This is a blog series that I originally wrote as a book. I’m sharing the full text online for free. Each blog post is a chapter. Please send your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like, get on the email list.
- Intro (we’re here)
- Strategy and Management
- Business Growth
- Research and Analytics
- Campaigns and Tactics
In this chapter:
- TLDR Version
- What Could Be Better About Business Literature
- How Is This Book Different?
- What Not to Expect
- Who Is This Book For?
- How to Use This Book?
- About the Author
- It’s hard to write a good business book because the way companies market products greatly depends on the industry, company size, type of customers, and stage in product life cycle
- Many marketing books narrowly praise one specific concept, idea or tool but miss the big picture
- This book is different in that it presents a broad range of marketing tools and concepts and links them together in a systematic manner
- This book is for those who are new to marketing and want to get a high-level map to see most of the tools and concepts in one place
- Marketing professionals might also derive some value from this book if they are open to widening their toolkit
- This book is not for experts in a given marketing channel, tool, or concept who want to further deepen their expertise in the same area
- The book is industry-agnostic, but will probably have most relevance to technology companies
- Most concepts are applicable to companies of all sizes, but the companies that are mature enough to have a marketing budget and at least one marketing employee will benefit the most
- There are four chapters:
- Strategy and Management: foundational principles of marketing strategy and management
- Business Growth: development of a growth model, connecting business goals with marketing metrics, such as acquisition, retention, virality, and customer lifetime value
- Research and Analytics: concepts and tools to get customer insights and data, from focus groups to statistical analysis
- Campaigns and Tactics: development and execution of marketing plans, campaigns, and advertising
- Bio: I have been working in high responsibility marketing roles for large multinational companies and startups in industries ranging from consumer goods to technology. I earned my MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. In my most recent role, I led cross-channel marketing campaigns for Adobe’s Creative Cloud business
What Could Be Better About Business Literature
I don’t know about you, but I was often disappointed with marketing and business books. I wondered why half of the statements sounded like obvious truisms and the other half sounded like ads selling you certain ideas, but not really backing up any claims. When I picked books with buzz words in their names, such as “growth hacking” or “social media,”, I often found them bashing abstract “traditional marketing,” worshiping the so-called “new era” but missing the big picture.
Sometimes I read books that were supposed to be about marketing, but could really be distilled to one sentence repeated a thousand times: “Have a remarkable product and you won’t need marketing!” And I thought “Duh! These 200 pages told me nothing about how to research what my customers consider remarkable or how to market a product I already have if I cannot change it just yet!”
Don’t get me wrong. There are exceptions. There are some great books and there are some really smart and accomplished authors. Many are much smarter and more accomplished than I am. But the noise-to-signal ratio is not good. I wondered why and I think I know the answer.
There is a good reason why writing marketing books or articles is difficult. There is no one marketing.
Imagine marketing at Procter and Gamble, which employs thousands of people in marketing roles only. Stop and think about it! P&G also markets to billions of consumers worldwide, from the U.S. to Bangladesh. P&G can also spend millions of dollars on just one campaign.
Now contrast that to the way marketing is done at a tech startup which employs 250 people and sells an enterprise security product. Suddenly everything is different: from the decision-making process to the target audience. Finally, contrast it to a situation when your friend asks you to “do some marketing” for an iPhone app he developed. Budget? What budget?
Now consider different industries. Do you think marketing in the pharmaceutical industry is different from airlines or online dating marketing? Oh yes, it is!
So is it even possible to write a book that would be fundamental enough to be applicable to a broad range of companies and industries, and yet practical at the same time? I believe so.
One might argue that Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller is exactly that: a comprehensive book on all things marketing. It is comprehensive indeed. But Marketing Management does not include information on recent marketing and growth hacking trends and tactics, such as A/B testing or retargeting with display advertising.
It also lacks technical details: you might learn that a thing called customer segmentation exists, but you will not learn how to do it yourself by applying statistical techniques. Likewise, you might learn about the importance of measuring marketing performance, but you will not learn what tools to use to actually do it.
Finally, Marketing Management focuses on large established companies and is short on advice to fast-growing tech startups. It’s also over 800 pages and over $250 on Amazon. But it’s great at being exactly what it claims to be: a textbook for MBAs. In fact, I even recommend it for further selective reading to those who like this type of format.
How Is This Book Different?
The reason this book is called Growth Map is because the goal is to connect all the various marketing concepts, tools, and tactics and show when and how to use them.
Here is the logic we follow:
We start with a business goal, then “add” the data about customers and competitors (obtained through market research) and the data about our performance (obtained through market analytics and research) to devise a strategy.
Then we execute this strategy by developing and launching campaigns. This, in turn, generates more data (mostly through marketing analytics). This new data allows us to set better goals and provides ideas for additional research we can do in the future. So the process repeats itself.
There are four chapters:
1. Strategy and Management
Strategy is a product of business goals and data from research or analytics. To make the book easier to follow, we will start with the end result that we need to create – with the vision of how we are going to win.Here we will define marketing: what it is and what it is for. We will discuss what a great marketing strategy looks like and how to develop one. This will provide a solid conceptual foundation for picking and using the right marketing tools later on.
2. Business Growth
Here we will discuss the importance of starting with a business goal. We will pick an example and build a growth model to link acquisition, retention, virality and customer lifetime value to profits. This will allow us to evaluate all our marketing campaigns in terms of their real-world impact on company financials.
3. Research and Analytics
Here we will discuss the main types of marketing research, such as secondary research, primary qualitative research, and primary quantitative research (which includes data analytics and visualization, regression analysis, cluster analysis, conjoint analysis, machine learning, and more). We will also cover technical skills, helpful for marketing research and analytics. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to find insights in data yourself instead of outsourcing the work to research agencies.
4. Campaigns and Tactics
Finally, we will apply our strategy to develop and execute cross-channel marketing campaigns. We will discuss measuring performance to learn from past campaigns and improve in the future. You will understand how to pick marketing channels and tools to maximize the impact. For example, you will learn to how to choose between display advertising and social media.We will also talk about maximizing the performance of each particular channel. We will also cover technical marketing skills related to prototyping, web design, and development. Finally, we will discuss the significance of understanding the basics of psychology and behavioral economics.
We will review business cases of such companies as Apple, Facebook, Uber, and others.
At this point, you might be checking the number of pages in this book. You are right, to cover all these topics in depth, this book would need to be at the very least 10,000 pages or more. This brings us to…
What Not to Expect
We are not going in-depth on each single topic. As mentioned above, giving a detailed guide to every marketing channel or every marketing research method would bloat this book to at least 10,000 pages. For instance, we will not focus obsessively on any specific channel, such as social media or search engine optimization, nor on any specific marketing research tool, such as using logistic regressions for predict user churn. It is simply impossible to cover everything in detail.
This is why the focus is on providing the “Map” – a guide to the various marketing concepts and tools. So you will learn about all these topics and understand what role they play, when it’s best to use them, and what additional materials to study if you want to go deep.
This “Map” should allow you connect the dots and find the most impactful tools for your situation. There will also be many references for future reading. These will include books, blogs, online articles, and websites, as well as free and paid apps. So if you choose to learn more about a particular topic, you will know where to start. And you can always go back to the “Map” to refresh your understanding of the big picture.
You should not expect breakthrough novel ideas either. We are not trying to introduce new revolutionary, but unproven, ideas. Instead, we curate the best time-tested concepts, ideas, and methods and connect them in a coherent fashion, so that you can start applying them today.
Who Is This Book For?
You will derive the most value if you are new to marketing or if you feel that you want to expand your knowledge.
You might be a tech startup founder, small business owner, manager or simply a curious mind. You might work in a traditional industry and want to learn from companies like Facebook and Instagram, both of which acquired billions of users with little to no traditional marketing. Or you might be a growth hacker at a small start-up, well-versed at running A/B tests but interested in expanding your toolkit.
If you are a seasoned marketing professional, you might still find this book helpful, especially if you feel that there are areas where you have limited experience.
If you are experienced, please try to approach the book with an open mind. There are many ways to approach marketing, so if the approach presented here conflicts with some of your experience, please try to focus on what you can learn from it and not on things that might not work in your situation.
You don’t need to work in a particular industry to benefit, but those in the technology field will probably find the book most relevant. But it’s still possible that your industry or product is so unique that only a few things will apply. In this case, I hope you won’t get upset and instead focus on learning something new that you might be able to apply later in your career.
How to Use This Book?
Use it as a map. Don’t feel obligated to read it from beginning to end. Instead, feel free to jump to marketing research methods or to email campaigns if you think this is what is most relevant to your situation right now. Then, get back to other chapters later.
But I recommend at least familiarizing yourself with the foundational concepts presented in the “Strategy and Management” chapter before jumping into specific sections of “Research and Analytics” or “Campaigns and Tactics.”
Also, feel free to skip topics that are not relevant. For example, if you’re already working with a marketing research agency, you might choose to skip technical marketing research skills described in “Research and Analytics,” unless you want to learn how to do everything yourself. Or if your budget is limited, you might skip or skim many of the paid marketing tools described in “Campaigns and Tactics” and focus only on those that can be used with no budget.
Finally, you can also read this book in a regular linear fashion as it follows the natural top-down logic: starting with big concepts and then building on them.
About the Author
I currently run a product marketing team at a SaaS Startup in San Francisco. Earlier I worked for Adobe, Mozilla, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. I also worked for several multinational consumer goods companies, where I led major product re-launches in EMEA markets. Finally, I also have entrepreneurial experience as a founder of tech startups in Consumer Internet space. You can find more about me on LinkedIn.
While earning my Masters of Business Administration program at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where I had an honor of learning from the best professors in their respective fields. I want to share lessons I learned the hard way. I definitely don’t know everything myself and I have a lot to learn. But I am practicing these lessons daily and I hope you will be able to benefit from learning them too.