32 Marketing Ideas from a Marketing Growth-a-Thon

In this post, learn the following about a Marketing Growth-a-thon:

  • Objective
  • Plan
  • Flow
  • Outcomes – Yes 32 Ideas (check the end of the write-up)
  • Bonus – How to prioritize ideas based on scoring

If you’re in a marketing team, especially that of a start-up, there must have been many ideas you or your peers would have ‘slacked’ or mailed to your team, or the marketing head. No? Well, more often than not these are likely to be shot down, by the day to day micro tasks, CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) or revenue targets. In the fast-moving start-up space, ideas and experiments often stay half-baked, which has happened with me and many in the marketing team at UpGrad too.
So, what do you do? Forget about these experiments? Forget about non-linear growth?

NO! Start a Marketing Growth-a-thon!

(Yes, conceptually it is like a hack-a-thon. We DO owe it to the tech team *bows down*)

So, what’s the objective of a Growth-a-thon?

I don’t know for sure, but reverse engineering the process as a participant, I think it’s along the lines of:

  • Discover the top “must haves” and “can haves” of a company’s growth from a marketing dimension
  • Look for Sitting Ducks or low hanging fruits that require a sprinkle of innovation and intiative to test out
  • Look for Logical Tangents or ideas that are out of the box but resonate with the brand objectives/goals
  • Get some Free Pizza (Wait, No… scratch that!)
  • IMPORTANT: Create a Template for experiments & growth, and plot these out on a “goal completion” vs “feasibility” quadrants.

(Also listen: Digital Marketing Careers with Sujoy Golan: Marketers Unite Podcast)


 How do you plan a Growth-a-thon? #NeedInitiative

First, set the date. We did it on a Friday, which did not impact regular workflow. We had some quarterly and yearly goals for marketing, like getting 1,00,000 visitors to the Blog or building our YouTube subscriber base to 10,000 and so on. This gave us some direction to cluster our ideas. We had around a week to simulate the experiment and hypothesis, make excel projections and finally bring it to critical mass!

(Also Read: 17 Essential Digital Marketing Skills for 2017)


Executing Phase 1: Marketing Growth-a-thon

Focus: Ideate, Brainstorm, Critique, Reality Checks & Validate
Even though before the growth-a-thon some of us had half-baked ideas, some what ifs and some were well-prepared; once we entered the room, we were all ready.
Creating a Structured Thought Process – #ThrustAreas
So, our marketing head, divided the whiteboard into quadrants, and labeled each one of these as –

  • Reduce CAC
  • Increase Direct & Organic Traffic
  • Awareness & Reach
  • Building Communities & Networks

P.S: These were our goals from an overall business perspective, (always important to be mindful of even while working within teams and not get stuck in a silo). However, UpGrad is an ed-tech company, it is possible that if you are working in E-commerce or BFSI industries, your quadrants may be different – but the process is key.
Basis these thrust areas, we began our hunt… to the center of our brain.

Putting on the Thinking Cap: Fill up the White-Board!

As we went from one idea to another, we realised that most were very high impact. Focus areas ranged from optimising mobile landing pages to reducing performance marketing CAC by more than 30%, to more wild ideas like integrating with Uber or Airtel and package existing content for extremely top-level brand awareness. There were product-centric ideas like building a career chat bot, to even hosting a viral video series for each of our learning segments like Data, Marketing, Product and Entrepreneurship.
While these ideas were plotted and creative juices flowed, some ideas went through a few iterations in real time – sharpened, aligned to the brand, our target audience, desired scale and efficiency of paid & organic/viral efforts.

(Also Read: How to Make Facebook Ads Work for B2B Marketing)

Tip: As I kept crying out “implementation road-map,” I was told that,

‘let’s decide that part in the next phase, using a template.’

I realized that implementation or execution often limits our mindset.
Over the next 3 hours, we boxed ourselves in with out-of-the-box ideas and soon the board was filled. And yes, after that we did have pizza! 😀

Executing Phase 2: Marketing Growth-a-thon

Our marketing head collated all these ideas and shared them on an excel sheet with all of us. Every idea that made the cut (32) were sliced across the following dimensions:

  • Impact
  • Time
  • Resource (manpower)
  • Cost
  • Cross team functionality or dependency

This sheet is now to be filled by all 10 team members. Each member was to assign a value to all these ideas across all the above parameters – values of high, medium & low; and ideas that would have the perfect fit, would be now chosen as quarterly projects.

Executing Phase 3: Marketing Growth-a-thon

Implementation Plan
Once the projects are decided, the project owners will form teams. These 2-4 member teams would present a detailed step by step implementation plan with overall costs plotted against business goals.
The weekly progress of the projects will be evaluated, similar to sprints. The pilot would be evaluated and would require support from other teams like tech or video production and would be assessed before the project starts.

(Also Read: Top 20 Tech Product Marketing Tools for Startups in 2017)


Outcomes: 32 Marketing ideas you can also use

We’re now at a very interesting stage of the Growth-a-thon! We’ve compiled all the ideas and given our viewpoints. Sharing the list of ideas below.

Marketing Growth a thon ideas
Next steps? Prioritizing your growth projects based on scoring

If you remember the 6 constraints we spoke about earlier, you could float out an excel to all the team members who can rate ideas “Low,” “Medium” & “High” across these. These could all assume numeric values as 1,2 & 3. Once all the sheets are filled, you can simply add these and you will get a total score of each of the growth projects across these fields.
Example: Say “impact” as a metric is given 50% weightage, versus the other dimensions like “cross-functional dependency,” “time,” “resources” & “cost” which could be given weightage of 10%, 10%, 15% & 15% respectively. You can then subtract all the other scores from the impact score for each project and that would give you the final numeric value of the true priority.
Basis the final scores, the founders and heads can then take a call to either take a project further in the current quarter or in the next quarter. There could also be some projects which would not be taken forward, basis the scores.

(Also Read: 50+ Digital Marketing Tips from India’s Marketing Wizards)

A sample of what such an excel sheet could look like:
Marketing Growth a thon scores_with_logo

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