Growth Marketing

Struggling with User Acquisition? Here’s the key…

Tasked with driving growth and acquiring customers?

Struggling and think you can do better? You are not alone.

Since you are a GROWTH GUY, let’s talk data…

57% of marketers say that customer acquisition is the most important part of their marketing expenditure and when asked to share their biggest hurdle for growth, nearly half pointed to the rising acquisition costs from online and social advertising networks

Now, as a Growth Marketer, you have many tools, tactics and strategies to help grow your business. But you need to decide where to invest the resources. This could include growing market share, increasing customer share of wallet or improving churn rates. 

But for many companies, acquisition tops the priority list.

And why shouldn’t it?

Doesn’t take an MBA to grasp that without new customers, a company will eventually grind to a halt.

 Businesses cannot survive or thrive by only focusing on their existing customers. 

Then you must also know that given the post-pandemic digital explosion, there’s access to more channels to reach and interact with customers than ever before. 

It’s never been easier to acquire new customers, but it’s also never been easier for your competition to take them away, either. 

That means you have to stay consistently on top of your game, despite the many challenges you face day to day.

On your sleepless nights, you must constantly think about these questions-

(If you aren’t, you should 🙂 )

  • How do we bring in new customers – or convince people to buy our products?
  • How do we then scale and gain lakhs of users? 
  • How can we make the process cost effective and easy to accomplish?
  • How do you prioritize which channel to use when & how, and for how long ?
  • How do you set up a process to drive and scale acquisition?

But when talking about user acquisition, growth marketers automatically get in the mode of running ads.

Sound familiar?

What’s the problem with running ads, you ask?

  •  It’s 2021. There is zero competitive edge to your secret mantra of google or Facebook Ads which form your “Acquisition Model” as there is no strategic angle to it which can’t be replicated in a jiffy by your competitors.
  • Every marketing team, from small startups to major corporations, understands the necessity of advertising on platforms like Google and Facebook. But as more and more companies advertise on those networks, it inevitably leads to higher costs.

And guess what? Higher costs are not translating into higher conversions.

  • Also, you end up ignoring the entire journey that a user goes through when an ad is shown to a prospect.
  • You don’t know how many ad impressions you will end up wasting your money on till your user finally transacts 

Sorry to burst your bubble.

Whether you’re a company of five or 5,000, having a roadmap for customer acquisition is a smart move.

But a solid customer acquisition strategy should be four things: SUSTAINABLE, FLEXIBLE, TARGETED, AND DIVERSIFIED.

 How can you develop the right acquisition model?

Sadly, there’s no silver bullet or magic incantation to capture customers.

But there is PLENTY to learn from experienced growth experts who have been there, done that.

Here are a few fundamental things to keep in mind according to experts for acquisition. 

By the end, you’ll have an idea of how to build an acquisition strategy so agile, it’ll withstand the test of time and ever-changing trends.


Acquisition Channels & their Dynamics

  • Understand that your consumers already have habits.
  •  Posting organically on social media may seem like shouting into a void, and with 3.8 billion active users. The key is accessing the right networks — and this all comes back to consumer habits.

They spend time on certain platforms for specific purposes. 

You don’t scroll on LinkedIn and find ads about the new Nike sneakers…if lucky, you might find ads for jobs at Nike. 

  • Every acquisition channel is built on top of these existing habits. So identify your consumer segments and their habits.

If you’re targeting an audience mostly comprised of men, Pinterest would have little value for you as only 14% of men use Pinterest.


The unfortunate thing with most acquisition models is that the question -TILL WHAT TIME DO WE USE THE CHANNEL? gets missed out on.

  • Ensure you know till what time to use the channels. If you don’t have a set end date for your acquisition campaign, you don’t have the right model set up as you need to monitor the derailment in consumer behaviour at regular intervals to remain sustainable.
  • Accept that You have no control over that channel & its dynamics. You can only exploit past learnings.
  • So,reduce the dependability on only ONE channel to build a real acquisition model.

Acquisition Channels & Products

  • Consumer’s attention keeps shifting, new habits are formed. A product needs to be evolved to fit a channel. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. 
  • Forcing a product to a channel doesn’t work. Facebook games in desktop v/s facebook games in app. Desktop games on Facebook were extremely popular like Zynga’s Farmville. Seems like ages ago, right ? Because when users shifted from desktop to the app, the game didn’t evolve with this shift and now those games are history!Whenever a new acquisition channel comes into the market,

Go back to your org’s strategy and ASK:

  • Is it going to fundamentally shift my consumers’ behaviour?If yes, revamp your product to fit the channel to remain sustainable!

Acquisition Channels & Business Models

  • Choose channels that fit your models.
  • Identify your ARPU (Average Revenue Per Users)

Then compare that with your CAC( Customer Acquisition Cost)   and choose your channel.

  • If Low ARPU – You can afford Low CAC channels &  vice versa.
  • What worked for others MAY NOT work for you! Referral Strategy worked wonders for Airbnb given their ARPU and other parameters…..might not be the case for you.
  • Content companies keep their CAC in cents, v/s B2C companies which can afford 100-1000 CAC, B2B Sales can afford way higher than that.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building growth-oriented acquisition models.

To decode more such growth strategies for your org and scale acquisition with leading experts at top companies-

Apply now to be on the waitlist for our next cohort!

And join the growth marketing bootcamp with other marketers eager to learn together and boost their careers in GROWTH. Here’s the link to join the program and learn from growth experts who have created astonishing growth loops for their company:

Harneet Bhalla, Program Director at Xpert
He leads Growth at Glance|ex-1mg. He has empowered more than 5 Fortune 500 companies, multiple start-ups, celebrities and thousands of others through his growth marketing insights. Has been an active speaker at various forums and conferences including TEDx GLAU and IIT Bombay. Featured on a number of podcasts across USA, UK, Canada and India.

Growth Marketing

Why and How to build the right Growth Mindset?

First, let’s talk about being the “That Growth Guy” in an organization. Off the bat, it is an extremely challenging role and is not your usual 9 to 5 desk job and take your regular paycheck home kind of situation. In reality, you assume the role of an entrepreneur in residence as your goal is the same as that of the CEO, you’re essentially solving the same problem-driving growth and increasing the customer base!

You can’t bluff growth. You are either driving growth or you aren’t. 

In other words, it is an accountability driven role where your good old growth excel sheet becomes your friend, your enemy and your manager.

A million variables affect your metric.

And pointing fingers won’t do you any good. You’re the go-to person when it comes to fixing the problems, and that’s why you can spot a growth guy even if you are 100 feet away! They are always poking their noses in other departments …

In the words of the former vice-chair of General Electric, “Growth and Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”

If you’re still reading and not scared away yet, it means you must really like this field!

Given the fair share of challenges that the role carries, it also brings with itself a multitude of benefits. Everyone in the organization knows you and you have a constant spotlight on you as your goal supersedes the ULTIMATE goal that the organization has. This direct flashlight, no matter how big the org is, that follows you gives way to a great degree of networking and tons of opportunities. You can also quite logically leverage the results that you’re delivering to negotiate a higher compensation, appraisals or other benefits.

So what does it mean to have a growth mindset?

While normal marketers use a ‘let’s throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks’ approach, having a growth mindset means using a methodical approach based on data. You talk to customers, figure out what the wants, challenges and needs of customers are and make decisions based on that.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you’re on the right track as these are a few of the challenges when it comes to growth mindsets in organizations:

  1. Is your organization focussing on month over month growth or quarterly growth?

Growth driven people and MOM results don’t go hand in hand. If your MOM growth graph is heavily fluctuating in comparison to your rivals’s smooth “ swoosh” quarterly growth graph,  it’s a HUGE red flag in terms of mindset for your organization. If not changed, down the lane it can lead to a heaven and hell difference in numbers.

2. For bringing in growth, are you using tactics or strategies?

If you’re experiencing exponential growth, good for you, but sit down and ask yourself whether you found a tactic or a strategy. Because while a tactic is a hack that will show instant, too good to be true results, these will be short-lived and will be followed by a huge dip in growth, as it’s only a matter of a few months until your competitors catch up.

On the other hand, a strategy, which unlike tactics, is harder to replicate, will go a long way and separate you from your competitors in the long run. Developing unique strategies and not relying on instantly gratifying tactics is what differentiates a growth guy from the rest.

If you think about it, a growth mindset almost means having more in common with engineers than with traditional marketers. That is because most of the principles growth hackers work by, such as testing, iterating and basing decisions off of data, are modelled after the engineering world.

3. Is your thinking towards results linear or recurring?

A person devoid of a growth mindset thinks linearly and takes decisions irrespective of their impacts on other areas of business and gets linear and often disappointing results in the longer run.

The recurring approach leads to your results compounding on different metrics and having exponential growth come back to you in the long run as opposed to linear results.

Thus, the ‘Me and mine’ mindset doesn’t really go hand in hand with that of growth, bringing us to the next question!

4. Is your organization working in silos or is it cross-functional?

While agricultural silos refer to the separation and storage of assets vital to a farm, organizational silos refer to the separation of a different kind of asset vital to an organization: people.

 When a specific department, say marketing, works efficiently, like a well-oiled machine. One would think this is an obvious plus for the business as a whole, even though it could be that half of the leads provided are junk. The marketing department might think that this problem is not their headache and needs to be dealt with by the salespeople as their job is only to get the leads!

Hence, when employees in one department fail to interact effectively and efficiently with those in other departments, business operations can start to suffer, resulting in lost revenue and even turf wars between departments.

Having a growth mindset means that you have to get down to the root of the problem–find out why the leads are not converting, get feedback from sales, etc. You need to ensure cross-functionality and that the different teams and departments are not independent entities simply pursuing their own targets.

The answers to these questions are crucial to ensure that the people hired for manufacturing growth will do their job effectively. Because if the answers are the former of each choice, neither Sundar Pichai nor Jeff Bezos will bring you growth.

To develop a growth mindset and engineer lasting results is clearly not an easy task and there is no straitjacket solution. This is where the growth marketing bootcamp comes in and takes you closer to achieving the outlook needed for generating growth in your organization. To gain in-depth, practical knowledge and have one on one conversations with leaders in the fields of growth and marketing, join our next cohort to give your career the boost it needs!

Harneet Bhalla, Program Director at Xpert
He leads Growth at Glance|ex-1mg. He has empowered more than 5 Fortune 500 companies, multiple start-ups, celebrities and thousands of others through his growth marketing insights. Has been an active speaker at various forums and conferences including TEDx GLAU and IIT Bombay. Featured on a number of podcasts across USA, UK, Canada and India.