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  • Manfredi Sassoli

Non sexy growth: Channel Mastery

Growth is about quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, it is about understanding the market, user psychology, technology trends, automation, content, product strategy and growth loops, as well as macro loops like network effects, brand and lock-in. Growth is also about creating a product that sells itself with product-led growth strategies - but there is also product-led SEO and community-led growth. Pricing too can be a game changer. All these strategies are of course different by vertical and company size.

This complexity is real and it can be daunting.

At times it can be massively simplified by following the following thought process:

Step 1: understanding your distribution channels

There are only four ways a company can truly scale in a predictable way: paid performance ads, SEO + content, virality and Sales. (Old school brand building works too, but it is less reliable and takes more time).

Step 2: understanding your channel-fit opportunities

Is there active demand for your product? (if not Search channels are not an option)

Is your customer LTV below £1,000? (If not sales might not be an option)

Does your product have a high viral potential? (only certain categories apply, see this post for detail)

Does your product cost below £10? (if not paid performance channels won't be an option)

Can you carve a content niche of authority or activate UGC at scale? (if not SEO won't be an option)

Most companies grow on the back of only one channel. The chart below (courtesy of Reforge, is based on a sample of companies that reached 100M in ARR).

One single marketing channel can lead your company to huge scale.

Step 3: doubling down on the channel that works and execute flawlessly

I have personally seen multiple times how companies believe a channel is saturated and then, once world class execution is implemented, revenue from that same channel grows by over 100%, (at IG me and my team delivered a 300% growth in two years, delivering £200M in new customer revenue).

True channel mastery is rare however.

Based on my experience it takes at least 5 years of working on a channel every day, on top of talent and creativity, to truly master a channel. Popular literature says that becoming world class at anything takes 10,000 hours, that is 5 years of work Monday to Friday. A poll I ran on Linkedin delivered the same result, (small sample but most respondents were industry experts):

This has a few meaningful implications:

  1. Few people know what world class execution on a single channel looks like because they've never focused long enough in a single area

  2. Growth leaders are often generalists, so they might be quick to overlook certain channel opportunities

  3. Nobody can ever truly master more than one marketing channel (as digital channels evolve quickly and require constant updating)

Brilliant execution in a single area may not be sexy, it takes a certain amount of grind, but it can also be the best way to drive growth. There can also be great satisfaction in solving increasingly complex problems that help drive incremental growth. If a team of 10 people all work to deliver an extra 0.5% in efficiency per month, in a year that compounds to almost 90% growth. I find that sexy!

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