Miranda Halpern's Interview With Growthcurve's Founder Mulenga Agley
As part of Techcrunch's Expert Series our founder Mulenga Agley was interviewed by Miranda Halpern a prolific tech journalist who writes for Techcrunch, to talk about why Growthcurve is different.
1. Please describe your intake process for new clients: how do you assess their requirements, and what information do you need before you can share an estimated project timeline and budget?
Clients register for an account with Growthcurve® via our site https://growthcurve.co. They self-select from our 3 plans based on their needs and will then be contacted by our New Business team to explain in more detail how Growthcurve® works and to help them select the right package of Growthcurve® plans to meet their specific needs and budget. At this stage we like to understand how their marketing and growth teams (if any) currently function, their budget, their proposition and business model, their target audience, growth ambitions and any potential network effects or unique distribution opportunities we may be able to leverage.
When it comes to costs and timings, our clients control this month to month based on the team they form at Growthcurve® and the package of services they select. As for timings, there can be any number of different objectives in progress at once, very rarely is there a single ‘project’ with a single deadline. The Growthcurve® team that our client’s compose work on building a Growth Engine into the business, this involves workstreams that span Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. We set specific KPI-based targets monthly and review progress against business objectives quarterly.
Once a client successfully passes qualification by our New Business team they are assigned a Client Partner to complete their onboarding and help them make the most of their Growthcurve® team and resources. Client Partners at Growthcurve® are experts in a particular industry (e.g. fintech, sass, gaming) and champion the client within Growthcurve®.
2. What's a ballpark quote for the average project, and how frequently do you communicate with clients once the work is underway?
Working with Growthcurve® is different to working with a typical marketing agency. When a business joins Growthcurve® they are able to ‘spin up’ the Growth Marketing services they need on-demand and scale them up or down flexibly.
- Need evidence-led Performance Marketing? Spin up our ‘Grow’ plan
- Want to develop a fully automated B2B customer acquisition funnel? Spin up our ‘Optimise’ plan
- Need a pipeline of high end ad creative, for multiple markets in multiple languages? Spin up our ‘Create’ plan
- Need a full service Growth Marketing department? Spin up ‘Grow’, ‘Optimise’ and ‘Create’ together
What exactly does ‘spin up’ mean? Well, we’ve relentlessly iterated on Growthcurve®’s service offering to reduce ‘time to value’ for our clients to the absolute minimum. We’ve aimed to make working with us feel more like ‘spinning up’ resources on Amazon Web Services or Heroku rather than the usual long, drawn out process of commissioning a legacy advertising or marketing agency.
Since our clients typically use Growthcurve® as their complete growth marketing department, or at least a significant part of it, they form cross functional teams with specialists from our 3 plans. The cost is dependent on the team and resource profile our clients form. We have smaller app clients running their entire international marketing with us for <$20,000 p/m with a KPI of ‘ROF’ (return on fee - basically how much more money Growthcurve® generates vs our cost) or ‘ROAS’ (return on ad spend) and we have larger enterprise clients with up to 10x greater Growthcurve® team size and cost.
3. If an early-stage client came to you today with a budget of $25,000, what would you prioritize?
Let’s say it’s an early stage sass subscription business. If there is time, investing in seo and a highly defensible content moat to generate inbound supported by ongoing growth experimentation and CRO would be ideal. However this is certainly not an approach that works for every early-stage business, either because the model is not hugely search driven (e.g. it’s a totally new concept) or because the client wants growth yesterday and simply can’t afford to invest in long term growth strategies until they have secured a larger fundraise.
In cases where time is of the essence we’d prioritise rapid iterative experimentation on paid channels to lock-on to the most optimal combination of audience, messaging, channel, placement and creative - investing heavily in robust attribution alongside this so we can be sure which campaigns are performing at a bottom line level (ever more tricky in a post iOS-14 world, luckily we’ve developed several brilliant approaches). Since we’re a Growth agency we always support any paid activity with growth loops which multiply each paid result - through referral mechanics, gamification, social proof and product driven growth. This can involve custom landing pages, interactive funnels, software and API development, marketing automation and more.
4. Growthcurve offers conversion rate optimization services — what are the three most common mistakes you see marketing teams make as they attack this key metric?
Loading time. It sounds so obvious but everything has to load instantly. We live in an instant world now and users of any service will move on in seconds if your app, service or site takes more than a blink to appear. So engineer in lazy loading, compress those glossy .mp4 video files, stream data progressively, serve from a CDN network and replace images with pure css as much as possible.
So much of CRO is psychological. “A confused mind doesn’t buy” as some smart person once said. CRO isn’t always technical - brilliant copywriting and visual communication is one of the greatest drivers of conversion, yet so many companies fail at it. Create a compelling value proposition in the limited space you have, with the 1-2 seconds of attention customers will give you, and you will see results.brilliant copywriting and visual communication is one of the greatest drivers of conversion, yet so many companies fail at it. Create a compelling value proposition in the limited space you have, with the 1-2 seconds of attention customers will give you, and you will see results.
Failure to record and tag results of previous CRO experiments. Accurately recording and tagging past experiments allows new team members to easily search through past tests and rapidly help them build on their existing knowledge. Repeating tests that have already been done is a huge problem in the CRO industry and a massive waste of time and resources. Growthcurve® have developed our own solution to record and categorize the results of any experiments we’ve run for a client - so the exact objective, context, appearance and outcome can be understood.
5. What's your average timeline for delivering a campaign after you've signed a contract? What do you need to accomplish before you can share copies?
We launch a lot of startup businesses. No two are identical. The fastest we’ve pulled a startup launch campaign together is 1 week and this included onboarding the client. Some campaigns which involve launching in multiple markets simultaneously take longer, however a key part of the way we work is to ‘MVP all the things’ to get a minimal viable output live as fast as possible and iterate - it’s no different with campaigns.
6. Since your team focuses on many industries and offers multiple services, how do you decide which clients to take on? Are there marketing projects you won’t work on?
Our purpose at Growthcurve® is to ‘Grow businesses that matter to humanity’. We recognise that as Growth Marketers with our level of experience and expertise - we have a huge amount of influence over the companies people discover and interact with worldwide. We’re experts at getting people to adopt things, and to quote Uncle Ben in Spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility”.
We’re increasingly interested in helping businesses with a focus on sustainability, as well as businesses helping to solve difficult problems facing society, be it with banking in Africa or carbon offsetting in New York. We believe that private businesses can help change the world for the better, and indeed have the responsibility to. Generally speaking we are happiest onboarding disruptive businesses aimed at revolutionizing an industry and with global ambition, who we can help scale through successive funding rounds, to unicorn status IPOs and beyond.
The businesses we consider working with will at the very least need to have secured a solid seed round of ~$2M+, but from there on they have a partner in Growthcurve® with the proven experience to lead their growth the rest of the way.