There once was an Indiana country boy who called himself “The Hick from French Lick.” Starting at age 13, the rural youth began a love affair with basketball. He didn’t think himself much of a player, despite what people told him, and he resolved to be his best.

Before going to school every morning, “The Hick” shot 500 free throws.

His efforts paid off. Before long, the boy grew into the man known worldwide as Larry Bird. Following the 1992 Olympics, this famed ballplayer retired from the NBA, leaving a legacy of impressive stats behind. During his career, Bird shot 50% from the field, scored an average of 24 points a game, and sunk 89% of his free throws.

Through daily practices in and out of his school gym, Bird’s growth became an everyday automatic function, a second nature process that returned huge benefits in his lifetime. And you, my dear marketer, can do the same.

Yes, growth automation can help whether you’re driving revenue or driving for a layup.
Why?
Because when you invest in improving the entire customer journey, the campaigns start to perform day-in and day-out with your customer lifecycle and revenue stats beginning to rise.

Today, we’re going to look at 15 growth automation statistics that prove this point. Growth automation, like growth hacking and growth marketing, prioritizes immediate and consistent investments in customer experience to realize sustainable long-term revenue.

Let’s play ball!

The Fundamentals: What is Growth Automation?

Growth automation are customer lifecycle campaigns that improve customer lifetime value through multi-channel orchestration, triggered feedback loops and segmented loyalty offers.

Similar to growth marketing and growth hacking, growth automation takes a holistic view of the customer journey by looking beyond the consumer awareness stage and into campaigns that influence customer advocacy, loyalty and revenue.

As influencing growth at any phase in the customer lifecycle produces measurable results, the challenge for marketers today is how to affect company growth in a scalable way.

Even in 2017, where marketing technology is readily available to SMBs + SMEs…

68% of B2B organizations are working without an identifiable funnel.

Hubspot

Without any funnel, how can these brands foresee success? Prior planning prevents poor performance and without funnel-vision, brands are restricted to TOFU prospects and thus limited in growth possibilities.

Extending the basketball metaphor, these top-down and typical marketing tactics are just “dribble, pass, shoot.” Basic. And only sometimes effective. Growth hacking – those creative tactics, technical skills and rapid testing processes – meets growth automation campaigns in every phase, enhancing growth potential wherever applied.

Think of behind the back passes, dunks, and fancy cross up dribbling. These maneuvers are unexpected but nonetheless help you get past defenders and make a winning shot – those are growth hacks.

Why growth hack?

95% of visitors to a website do not share their email address.

Forrester Research

And so it becomes necessary for marketers to experiment with new ways to reach and nurture this largely untapped, yet valuable, audience. Your website is the hub of your marketing efforts, your point guard, but you must still pass to your social media, alley oop to email marketing, and post up with SEO tactics.

Growth automation becomes part of your marketing technology investment because it gives you a scalable solution to create an optimized customer journey that allows for an increase in quality and quantity of deals by centering the game around superior customer experience.

Why is customer experience so essential these days?

90% of the buying process is completed before the prospect reaches the sales team.

Forrester Research

This means that 90% of the buying process communications are handled by the marketing team. It also signals that full funnel marketing is truly an end-to-end strategy, a full court press so to speak.

Tactics and strategies must be aligned and working seamlessly across every customer touchpoint to guide the ball towards the net. Growth automation campaigns let your marketing efforts move together in unison, each focusing on customer experience and revenue-nurturing movement down the funnel.

Shooting Practice: Why Use Growth Automation?

“Good growth teams care about driving acquisition. Great growth teams care about acquiring users who will stick around” — Annie Katrina Lee, Content Lead at Pinterest

That’s a lot of necessary growth, but can most keep up? Currently, marketers are spending most of their money in acquiring or activating new customers rather than lavishing the right kind of attention on those they already have.

Many companies look to vanity metrics such as social shares and traffic instead of repeat purchases, recurring revenue and NPS scores to measure their growth.

Growth automation campaigns emphasize customer experience in order to reduce churn and increase revenue per customer. In working to maintain a high CLV, marketers must align with strategies that engage prospects, qualified leads, and customers throughout the entire customer experience.

For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.

Econsultancy

This constant desire to expand the top of funnel activity not only comes at the cost of bottom funnel needs such as engagement and retention, but it actively costs brands money.

Attracting a new customer costs your company 5x more than keeping an existing customer.

— Harvard Business Review

One advantage of knowing you’re out to retain customers is the savings that come at the end of the lifecycle. Earning the rewards of having customers who’ve enjoyed your product and brand experience enough to stick around. 

Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more when compared to new customers.

Invescpro

Growth automation requires a deep understanding your target audience so you’re able to provide targeted offers to encourage more purchasing behavior.

Loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase, on average.

MarketingTechBlog

Ball Handling: How Does Growth Automation Retain Customers?

So we’ve seen why the full funnel strategy works. It costs less money to engage your current customers than new ones, reduces churn, and boosts retention to drive revenue. You can do this by using marketing clouds that help you run product recommendation engines, product listing re-targeting, and other event-based triggers.

But changing ways is a hard sell for many. Top of funnel metrics like customer awareness and acquisition get much more attention than the rest of the funnel because they precede a sale. The best marketers look beyond the here and now – they plan for the future.

44 percent of companies prioritize customer acquisition, whereas only 18 percent focus on retention.

Invespcro

Why must we think beyond these initial funnel stages? Because churn rates are real – real scary. For example, a 5% monthly churn rate leaves you with less than half your customers after one year. For a reprieve from this instant gratification focus on TOFU, we turn to Dave McClure’s system called Pirate Metrics.

Named for the “AARRR” acronym that encompasses the complete customer lifecycle – “Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, Referral” – Pirate Metrics equally distributes relevance between all phases of the buyer journey. After all, the funnel is a closed circuit that loops from referrals back up to awareness. Therefore, injecting growth into any phase returns new and predictable revenue growth.

Reducing churn rate by 5% can increase profitability between 25-125%.

–Emmet C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy, Leading on the Edge of Chaos

Reducing churn predicts growth. By retaining more users, you retain their future purchasing powers as well as their social proof and input as brand advocates. It’s best to focus your energy on bottom funnel areas of retention and referrals.

If your first instinct is to double down on user experience in the form of personalized offers, automated push notifications and email triggers, you’re already in the growth mindset.

“Knowing how to treat customers is the biggest, most organic method of marketing and you can use them to build advocacy.” — Danny Brown, author of Influence Marketing

68% leave because they are upset with the treatment they’ve received (customer service). 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service.

U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Once you’re sure to retain these customers – preferably with ongoing quality content, newsletters, loyalty programs, lifecycle emails – you’ll be well positioned to get results from referral marketing campaigns.

The Lifetime Value for new referral customer is 16% higher than non-referrals.

The Wharton School of Business

And customers refer. As social creatures, consumer psychology dictates that we want to help those within our immediate sphere, both in an altruistic sense, for status, and for network building.

It’s rewarding for users to share information and easier than ever in the digital age. Social media and mobile-friendly lifestyles have prepared customers to take the step towards making referrals.

83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience—yet only 29% actually do.

Texas Tech University

Provided their experience has been quality throughout, all you need to do is lend them a helping hand. Because humans are hardwired to extend our friends a good deal when we find one, utilize referral campaigns to tap the powers of social proof and consumer altruism.

This is effective in inviting the next level of consumer awareness to your brand, and reinvigorating your growth automation engine.

14% of customers who visit a referral page make an invite.

Referral SaaSquatch

As we see here, a solid percentage of users are making referral invites when rewards are given out. By focusing on customers that engage with referral marketing you can build a profitable customer acquisition channel with a dedicated campaign strategy.

Overtime

As these growth automation statistics have shown, every user interaction counts. Since there’s no halftime or timeouts in how customers interact with your brand, having well-coordinated campaigns is the only way to win. To do this, consider the full funnel experience.

Ultimately, your customers respond to contextual messaging, personalized content, triggered email, segmented offers and other multi-channel approaches that make them feel appreciated as customers.

When you step back and target these users, do so with the perspective of their whole life cycle – not the first phases only. In designing campaigns that sustain a lasting relationship, your brand will be able stay in the game and keep up with your users. And that’s a slam dunk.

Brandon GainsBrandon Gains is the VP of Marketing at Referral SaaSquatch. He leads growth initiatives at the company using a mix of content, design and web development tactics. Brandon also contributes articles to publications like SocialMediaToday, CustomerThink and Business2Community. You can connect with him via email brandon at referralsaasquatch.com or on LinkedIn