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How To Improve Your Growth Marketing This Year

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Savvy marketers know both traditional and growth marketing strategies are necessary to keep companies relevant. Old-school strategies are a chance to go after new customers and let an organization’s campaigns shine. Growth marketing approaches rely on data to acquire leads and nurture existing customer relationships.

This second line of attack says it’s also beneficial to keep clients happy, find additional sales opportunities and turn customers into advocates. The gist of growth marketing sounds simple enough. In reality, it can be confusing to implement. Because it is so customer-centric, a lot of experimentation happens as marketers get to know their target audiences.

From discovering which tactics promote engagement to what drives revenue, growth marketers learn that flexibility and constant tweaking are musts. Marketing novices and vets often end up scratching their heads, wondering how they can improve their efforts. Although there isn’t an exact scientific formula yet, here are some ways to take your growth marketing strategies to the next level.

1. Study the Competition

Sometimes your competition can be one of the best sources of inspiration. Select a few of your company’s main rivals and a couple of indirect competitors whom your customers might turn to in a pinch. Then check out what your competitors are doing differently and what others say about them.

You can do this via social listening, signing up for their email lists and reading through online blogs and other digital content. Online reviews and forums like Reddit are also good places to find out what people are saying. Perform a mini competitive analysis, scrutinizing your rivals’ tactics, strategies and consumer sentiments and pain points.

While you might discover something you’re missing out on, it’s possible competitors are following a trend. Those trends might not resonate with your market, or you may need to tweak them. For instance, voice search has been promoted as a coming thing for the last few years. However, you’ll be wasting your time if your target segment hasn’t embraced smart home devices or the use of voice search yet.

Since growth marketing strategies focus on long-term results, make it a priority to listen to what customers find helpful. Learn from your competition and see what you can emulate. But don’t blindly follow their tactics without considering your unique audience’s preferences.   

2. Research Your Own Brand

You might think you know your brand like the back of your hand. Think again. Just as you need to study the competition, you also have to research what people say about you. Comb through online reviews, conduct Net Promoter Score surveys and browse digital forums.

Sites such as the Better Business Bureau, comments on your company’s social media posts and online articles can provide useful insights. Maybe things are being said that aren’t true. Comments from current and former customers could also reveal unknown problems. You might learn your bill statements are confusing or customer service in certain areas is lacking.

If there’s false or misleading information about your brand out there, see what you can do to correct it. Some sites, such as the Better Business Bureau, may lower your company’s rating if you don’t respond to online complaints. Showing that you’re willing to address those issues can be enough to raise your score.

You’ll also want to take a look at logos, branding and everything you publish, whether in digital or traditional media. Ask whether it truly represents the brand’s character and what your company stands for. Analyze internal and external brand metrics from the past five years and see whether your clout went up, down or remained stagnant. Investigate further to discover why your marketing efforts were successful or fell flat.

3. Adopt a Long-Term Strategy

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to brainstorm a new game plan. Determine whether repositioning your brand is the way to go or whether you just need to drum up some new tactics. Maybe there’s a potential market or existing customer segment you’ve overlooked. Plan to be in the game for the long haul. You’ll want to establish time frames for your goals, but know you may not see instant results.

Some companies implement new approaches to growth marketing with a big push. However, you may need to start out small and test the waters. For instance, say you’ve decided to rebrand a portion of your service and product lines as suitable for small to medium businesses. You’ve nearly tapped out the consumer segment and want to focus on growing your business customers. You might start with a couple of test markets with a higher concentration of leads.  

If you want to revamp your messaging or conversion tactics, try A/B or split testing to see what hits home. Testing new programs, incentives and services can be a good thing, but you’ll need to set customer expectations up front. Let them know the company is experimenting to better meet their needs and resolve their pain points. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Give customers a heads up if offerings will change or be discontinued.

4. Partner Up

Partnerships with other companies are one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your brand. Working with organizations that cater to similar audiences can benefit both sides. Event sponsorships are ways you can build brand representation and recognition.

A nonprofit that holds an annual event in the communities your company serves might be a way to increase goodwill. Short-term partnerships with local businesses that aren’t competitors can increase your reach and boost customer acquisition efforts. You might hold educational seminars at area restaurants and offer to comp dinner or lunch for attendees. This promotes the restaurants’ products and yours, giving attendees a taste of what you both can offer.

Remember growth marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. What you think might work may not, and there will be some surprises that pop up along the way. The most critical things are to keep trying, testing and learning.

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Dune: Awakening is an open world survival MMO

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Dune: Awakening made its debut at The Game Awards as an open world survival massively multiplayer online game.

The game from Funcom and Nukklear looks beautiful, full of very detailed imagery of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. The game asked for beta signups, but we got no other information. Survival is the key word. Dune is a very deadly world, with sandworms and an unforgiving climate.

You can see places in the trailer like the city of Arakeen by day and night, as well as desert biomes and more. It’s not clear when it is coming. With luck, it will be close to the second Dune movie coming in late 2023.

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Rumors confirmed, Street Fighter 6 kicks off in June 2023

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Fighting Game fans are excited now that Capcom announced that Street Fighter 6 is coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and PC on June 2, 2023. The game was initially announced in February 2022, but that reveal did not include a specific release date beyond 2023.

The trailer at The Game Awards focused on new mini games and the international setting. In addition to the 18 previously announced fighter, the trailer also confirms that several new fighters — Dee Jay, Manon, Marisa and JP — that will join the game’s roster.

Notably, the June 2 release date for Street Fighter 6 may be a strategic choice for Capcom. June is the very beginning of Q3.

The last installment of the franchise — Street Fighter V — released nearly seven years ago so fans have been eager for another installment. A day before The Game Awards, the game’s June release date was leaked via the PlayStation Store.

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5 Things to Do Now to Propel Your Business in 2023

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith. In times of economic uncertainty, that leap may feel like a dive off a cliff. We are in one of those times. It likely will take months to fully re-adjust to the forces that have pummeled the world’s economy, and to entrepreneurs, months can feel like years.

With the right playbook, entrepreneurs can survive and thrive in whatever economic scenario. Here are five things you can do to propel your business ahead now and through the difficulties of business cycles for years to come.

1. Learn the lessons of more challenging times

A rocky economy presents a unique opportunity to make tough decisions about the business plan. Everything is open to reexamination. How has the market changed? Are your customers facing challenges that create new opportunities for your solutions? How do new conditions change your assumptions, and what actions do you need to take in response?

Critically evaluate your product roadmap. Is this the time to pivot or become more aggressive with your current plans? Prioritize the highest margin features that are achievable in the next twelve months. Push out projects that don’t make that list, and re-assign resources accordingly. Re-assess pricing. Even as inflation tiptoes back from the highest levels in forty years, raw material and transportation costs remain way up. What will impact your customers if you adjust the pricing or add surcharges to offset these costs, at least temporarily?

It’s been a rough year for hiring. Many companies took the talent they could get. If there are employees or gig workers who would fare better in a different job, now is the time to let them go. Make tough-minded corrections that will pay off overall — corrections that might be avoidable in less challenging times.

Related: How to Turn Inflation and Recession into Your Largest Business Opportunity

2. Tighten your grip on cash

Venture capitalists are pulling back. In the third quarter, Crunchbase reported that funding for startups in U.S. and Canada fell 50% year-over-year. Valuations are down across the board. If you are fortunate enough to be a later-stage startup that benefited from VC largess in 2021, make your last raise last longer than intended.

Keep your dry powder dry, and put off going for another round until the markets even out. Reemphasize the basics for early-stage companies with less market validation and greater distance between now and a potential exit. Delay all capital expenditures. Leverage the hybrid work model if possible, to reduce rent and other office expenses. Continue with Zoom or Google Meet. Now is not the time to rack up travel costs. Re-negotiate fees and terms with service providers. Seek credit terms with key suppliers, in a word, bootstrap.

3. Talk to customers, in person. Now.

How have the business needs of your customers — whether paying or beta — changed over the last 18 months? Are there benefits to your solution that have more recognized value now? Nearly every business, for example, from corporates to startups, has been forced to re-learn the lessons of supply chain management. Startups that can help their customers make better business decisions based on artificial intelligence (AI), reduce costs by improving inventory management or protect against out-of-stock scenarios by identifying and building relationships with new, more local sources of supply will have an edge.

Related: Finding Validation in Serving Customers

4. Non-dilutive capital

According to PitchBook, venture capitalists are showing greater interest in portfolio companies “whose satellite, robotics and software tools can do double duty” in military and commercial markets. International conflicts are one reason, of course.

Another is that the defense and military security industries are generally viewed as recession-proof. Our firm routinely encourages portfolio companies to consider non-dilutive funding from the Small Business Administration — grants to support cutting-edge technologies range from $150,000 to more than $1 million.

Navigating the application process isn’t for the faint of heart. A startup must be realistic about the work involved, but in many states, there are resources to help. Besides the funding, severe responses to agency requests for proposals are reviewed and evaluated by technologists. At a minimum, this can be terrific feedback and a great source of industry contacts.

5. Blue-chip cultures attract blue-chip talent

Company culture can be an asset or a liability. An inclusive, rich culture helps key hires say yes. Finding stakeholders that believe what you believe and are aligned with your team’s values significantly improves the odds that they will stick with you in good times or bad.

After months of “great resignation” fever, the over-heated demand for talent may be cooling off. Maybe offers aren’t as fast or grand as they were a year ago. Maybe Twitter won’t be the only advanced technology business to let people go. Regardless, the search for great talent isn’t a faucet that a young company turns off and on. A startup might modulate the timing or the number of hires but stand at the ready to recruit and filter for culture fit.

Related: 3 Ways to Stay Competitive in the War for Talent

With the right mindset and intentional approach, an entrepreneur can make 2023 a year to strive and thrive. As Yogi Berra, my favorite baseball player of all time, said, “Swing at the strikes.” In business, like baseball, the right swing can turn even the most challenging pitch into a hit.

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