Find out what it takes to accelerate your professional services company from the Chief Marketing Officer at growth marketing agency Upthrust.
CMO Nicholas D’hondt and his team implement growth marketing strategies for leading companies such as Nespresso, Barco and Engie. Through tailored experiments, they train internal company teams to introduce the right growth marketing techniques.
Over 350 marketing leaders participated in Upthrust’s brand-new 2023 State of Growth assessment, powered by Pointerpro.
Packed with valuable insights and best practices, the study is available for download here.
To celebrate the launch of this new study, our Pointerpro team was invited to the Upthrust offices.
In a new video interview with our Creative Copywriter Jeroen De Rore, Nicholas shares his views on how companies can efficiently achieve sustainable growth through personalization, automation and lead generation.
Want to understand better first how the State of Growth study was built and why they got so many professionals to participate?
Find out about the unique features of our Pointerpro assessment and advice software.
Before we dive into the State of Growth study, can you tell us about your mission at Upthrust?
We are a growth marketing agency. We come up with clever marketing techniques to make companies grow as fast and sustainably as possible.
While we do ‘conventional’ things like Facebook ads or SEA, we’re also looking for innovative ways to help companies grow. We analyze where their audiences spend time and how we can reach them.
Through small experiments we test if these are indeed the right channels, messaging or even the right audience. Together, we then identify the ideal customers to grow the company.
What makes you different from other marketing consultancies?
Experimentation is key in business acceleration. We’re not the type of agency that will write a huge marketing plan, take a long time to prepare, then launch it for a couple of months and then come back to the client to say we performed well in terms of reach. That’s not us.
We have a holistic view. We come up with small experiments to find the best approach. Not a big test where you put all your eggs into one basket, but 100 egg baskets. Together, we find the basket that worked best and then we scale that. We put more effort into that one to make sure that you get the type of growth you want for your company.
We take ownership of the entire funnel. Of course, we care about reach and impressions, but we care more about what they bring to you as a company. We care about what happens during the acquisition or activation phases. Did you actually get clients, and did they stay?
When it comes to your State of Growth study, which learnings did you uncover?
What really surprised us is that ‘more’ doesn’t always equal ‘better’ results. Growth marketers think they need to experiment constantly: that they need to run 10-20 growth marketing experiments every week to be successful, but that’s not the case.
In our assessment, we found that the companies that achieve the most growth, don’t run 100 experiments. Instead, they consistently run 2-3 experiments per (bi)weekly cycle.
The thing that sets them apart is fewer experiments, but a consistent growth marketing process. During regular growth meetings they take the time to analyze and prioritize so they can scale efficiently.
If you compare that to companies that run 50 experiments every month without a consistent process, they score a lot worse in terms of achieving sustainable growth in our study.
Many professional service companies participated in your assessment. Which key B2B growth marketing challenges do you envision for them in the years to come?
The main challenges relate to people: engagement and communications, both externally and internally:
- Externally, hiring the right people and getting them on board.
- Internally, making sure that people within the company understand what growth marketing is and how important it is.
We notice many marketing leaders struggling with these challenges today.
Which steps can service companies take to fix this?
Make sure that you keep on thinking of new and relevant experiments. Many companies are stuck doing the things they’ve been doing before and don’t have an ideation process in place to continually come up with new experiments.
It’s actually an easy solve. The solution is to not limit the experiments only to your marketing team. Open this up to your entire company. Everyone should be able to come up with ideas, things they want to see fixed or that they want to experiment with.
Growth marketing requires you involve your entire organization:
- Sales needs a seat at the table to give input
- Development should be involved because from growth experiments you will discover which features are working to bring your organization to the next growth phase.
What were the criteria that made you gravitate towards Pointerpro?
What I liked a lot about Pointerpro is the possibility for personalized reports. Others are conducting surveys with, if you’re lucky, reports featuring generalized results. But I’m always looking to provide as much value as possible to our respondents for voluntarily sharing information with us.
Often, we think about lead magnets where people can leave their information and they get a whitepaper. You come across an ad online about something that we think “Ah very interesting, I can download it”. And the e-book turns out to be just a sales tri fold brochure. We’ve all been there and then you’re like ‘No, that’s not what I want.’
With Pointerpro, it’s the exact opposite:
- Respondents immediately get something in return. They might expect the general report, but suddenly they get a personalized report. Based on the info they entered, they receive valuable insights that are super relevant to them, along with feedback and benchmarking for each section they answered.
- What’s more, your company gets to position itself as a real expert and a thought leader in your space.
The valuable layers that Pointerpro offers us are something that we didn’t find in any other solution in the market. I’d really advise companies who want to experiment with interactive reports to use Pointerpro in their growth marketing campaigns.
Could you tell us about your experience using our tool for your new growth study?
We were very happy with the service we got from Pointerpro. In the beginning, there was a learning curve with all the customization options in both the questionnaire and report module. The good news is that you have an excellent support team for when things become a bit overwhelming.
When working with other tools, you often first need to make a support ticket. After waiting for a couple of days, you get an answer from someone who didn’t fully understand so you again need to clarify what you actually meant. You waste a lot of precious time there.
Whereas with Pointerpro, we really felt like your team truly understood what we wanted. They were also able to think with us and helped us to reach our goals with the report.
Every time we had questions, we could just reach out and they helped us find the best solution. Now when I look at the results of the State of Growth study that we created, I am super happy with how it turned out.
Do you have any learnings for other companies that want to run a similar study in their field?
Think backwards! We started with the questions, then we created the report, and finally we put all the rules in place to make it super relevant.
Next time, I’d start by focusing on the reports first. For instance, decide which blocks we want in there and which information we need to put in there for each result to offer even more personalized and valuable advice.
Once we have an idea of what we want this personalized report to look like, we’d then build or tweak the questionnaire to add even more value in there.
That makes sense. We help our clients discover what they want to get out of their assessment so they ask the right questions and pick the right variables to give specific feedback. A final fireball question, as we’re wrapping up here: Could you describe Pointerpro in 3 words?
The 3 keywords that I associate with Pointerpro are:
- Personalization: You have a layer of personalization on top of a regular report, which is super valuable.
- Automation: It takes the information from the questionnaire and automatically creates personalized reports.
- Lead generation: Many companies are still just creating boring whitepapers with information that’s not relevant for specific audiences. With Pointerpro, you create personalized e-books and reports that are extremely relevant.
Thanks for this interview and your time, Nicholas! We appreciate you sharing all your valuable insights.
Watch our full video interview with Nicholas below: