction of their businesses. As they grow, however, they often stop asking for advice, instead choosing to keep moving forward without carefully strategizing their daily efforts. Throughout their careers, CMOs can benefit from someone who will provide advice when they need it.

Sometimes those mentors aren’t more experienced business owners but much younger, newer entrepreneurs who are leading some of Silicon Valley’s top startups. Realizing this, immersive programs like DV Torque’s partnership with Boston Consulting Group have emerged to give large businesses access to entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas, similar to what startups achieve while participating in small business-oriented programs.

3. Leverage Partnerships

Even big businesses can benefit from partnerships with colleagues. Whether a business joins forces with another local company or finds a partner within its industry, doing so can add value to its offerings at little cost. Product manufacturers often partner with other product manufacturers to bundle their products together for distribution. For-profit companies will partner with local nonprofits to add their name to a charity event.

In both cases, all parties benefit from the partnership, helping them save money while also increasing their reach. When searching for partnerships, CMOs should consider what it could offer potential partners. If approached with a proposal that shows how the partnership will benefit them, businesses are more likely to agree.

4. Gather Feedback

A feedback request follows almost every customer interaction with a brand as businesses seek to improve customer service. While businesses should always offer the opportunity for feedback, results will be disappointing unless customers have some incentive to participate. By offering a coupon or discount in exchange for completing a survey, businesses can increase responses and hear from a wider range of their customer bases. This feedback should be used to make improvements to processes with customers surveyed again after those changes, creating a feedback loop that leads to a continual improvement process.

And when it comes to the kind of survey, consider conducting a mixed-mode survey i.e. via phone, mail and/or online. According to marketingresearch.org, these kinds of surveys offer greater potential response rates and/or improved coverage of the population of interest.

5. Create Ongoing Revenue Options

Product sales are great, but they limit a business’s cash flow. Instead, businesses like software manufacturers have learned the value of recurring revenue, which has customers paying monthly rather than making a one-time purchase. Businesses should consider ways they can provide subscription-type services to keep a steady stream of income.

One unique example of a product-based company creating long-term recurring revenue is Amazon’s Dash program, which lets customers place buttons around their homes that they can push any time they need to order a specific product through the Amazon platform. Subscription boxes are another great recurring revenue source for product-based businesses.

To remain competitive, businesses of all sizes must constantly consider ways they can improve. By putting startup hacks in action, large businesses can create a growth culture within their organizations without cutting into their budgets. Many businesses now even create small labs within their larger infrastructure, where employees come up with creative ideas for increasing sales and better engaging customers.

This post originally appeared on Forbes

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