Customer Led Growth – What it is & why you should be using it

 In Business, Client Advice, Customer Led Growth, Marketing

I’ve been frustrated with the state of digital marketing – and marketing in general – for years now. Success in marketing, at least for most, is limited to businesses and corporations with large advertising budgets. And worse, it doesn’t get your closer to knowing the needs of your target customer. Sure, if you throw enough spaghetti at a wall, some of it will stick, but who wants spaghetti stuck on a wall? There IS a better way. And, it all begins with the customer. Customer led growth isn’t terribly new, but it’s a different mindset. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll go over what it is and why you should be using it.

What is Customer Led Growth?

Customer Led Growth is simply using real customer data – your current customers, future customers and target audience – to make decisions on how best to serve them. For instance, by using current customer data, you can learn what their jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) are, what problems they have and how your product or service solves them. The same is true for future customers – by knowing what their JTBD are, you can better position your product or service (or even make enhancements or improvements) to reach them and convert them to paying customers.

Customer led growth (CLG) is not a one and done kind of thing – it’s ongoing and involves multiple stakeholders and decision makers within an organization. It’s a different mindset compared to the more traditional, funnel-based marketing approach. It requires buy in from everyone in the organization from the top down and takes time to implement given the nature of the method.


If you’ve been in business for a minute or more, you know that it’s nearly impossible to know what’s in the mind if your ideal customers. Or maybe you do. It’s likely though, for many businesses and organizations, that you don’t know how or why customers find you or stay with you, if you’re lucky enough to retain customers over time. CLG provides a way to keep current customers engaged with your business and gives them a sense that they have a role in the future. Customer led growth also helps obtain feedback from website visitors and audiences that contain consumers that are not yet customers – and engages them to find out what their JTBD are, what their needs are and how to go about reaching them. In short, it takes the guesswork out of reaching and converting new customers.

wall with sticky note feedback - customer led growth

How do you start with CLG?

Implementing a customer led growth strategy consists of five parts:

  1. Identify the problem you are solving
  2. Identify why you’re solving the problem
  3. State how you’ll know that you’ve solved the problem (IE metrics, measurement, etc.)
  4. Identify who you’re solving the problem for
  5. State the solution

From here, it’s about obtaining feedback from current customers, future customers & website visitors using survey tools of your choice. The most common survey tool, I’ve found, is Survey Monkey. It integrates with a lot of other services as well. MailChimp, as well as integrating with Survey Monkey, has it’s own survey tools included as part of the platform. This is particularly useful when you want to measure the results against your email analytics. However, it’s less about the platform you use and more about the questions you’re asking.

For instance, if emailing a survey ( if you can get an in-person interview that’s even better! ) ask the following questions:

  1. What has your experience been using our XYZ product/service. Are you happy with it?
  2. Have you tried any of our competitors? How did you solve your problem before using our XYZ product/service?
  3. What is your favorite feature of our XYZ product/service? Was it (list out 4 potential features)? What convinced you that our solution was best?

These are the baseline questions to ask – from there, you’ll want to get details about the person, how long they’ve used your product/service, etc. The purpose of this is to have enough data – real data – to analyze and act on. Ultimately  you want to get the information to complete this statement:

jobs to be done phrase - customer led growth

From here, you can clearly see what your customers (and potential customers) are looking for (motivation), what their pain points are (struggle) to help them achieve their goals (desired outcome). The process I’ve outlined is dramatically shortened with a lot of the nitty gritty detail missing, but you can definitely see where real customer data can help get to the heart of your marketing rather than assuming that you know what their pain points are. Further, by finding out how customers found your solution (or how potential customers are looking for your solution) you can better position your product/service to reach them at whatever part of the awareness ladder they’re at.

Customer led growth gets rid of the need for a sales funnel, which not every customer or potential customer falls into. Knowing what your customers need, what they want and how they are using your product/service can help you scale your business as well by knowing what “wish list” features your customers are looking for. CLG provides a way to guess or assume less about your customers and provide more actual value that they’re actually looking for. That’s powerful.

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