Consumers are tired of creepy ads that make them feel like brands are listening to their conversations. They are tired of influencers peddling CBD products. And even as the world is suffering from ad targeting and influencer fatigue, brands are driving up the prices of digital advertising and driving down ROI.
Brands with large growth aspirations need something new. A growth philosophy bigger than various pay-to-play channels. A north star.
That growth philosophy is Customer Led Growth. And it’s the future of brand marketing.
What is Customer Led Growth?
Customer Led Growth is a growth model for brands that recognizes that in today’s digital world, a brand’s customers are its most valuable marketers.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) has always been the most effective way to drive purchases. The problem used to be scale. A marketer could easily run an ad that reaches millions of consumers, but word of mouth could not easily generate a comparable level of awareness.
That has changed. Via social media, a brand’s customers now create thousands of times more content than the brand itself, and their collective reach is far greater than the reach of the brand. Additionally, that content is more powerful and engaging since its coming from a brand’s actual customers.
While the potential of customer content and UGC is increasing, brands are also having an increasingly hard time building a competitive advantage with ad-targeting and influencers. Those channels are saturated, and the premium brands pay has eroded their ROI. Furthermore, there are limits to how much those channels can scale since no one has an infinite ad budget.
These facts have led to the rise of Customer Led Growth – a model that means that customers aren’t just driving some value for the brands (like legacy Word of Mouth) – but they are now driving the MAJORITY of value for the brand.
The fastest growing brands are focused on Customer Led Growth.
Just like how the fastest growing technology companies feature “Product Led Growth”, the fastest growing brands in the world feature Customer Led Growth.
Brands like Morphe, Gymshark, Supreme (now LVMH) and Fashion Nova are now growing faster than anyone in their respective categories by getting thousands of their customers to create content every day. For each of these brands, the media value of their earned content far exceeds the value of their own content, and they are driving more awareness through their customers.
The catch – these brands are also EXCELLENT at branding and have products customers love. If you have:
- A brand that people want to be associated with
- A product people love
- The ability to activate your customers
There’s a good chance you could be going to the moon.
How to create a Customer Led Growth strategy.
Brands can take several easy steps to start implementing Customer Led Growth strategy:
1) Make it cool to tag your brand – Nobody is going to post about your brand if it doesn’t make them look good. What does your brand stand for? What type of content can someone create for you that help promote your brand AND make someone look good (why are you feed-worthy). If you’re a dumbbell brand… that probably means people doing curls and not static shots of your product. If you’re a subscription brand… maybe you have really cool / upscale packaging and unboxing videos are feed-worthy. Understand what your core customers would post, and then…
2) Ask your customers for UGC – The easiest way to get more customers creating content is to ask them. Most customers want to engage with a brand because it’s cool and they love creating content. A brand can call out in their social profile, transactional emails, and labeling that they’d like customers to tag them in UGC.
3) Repost and engage – When your brand gets tagged in content, share that to your story or feed. That shows your customers that you value the content they create, and that they have a chance to be featured.
4) Nudge them with incentives – If you want to drastically increase the amount of UGC you get, start rewarding customers for posting. Sending them discounts and gifts is rewarding without being overly transactional. Avoid paying cash. That’s tacky and transactional.
5) Measure the results – As with any type of marketingss, a brand should monitor their results to see which strategies are resonating with their customers.
If you want support achieving Customer Led Growth, LoudCrowd works with some of the fastest growing brands in the world and has the software / expertise to get you there. Contact [email protected] for more information or request a demo today.
We believe that the most effective way of marketing and selling your product is through word-of-mouth marketing. Currently, the best (and most engaging way) for brands to scale word-of-mouth marketing is through User Generated Content (UGC) on social platforms like Instagram. LoudCrowd helps you analyze your UGC and incentivize your customers to grow it.
About the Author
Gary Garofalo is a marketing focused technologist and the CEO of LoudCrowd. He’s spent his career focused on analytics, strategic consulting, and building technology companies. When he’s not writing about social media, he spends his free time reading, lamenting over the risks of climate change and artificial intelligence, and playing pickleball with the LoudCrowd team.