Gitwit’s new Head of Growth on tossing out your old marketing playbook
The only growth strategy that wins today is a diversified one
Over the last 5 years we’ve seen massive changes in the digital marketing landscape — from channel-specific privacy policies and targeting capabilities, to shifting ad buy models, to new content formats, plus ebbs and flows in consumer confidence. These changes have required our teams to develop new, unique approaches, shift tactics, and think more holistically about marketing engagements.
Instead of simply leveraging a handful of digital marketing channels, we’ve dug in and grown the competencies for strategies that integrate account based marketing, digital ads, organic social content, SEO/SEM, guerilla marketing and on-the-ground sales tactics.
With a diverse range of skills in-house, we are able to activate in vastly different ways to help clients achieve their goals — from seemingly hairbrained strategies to grab attention, like creating a fake docuseries to promote to execs at Amazon, to precision geo targeted campaigns supporting on-the-ground sales teams at tradeshows or on sales calls.
The backbone of each engagement is a rigorous dedication to tracking these efforts, monitoring the impact, and pivoting quickly when the data indicates the need to do so.
We see huge opportunities in the (shifting) future of marketing, and we’re excited to bring even more firepower to our incredible team with our latest hire.
Meet Shawn Friel, Head of Growth
Shawn brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his background leading growth strategies for B2B, Direct-to-Consumer, and SaaS companies including (Everly Health, Beachbody, Scaleworks, and A.T. Kearney).
We’d love to introduce you to him, and give him the chance to talk about how he views strategies in today’s climate — plus, nothing quite says ‘welcome to the team’ like a public introduction Q&A, so here it goes.
Shawn, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Pennsylvania native but I’ve lived all over the US, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, California, Texas. It’s been a wild ride. My wife and I have six kids, and we spend a lot of time outdoors and watching and playing sports.
Why did you choose to join the Gitwit team?
Gitwit has a strong tradition of delivering innovative marketing and product solutions for clients. I continue to be impressed with the level of talent and dedication the Gitwit team brings to each client engagement. I am very excited to help clients tackle a range of growth-oriented challenges.
What’s the difference between a growth strategy and a campaign?
A growth strategy entails a set of actions for a company to achieve a specific growth goal, such as increasing profits or market expansion. Launching a marketing campaign can be one important component of a growth strategy. Often other actions may be needed as well to drive growth, including product / experience enhancements, a refresh of brand and creative assets, pricing transformation, improved website, and better lead management. Launching a campaign will not fix a product-market fit issue, for example.
You have a huge variety of work experiences. Tell us a story about your favorite growth initiative you’ve worked on.
In my career as a consultant and in industry, I have had several opportunities to develop and execute growth strategies for companies at a time of transition. I enjoy working with teams to figure out how to drive growth when faced with these challenges – moving from a transactional to subscription business model, declining efficacy of a dominant marketing channel, unprofitable unit economics, limited marketing budget, etc. On one initiative, we were able to drive growth while fixing unit economics by executing a continuous process of testing and learning to refine messaging / creative, channel mix, pricing, and onsite experience.
You have a background creating and executing all different types of engagements from B2B, B2C, Direct-to-Consumer etc, what’s the number one mistake companies make when defining or implementing a growth strategy?
One common mistake I see is companies wait too long to get help with their growth strategy. Often teams think they should wait until the plan clearly isn’t working or the company gets to a certain size. That can lead to poor outcomes, ranging from a new venture languishing to generating significant cash burn and sunk costs.
What’s the number one challenge facing companies today in terms of growth?
One of the biggest challenges for companies is not being able to rely on the old playbook to drive growth. The digital marketing landscape continues to change, and consumer behavior and expectations are impacted by a variety of factors – macro-economic factors, new technology, and cultural norms. It is critical for companies to learn their playbook for success, by rapidly experimenting and iterating based on insights.
How has the changing landscape of digital marketing impacted companies pursuing growth strategies?
With the change in data privacy policies and increase in digital investment across industries (which drives up bids), companies cannot assume investing in digital campaigns alone will be enough to hit growth targets. Companies need to have product-market fit and deliver the right message to their target audience at the right time. For most companies, gone are the days of hitting growth goals by spending most of the marketing budget in one channel with mediocre campaigns.
Why do you think Gitwit is uniquely suited to help teams grow?
Gitwit is designed to help firms drive rapid growth through innovation, combining insights, product, and marketing. This combination enables the team to help clients create great experiences and stories. It’s a recipe to fast track product-market fit and drive breakthrough growth.