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How to start experimenting with growth marketing: An overview of the G.R.O.W.S. process

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In this article, we’ll introduce you to growth marketing as a driving force for regenerative growth in social impact startups. We’ll look at how the G.R.O.W.S. process can save you precious time and resources, while helping to grow your startup effectively.

We break down what growth marketing is and each step of the G.R.O.W.S. process. We’ll give practical examples at each stage to help you optimise your growth for maximum social impact.

We’ve even included our free Growth Experiment Planning Tool at the end of the article, so you can start running your own experiments.


What we’ll cover

  • What is growth marketing?
  • Traditional marketing VS Growth marketing
  • The 70/30 Experimentation Rule
  • Experimenting with growth marketing
  • How Lean Startup methodology inspired Growth Marketing
  • The G.R.O.W.S. process
  • Getting Started with Growth Marketing


Growth Marketing Experimentation Glossary

Before we dive right into what growth marketing is, let’s get a quick rundown of some key terms that’ll pop up in this article:

  • Experiment – Testing out different marketing techniques, product features & brand messages in a rapid, data-driven manner, to identify which ones are the most effective at driving user growth and impact.
  • Growth Cycle – The lifetime of the G.R.O.W.S. process from start to finish (steps 1-5).
  • Growth Lead – A dedicated team member that makes growth the central focus for everyone in your startup, they are responsible for embedding the process into your team and running experiments.
  • Growth Lever – The immediate improvements and processes you can implement to drive growth for your startup – these are quick wins for your business that have the most impact.
  • Hypothesis – The testable solution to improve your startup’s growth by focusing on improving one key area of your business. 
  • Iterative – The process of running multiple experiments where the results from the previous experiment inform the starting point for the next one.


What is Growth Marketing?

Growth Marketing is the process of running a series of experiments and implementing processes over a short period of time. It aims at growing your company’s reach and revenue through cost-effective, creative strategies. 

By approaching your marketing strategy as a series of experiments with a quick turnaround, social impact startups can discover the best methods for optimising their growth without being cost and resource intensive. 

And Growth marketing is about approaching your growth with a curious mindset, with the focus on one key area where your business can improve, then testing this assumption in the shortest time possible. 

We’ve touched on it here, but let’s now look at what sets growth marketing apart from traditional methods.


Traditional Marketing VS Growth Marketing

We’ll start here with an offbeat similarity between traditional and growth marketing. They’re both about assumptions. Marketers need to make assumptions about how potential customers will respond to their value proposition and product, that’s kind of the whole idea behind a marketing strategy.

But, the main difference here is what we do with these assumptions. Traditional marketers sometimes run the risk of basing their entire strategy on assumptions they’ve made and put this into a lengthy, expensive campaign. In these cases, they are essentially trying to predict the outcome of a constantly shifting market. 

So is this the best option for a newly formed social startup looking to increase their reach and steadily grow their business?

Of course not. Most startups need to focus on staying afloat, let alone run an expensive campaign that may not yield the results they assumed. The time and energy of such campaigns just isn’t worth the potential growth your business could see.

This is where growth marketing comes in. Like we’ve mentioned, growth marketing is the iterative process of running a series of rapid experiments and measuring their success over a short period of time. 

By doing so, your startup can effectively test your hypothesis and measure outcomes far quicker and adapt to a changing market. And the benefit here for early startups is growth marketing is designed to be fast, efficient and cost effective. 

So by beginning to experiment with growth marketing, social impact startups can have a faster time to market, a higher return on investment and the capacity to scale marketing activity that yields positive results quickly when compared to traditional marketing methods.

We’ve only scratched the surface of growth marketing here but if you’re feeling extra curious, we delve deeper into ethical marketing and social impact in Ethical Growth Marketing 101.

So you’re interested in experimenting with growth marketing? Great! But how do you decide how much time to spend on this and maximise your growth potential?

The 70/30 Experimentation Rule

The main blocker for early startups and novice growth marketers is the thought that running experiments will be too costly and time consuming. Luckily we already know that isn’t the case. 

But you can’t base your entire growth strategy on experimentation alone. That’s why it’s really important to follow the 70/30 rule when it comes to experimentation. 

When planning your growth strategy, you’re aiming to identify the main growth levers you can pull to gain early traction and quick wins for your growth.

70% of your time, resource and budget investment should focus on pulling the 1 or 2 growth levers we’ve identified at the growth strategy stage. 

By doing so, we can focus on driving early traction that creates runaway momentum and motivation for your team.

Spend the remaining 30% on embedding the growth marketing mindset and experimentation process into your startup. 

This is where we begin running rapid experiments across product, brand, sales and marketing to create a roadmap to diversify our growth levers. It’s all about optimising your growth here, as we’re mitigating the risk of our early growth levers reaching saturation point. 

By taking the time to embed the growth marketing process into your startup, you’ll instil an innovation mindset that unlocks the next big growth lever towards and beyond product-market fit. 

Particularly in the early days of a startup, this laser focus is critical in coordinating limited budgets, resources and stakeholders to focus on what matters the most.

Now that we’ve got an idea of how much time we should devote to experimentation, let’s see what that looks like in growth marketing.


Experimenting with Growth Marketing

It might seem daunting but the real success in growth marketing comes from following the process over results. 

When beginning to experiment with growth marketing, it’s important to remember that you’ll be running consecutive experiments over short periods of time. 

So, if your first, second, or even seventh experiment doesn’t yield the results you expect, that’s totally fine – it’s part of the process.

According to Grow with Ward for first time growth marketers (or growth hackers as they put it) having 1 in every 10 experiments succeed is considered a great result. For seasoned growth marketers, this can increase to 1 in 3 experiments

We’ve thrown the word around a few times now, but what is experimenting with growth marketing? 

Let’s say you’ve noticed that the open rate on your newsletter has steadily dropped over the past 3 months. You’ve highlighted the issue and decide to A/B test the next newsletter using a different subject line. 

The following month you find that Subject line B increased your open rate 30%. Using the data collected from the A/B test, you now know how to effectively increase your engagement with your community and reach a wider audience. Congratulations! You’ve just run a successful experiment. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean your newsletter is now perfect, you might then realise you’re losing engagement and subscribers once they’ve clicked through. So it’s back to the drawing board for another hypothesis and experiment. 

This is the essence of growth marketing. You consider one key pain point in your business that you can improve. Then, look at what action you can take in the shortest amount of time, using the least resources and within your team’s capabilities to tackle this issue.

Before we get into the process behind how you actually run growth experiments, it’s important to consider where the idea of growth marketing came from in the first place.


How Lean Startup methodology inspired Growth Marketing

It’s no surprise that growth marketing is a great fit for scaling growth for startups. The base principles are inspired by lean startup methodology, as set out by Eric Reis. The lean startup is the most fundamental framework that has taken over the startup world over the last decade.

The principles of Build, Measure, Learn are the core of lean startup. Taking an iterative approach to your ideas, being open to testing your hypothesis and knowing when to pivot is crucial to your startup’s success.

And it’s now adopted in the marketing world and, more specifically, in growth marketing channels. The method at the centre of growth marketing is the G.R.O.W.S. process.


The G.R.O.W.S. process

Adopted from the GrowthTribe, the G.R.O.W.S. process is the core process that every growth marketer or team needs to adopt, over anything else. Developing from the lean startup model, it’s the blueprint used to efficiently optimise your startup’s growth.

And the process is set out in simple 6 simple steps; 

  1. Gather Ideas 
  2. Rank Ideas
  3. Outline Experiments
  4. Work, Work, Work 
  5. Study Data (see where we get G.R.O.W.S.)
  6. Repeat

Like we’ve mentioned, the important thing isn’t to spend weeks pouring resources into a lengthy campaign. It’s about giving yourself over to the process and continuously coming up with new hypotheses, testing them out and determining what works and what doesn’t. 

Typically, the entire process should last anywhere between 2 weeks and up to 2 months. But we’ll get to that later.

The key here is embedding the G.R.O.W.S. process into everything your startup does. Your priority is following this process of generating fresh ideas, continuously analysing the data and learning from the results. 

In doing so, you’ll gain a far better understanding of how to optimise your strategy for growth, without wasting resources.


So what makes the process so important to social impact startups?

While following this process, it’s essential for growth marketers to have a central metric to optimise for.

We can see here that in the centre of the iterative process, we have social impact. This is particularly important for you Changemakers. Since the ultimate goal of your startup is creating maximum impact in balance with profitability. 

Channelling social impact at the centre of this, then, ensures that your growth is always built around the key purpose of your business and help to push our society towards a regenerative economy. 

Now that we’ve got an overview of the process, let’s look at each step in more detail.

1. Gather Ideas

The first step of the process is to gather ideas. This is where you’ll sit down and consider one specific pain point where you see an opportunity for growth and generate ideas to tackle this. 

We’re really wanting to consider what specific value we’re offering to potential customers or partners, at a specific part of the funnel. Then, we want to look at how we are planning to communicate this to them. 

 It may seem obvious but a pivotal step is to gather your team and allow everyone to give their input in the planning process. 

It’s important here to have a diverse range of opinions in the session. In our 10 Step Masterclass to achieve growth in 2023, our co-founder Moh suggests: 

“The Gathering ideas stage usually consists of a 2 to 3 hour meeting including multiple team members that are cross departmental…you as a Growth Lead have the responsibility to choose the best people who can show a fair representation of your diverse team and mindsets that could feed into growth ideas and hypotheses.”

So It’s useful here to use a collaborative tool for brainstorming. At Zebra, we use Miro Boards as a great way of getting everyone in the team involved. And the added bonus is having all of your ideas collected in a single board that’s accessible for everyone. 

Useful tip: Using a Miro Board is a great way of gathering your ideas. We’d also suggest keeping notes throughout the session and finalising this in a report to make the next step easier!

You don’t want to spend too long gathering ideas. Choice is good, but don’t get bogged down on the small stuff! We’d recommend this step taking 1 – 2 days, including your meeting and follow up report.

2. Rank Ideas

So you’ve found the focus for your experiment and had an insightful brainstorming session with your team and an abundance of great ideas to build your growth?

Fantastic! You’re now ready to take those ideas and rank those ideas.

So how do you know a good idea from a bad one? Just kidding, there’s no bad ideas. But there are ideas that can be easily achieved and have a big impact on your growth. 

To rank ideas, we Zebras recommend using the I.C.E. matrix (Yep, it’s another acronym). The I.C.E. matrix consists of Impact, Confidence and Ease. 


The I.C.E. matrix is a way to weigh the different hypotheses you’ve gathered. You do this by measuring the impact it could have on your growth against a potential ease level and the ‘confidence’ of your team. 

Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

Not to be confused with the social impact you’re trying to achieve, the Impact you’re measuring is on the growth of your business. There’s no use in focusing on something that will bring little results. Remember, we’re optimising for the most efficient growth in the shortest amount of time – think big!

What we mean by Confidence is does your team really believe that this idea will have a strong impact on your growth. Or rather, do you truly have the confidence that this idea will work?

While Ease is where you ask yourself how complex is the idea and if you can achieve (or prove) it within the short timeframe.

When using the I.C.E. matrix, it’s important to remember the 20-80 rule. You want to put in 20% effort to achieve 80% output. We look at this in more detail in our previous article.

You’ll want to have a similar meeting as when gathering ideas and once you’ve settled on the best hypothesis to test, you’re ready for the next step.

3. Outline Experiments

Now that you’ve got a shiny new hypothesis and you’re itching to test it out, we need to outline the experiment. This is another key stage, particularly for the Growth Lead. 

For this stage, you’ll need to clearly outline what the purpose of your experiment is. It’s best to do this in a 1 – 2 page report. The key things to note here are:

  • The purpose of the experiment.
  • What is the timeline of the experiment?
  • What are the outcomes?
  • What is the main metric you’re measuring for validation/non validation?

This stage not only solidifies your idea but it should inform the implementation stage. 

It’s important here to go into detail of what you expect through the experiment and clearly communicate this. This way, every team member involved has an easy understanding of how the experiment will run.

We know we’re laying it on thick here. But, particularly for new growth marketers, having a strong reference point throughout your early (and future) experiments will keep you on the right track and having your experiment running smoothly.

Along with the previous 2 steps, we’d suggest spending no more than 1 week planning. But make sure not to rush through the steps and only proceed to testing your hypothesis once everyone has a clear understanding of your outline.

Just last week we outlined 3 experiments for one of our clients and our Senior Growth Marketer, Patrick, sent a Loom video detailing the outlines to all team members involved in the project. Loom’s another handy tool for growth marketers that ensures your team is aligned even when working across departments at a busy startup.

Now, let’s get to work!


4. Work, Work, Work

This is the step we’ve all been waiting for. It’s now time to run your experiment and test your hypothesis. 

The reason why there’s three works is that it signifies the pace you’ll be working at. This is the lengthiest step but it’s where working fast creates results.

Moh discusses this further at our 10 Step Masterclass to achieve growth in 2023:

“This is where speed matters in growth marketing. It’s about asking yourself how can we execute as fast as possible and gather the minimum amount of data in the shortest time to validate or invalidate our hypothesis…In all the other stages of the process you want to zoom out and take your time. But within step 4, you want to try to execute as fast as possible.”

So having a strong outline for reference, you’re really wanting to put a focus on working quickly to gather the minimum amount of data. 

Of course, we’re not saying you want as little data as possible. Rather, you’re gathering as much data as needed to prove (or disprove) your hypothesis within the time limit of the experiment. 

Depending on the experiment, this step should last between 1 – 3 weeks. For first time growth marketers, you wouldn’t want to take longer than. The important thing when starting out is that you’re embedding the G.R.O.W.S. process into your way of working and learning how to use the process to achieve maximum growth.

It’s also important during this stage to focus on the work, but of course you’ll be wanting to meet regularly to review the progress of the experiment. 

We’d recommend a weekly meeting per experiment you’re running. This ensures all team members involved are aligned and you’re keeping on schedule as set out in your outline from step 3. There’s also the added benefit that you might already be able to find some insights that’ll inform the next step of the process. 

If you want to learn more about how you can achieve your growth goals this year, why not sign-up to our 2-part Masterclass running at the end of February.

5. Study Data

Congratulations, you’ve now run your first experiment! The hard part’s over and it’s time to look at your results. 

Studying data is crucial to growth marketing – how else are you going to validate your experiments?

This is a more straightforward (but pivotal) step. Here, you’ll analyse the data that you’ve measured over the length of the experiment in step 4. What we’re really doing here is finding out if your hypothesis is proven.

Remember – if you find the results invalidate your hypothesis, that’s totally normal! The focus is on studying the data to gather insights and key learnings that will inform your next growth cycle or experiment. 

The important thing here is remaining curious and open to understanding the results. If the results aren’t what you expected – why? What could you do differently? What have you learned about your target segment? Or have you discovered something in your value proposition that isn’t being communicated? 

These questions aren’t exhaustive, of course. They’re just a way to get you to start thinking about how growth marketing uses data to continuously improve how you manage your growth. 

As a Growth Lead, it’s your job to collect these results and share them with your team. Collaboration is key here, again (notice a theme here?). 

For the final week of the cycle, we’d recommend taking time to collate the results and have a retrospective meeting with everyone involved in the experiment. This allows you to consider what worked, reflect on your insights and plan how these results will inform your next cycle.

6. Repeat

We’re sure you know where we’re going with this but it felt rude to leave the final step of the G.R.O.W.S process out. The last step in the growth cycle is to do it all over again. 

Of course, you’re not just starting from scratch, you’re now armed with solid data from the previous cycle and have a clearer understanding of the next logical steps for future experiments.

For the entire cycle (steps 1 – 5) of the G.R.O.W.S. process, the total time spent is really dependent on the size of your team and the maturity of you adopting growth marketing. Usually, this spans from between 1 – 2 months per cycle period. 

And you can, of course, run multiple experiments at the same time. But for first time growth marketers, we’d highly recommend beginning with just 1 experiment at a time. 

This will really help embed the process into your startup, whilst shifting the mindset of your team. And, in time, this will allow for greater results.


Growth Marketing & the G.R.O.W.S. Process Recap

So let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve discussed in this article:

  • Growth Marketing is the process of running a series of experiments and implementing processes over a short period of time
  • Growth marketing can offer a faster time to market, a higher ROI and isn’t as cost or resource intensive as traditional marketing
  • You want to focus 70% of your time resource & budget on pulling the growth levers that gain traction for your startup and 30% embedding the growth marketing mindset and experimenting
  • Lean Startup methodology of Build, Measure, Learn inspired growth marketing
  • Growth marketers use the G.R.O.W.S. process to optimise their growth
  • The 6 steps to the G.R.O.W.S. process are Gather Ideas, Rank Ideas, Outline Experiments, Work x3, Study data
  • A full cycle of the process should last between 1 – 2 months
  • First time growth marketers should run 1 experiment at a time
  • Proving 1 in every 10 experiments when starting out is a success
  • Focus on one key area to improve, don’t just look for maximum results
  • Collaboration is key to the success of experiments and including teams from across departments generate better hypothesis
  • Embedding the process into your startup and adopting a curious mindset will allow you to optimise your growth towards maximum social impact


Getting Started with Growth Marketing

Now that you’re clear on what growth marketing is and we’ve talked you through the G.R.O.W.S. process, let’s see how you can get started. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo impact founder or a growing team of Changemakers. You can start experimenting with growth marketing right away! 

Of course, the first step is to introduce the idea of growth marketing to your team and familiarise them with the concept (this article should come in handy!). 

If you’re wanting to expand your own understanding, we’d recommend doing some further research and Grow with Ward gives some great insights into the subject.

Then, it’s important to appoint your Growth Lead, if you don’t already have one. They are responsible for running the experiments, leading ideation sessions and ensuring your team is aligned throughout the projects. Plus they’ll keep track of your progress and results. 

When your team is inspired and ready to get experimenting, we recommend making sure you have the right tools for the job. We’ve already mentioned some of our favourites for the different steps of the process. 

We know that getting started is the most daunting part of the process. That’s why we’ve also created our free Growth Experiment Planning Tool

This includes everything you need to start mapping out your own experiments. You’ll receive:

  • Hypothesis Planner and ICE Scoring Template
  • Experiment Tracker Template
  • Ideation Miro Board Template

And that’s it! You’re now ready to start optimising your growth for maximum social impact with growth marketing.

Ready to experiment with growth marketing but don’t know where to start? We’d love to collaborate! Get in touch to discuss your startup’s growth today.

B-Excited: How can your business become a B Corp?

B-Excited: How can your business become B Corp?

Taking you through the process now that Zebra Growth is B Corp certified

Ever wondered how a business becomes a B Corp? In this article we’ll cover:

  • Zebra Growth’s B Corp Status and what it means to us
  •  What is a B Corp?
  • How are B Corp businesses changing the way we think of business?
  • How can you become a B Corp?
  • The process of becoming a B Corp
  • BIA: The free tool tool for assessing your impact
  • Our 10 favourite B Corp certified businesses

Are you a social impact startup or scaleup and looking to enhance your commitments to social progress? Maybe you’re just genuinely curious about all these companies that suddenly have a shiny B graphic slapped on their website. 

Either way, your curiosity has put you in search of what a B Corp is and now you’ve found yourself asking: how does a business become a B Corp?

In that case, we’ve got you covered. Before we answer all those burning questions, we’ve got a small announcement of our own (3 guesses what it is).

Image confirming this business is B Corp Certified


Gather the herd: Zebra Growth has an Announcement

At Zebra Growth, we’re all about championing the changemakers who want to bring balance to the business world. Our focus is to educate and co-create with social impact startups and scaleups, so that we can achieve a regenerative economy. 

And we’re at our best when we’re working with the social pioneers who are making a real positive impact on humanity and the planet. But as a growing startup ourselves, it’s important to acknowledge our own progress.
That’s why we’re absolutely thrilled to announce we are now a certified B Corporation!



What does the B Corp certification mean to us?

It’s a huge honour for us to achieve B Corp status. We are humbled to be counted among the many other businesses that are leading a global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy. 

And since zebras love to travel in herds, it’s no surprise that we believe in the power of community. We can’t wait to see what new connections and collaborations will come from our B Corp certification. 

A huge shout out to our team here at Zebra for helping us get to this point, and by truly living by the values of what it means to be a B Corp certified company.  

Of course, this is just a small step to shifting our collective mindset towards a regenerative economy. We’re just one of thousands of changemakers who want to use business as a force for good. It’s going to take time, collaboration and resilience but we’re excited to be part of the change.

With that out the way, let’s dive into what a B Corp is and find out how it could be the next step for your business.



What is a B Corp?

Before we jump straight into what a B Corp certified business is, we should start with who does the certifying –  B Lab.
B Lab is a non profit network that focuses on changing the global economy for the better of people and planet. Their mission is to change businesses into a force for good. In their own words, “B Lab creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that shift the behaviour, culture, and structural underpinnings of capitalism.”

So where do B Corps come into play?

Certified B Corps are companies verified by B Lab that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. 
This isn’t to say these companies are perfect, but rather they have clear processes in place for creating positive impact, safeguarding employees and customers while ensuring they balance profitability with purpose.




Image showing text: One small part of a community of changemakers, driving towards a regenerative economy.

B Corp status isn’t the B-all and end-all

So you’re a social impact startup or scaleup and you’re focused on making a change to the business world? That’s amazing! Now, you’re looking for the next step to commit to social progress – what better way than to become a B Corp?

Don’t get us wrong, becoming a B Corp isn’t the answer to all the world’s (or your business’s) problems. But the end goal here isn’t to become B Corp certified (which might sound weird since you’re going for a B Corp certification). 

Rather, it’s about taking the time to delve deep into your business and its practices. By truly understanding how your business operates, the impact you have and what changes need to be made, you’ll create a more positive impact for all stakeholders and across your business. 

And by doing so, you’re using your business as a force for good. Then, you can make a real commitment to these practices and solidify this with your B Corp certification. 

Like we said, becoming a B corp isn’t the end game. It’s a step towards challenging the degenerative ‘business as usual’ model and balancing profit with purpose. And we do this by being one small part of a community of changemakers, driving towards a regenerative economy. 
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how your regenerative business can take the steps to become a B Corp.



The process of becoming a B Corp

Becoming a B Corp takes time. Like a proper long time. Be prepared to spend a lot of time researching and revising, then re-revising your processes and implementing changes. For us Zebras, the total process took 18 months. 

But don’t get us wrong – that’s the whole point. As we’ve mentioned, you’re taking an in-depth look at how your business operates and finding areas to improve. 

And the payoff is worth it. The real value of becoming a B Corp certified company is by going through the process and discovering how your business can be better and then making those changes.
Whether you’re whisked straight to certification (it’s not likely but who knows!) or you miss the mark, there will always be something within your business practices that can be improved, and that’s kinda the whole idea behind the B Corp certification.

So what’s the steps to becoming a B Corp?

B Lab has plenty of resources to help you on your way to receiving certification. And the actual steps to become a B Corp are pretty straightforward, if lengthy;

Confirm you can certify

If you have at least 12 months of operations and are a for profit business in a competitive market, good news! You can apply for B Corp certification.

B Impact Assessment (BIA)

B Lab offers a free, confidential online tool to help you assess your business – The B Impact Assessment (BIA). Here you will assess all the areas of your business in great detail (we’ll even cover it in greater detail, below) and once completed, B Lab will give your business its impact score once completed.

Image showing text: Over 6000 B Corp businesses, 1 unifying goal.

Improving your Score

The next step is to look at improving your score, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time reassessing where you can improve your business practices.

To achieve B Corp status, businesses need an impact score of at least 80 to certify as a B Corp and this is rare the first time round.  B Lab offers useful tools within the assessment to help highlight pain points and help with prioritising tasks.

Remember: Improving your score means improving your business practices, that’s why the process is so important. Focus on improving how you operate and not just fixing things to achieve a better score.

Meet the Legal Requirement

Once you’ve improved your impact score to reach 80+, you’ll need to make amendments to your governing documents. 
The certification requires you to adopt specific wording to your Articles of Association. Reinforcing your commitments to consider the impact of all business decisions for all stakeholders in your  business. (yet another incentive to push progress!)

Submit & Review

Hooray! Now you’re ready to submit. You’ll need to fill in B Lab’s disclosure questionnaire and submit your completed assessment. This will be reviewed by their independent standards team. 

Take the time here to keep working on improving your score and engage with B Lab to provide further evidence of the answer you’ve given in your assessment. This includes giving evidence to back up your answers from your own internal data over the last 12 months.

After Certification

Congrats! You’re now a shiny new B Corp, all that hard work paid off. You now need to sign the B Corp agreement and pay your annual fee. 

Of course it’s time to share the news and celebrate but remember that this is a small step towards a greater goal. Being a B Corp isn’t about being the first, or best single business but being a part of a community that is committed to using business to improve society.  

And, as we’ve mentioned, the work doesn’t stop here. You’ll need to recertify every 3 years and continue to achieve an impact score of at least 80. Which is a great way to keep us on our toes and consistently work at improving our impact.
Now we’ve got the process covered, let’s look at the BIA in more detail.



Assessing your Impact with BIA

The BIA is a rigorous tool that takes you through around 200 questions that assess your business. Providing you insight into how purpose driven your business operations are.

So what areas does the assessment cover?

Governance

From your code of ethics to mission & engagement, you’ll be assessed on the internal policies and practices of your business.

Workers

Are your employees satisfied in their role? How are you safeguarding their health and well-being? These are just some of the areas to consider when assessing how your business supports employees.

Environment

Regardless of the industry, your business will have an impact on the environment. Here you will assess what processes you have in place to ensure you’re being mindful of the planet and its resources.

Community

Community covers a wide range of topics, like engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion. Here it’s about looking at how your business positively engages with external stakeholders.

Customers

We can’t have a business without customers, but do we have processes in place to receive customer feedback and handle complaints? How are we measuring customer satisfaction and putting their well-being as a priority? Understanding your relationship with your customers is key to creating a positive impact.

The next steps

Now that you’ve scrutinised every aspect of your business, completed the questions and provided your evidence to B Lab, you can submit your assessment and you’ll be given your impact score. 

Out of a possible score of 250+, businesses need to achieve a score of at least 80 to become B Corp certified. For reference, the median score for ordinary businesses who complete the B Corp assessment is 50.9. Here at Zebra, we were thrilled to receive an impact  score of 90.

Of course, achieving a lower score isn’t a bad thing either – making the effort  to take the test alone is a sign businesses are on the right track! 

Regardless of the score, every B Corp certified business will have areas to improve, and the point of the certification is to keep businesses focused operating with purpose for the good of all stakeholders.

Like we said, it’s about using business as a force for good.

Now that we know how it’s done, let’s take a look at some of the amazing B Corps who are changing the way we see business.

Image showing text: Business as a force for good.



Our 10 B Corps to B inspired by:

Bosquia – Promoting reforestation for companies and individuals

Brewgooder – Turning beer into water (not literally)

allplants – Helping transform the planet through sustainable vegan food subscriptions

The Body Shop – Making an impact on the beauty industry with ethically sourced and naturally-based ingredients

The Cheeky Panda – Keeping the luxury in household goods without compromising humanity or the planet

Better World Books – Spreading knowledge and driving sustainability

Anne Mulaire – Returning to Nature with Slow Fashion

Mana Earthly Paradise – Redefining sustainability in tourism

Sinba – Helping companies and individuals co-create a world without trash

Lily’s Kitchen – Making a positive impact with pet food

It’s so inspiring to see the progress they’re making and we’re honoured to be a part of their community.



The B-ginning (too much?) of a new chapter as a B Corp

Image showing text: Being B Corp Certified is a reminder we're on the right path, but there's still work to be done.

Receiving our B Corp certification is the culmination of a lot of time, energy and hard work from all of our team at Zebra. It’s been incredibly humbling to find a team where every individual truly understands what we’re working towards, embracing our values and vision of a regenerative economy. 

Being B Corp certified is a reminder we’re on the right path, but there’s still work to be done. As our Managing Director Lee says, it’s time for us Zebras to walk the walk.

And moving into 2023, our main focus is to become a more regenerative business. This will help us achieve our vision of a new, regenerative economy. An economy that is run by ethically driven entrepreneurs who seek to balance profitable growth with creating positive societal impact.

Not to mention the opportunities this certification gives us. It’s a chance to build on the already amazing community of changemakers around us. We’re excited to engage with a diverse group of social pioneers and come together to share ideas and co-create for the benefit of people, planet and profit.

Having this B Corp certification now allows us to lean into the commitments we have made, as well as make the improvements we need to accelerate our transition into a fully regenerative business. 

Finally, we want to thank all of the inspiring changemakers we have worked with this past year. Your collaborations, challenges and insights have helped us to grow and allowed us to learn what it truly takes to change the business world.

And we can’t wait to get started. We’re excited to be a part of the change and look forward  to  seeing the positive impact that this community will make in 2023.


P.S. We were thrilled to host the Director of B Corp Portugal, Luis Amado at our Lunch & Learn this week. He really put into perspective what it means to be a B Corp and the impact businesses can have when working as a community.

Image showing a google meets picture of the Zebra team and Luis Amado, Director of B Corp Portugal.




Want to hear more?

Are you looking to build regenerative growth? We’d love to collaborate with you!

Why not book a call with Lee, our Managing Director to see how your startup can create the most impact in 2023.

Stack ‘em up: Why a well-executed tech stack is vital for Regenerative Startups

In this article, we’ll look at how a well-executed marketing tech stack can help your business achieve regenerative growth and give you our favourite tools for Regenerative Startups to grow their business.

Why is a marketing tech stack vital to Regenerative Startups?

In this article, we’ll look at how a well-executed marketing tech stack can help your business achieve regenerative growth.

What we’ll cover;

  • What is a marketing tech stack?
  • Tech stacks: A Growth Hacking Fundamental
  • Prioritising your tech stack to optimise growth
  • How can a marketing tech stack help grow your business?
  • Our favourite tools for Regenerative Startups

Positive social impact is key to challenging the problems we face today and regenerative startups are at the forefront of creating real change. And the impacts of climate change, the pandemic, Brexit and the war in Ukraine have all highlighted the need for mindful, efficient growth.

From our experience with the sector we believe that, for regenerative startups, understanding and utilising the correct tools to grow their business is vital to creating the most positive impact, bringing us one step closer to a regenerative economy.

Don’t worry, we aren’t keeping all the cards to ourselves. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite tools at the end of this article, so you’re ready to start optimising your growth.

What is a marketing tech stack?

A marketing tech stack is the collection of tools, software and technologies that marketers use to optimise and augment their marketing processes. The aim here is to drive growth as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Marketing technologies are ‘stacked’ to create an integrated series of tools that allow you to build and connect processes. Marketers and businesses use tech to optimise their marketing activities, but in order to take an agile and dynamic approach, it’s necessary to consider how you can integrate tools and tech rather than using them independently. 

Layering tools and technologies in this way allows for specific automations, giving businesses a much clearer understanding of how to  reach and engage with their customers. It’s this layering of technologies that  led to the term ‘marketing tech stack’.

Tech stacks: A Growth Hacking Fundamental

The tech stack sits at the very heart of Growth Hacking which is a proven and agile  methodology that we use here at Zebra Growth. But growth hacking is much more than just a methodology. It’s a mindset.

Growth hacking has changed the way in which we approach marketing. It challenges the traditional marketing model. 

Traditional marketing generally involves committing a large budget to advertising, email campaigns and other paid media. Growth hackers don’t tend to operate endless budgets so their focus is on how they can ‘move the needle’ the most with the leanest of resources. 

This is where a well-executed tech stack comes in; its one key purpose is to make sure you get the right message, to the right audience in as cost effective and efficient way possible.

There were around 8000 marketing solutions in 2020 compared to 150 in 2010

Growth hacking is an imperative methodology for regenerative startups. We know from experience that a fast growing startup is filled with shifting priorities and many tasks can fall by the wayside, things like marketing strategies and tactics just aren’t seen as a priority. 

In some cases the cost of running intensive marketing campaigns isn’t worth it as it’s labour intensive and it may take months or years to achieve growth. 

By employing a growth hacking mindset, an experimental approach with a carefully constructed tech stack, regenerative startups really can achieve channel/market fit much earlier than if they were to put all of their budget into siloed channels and traditional marketing strategies. 

With that in mind, how do you decide what tools to integrate into your stack?

Not all Tech is created equal

In 2020, it was estimated there were around 8000 solutions in the marketing landscape, compared to just 150 in 2010. So it’s safe to say that building your perfect tech stack takes time and consideration.

And there isn’t a one-fits-all approach to tech stacks. The key to a successful tech stack is having the right tools for your business, market sector and your team’s needs. With so many options available, it’s about finding what is right for you. 

When integrating a new tool (remember: you’re introducing tech to build on what you have, not replace it) you need to consider how accessible it is for your team. If a system sounds great on paper but is causing communication issues everyday, or doesn’t meet your team’s skillset, it’s probably not for you.

A marketing tech stack is there to make your job easier and put your team in the best position to maximise your growth. So before you decide to start bringing in complex tech, it’s important to have solid foundations to build upon.

Integration is your North Star with Tech Stacks

Laying the foundations: The importance of prioritising your tech stack

We’re not suggesting that you drop all your current tools and strategies and spend your full year’s budget on the latest tech.

Quite the opposite. 

The truth is, evaluating your current marketing activities and setting solid foundations will make the biggest difference in your growth in the long run. 

We know that building a tech stack can quickly become a daunting task, that’s why we’ve laid out the groundwork to get your growth on the right track. We like to think of the marketing tech stack hierarchy as a pyramid, and it’s a simple one at that. 

Hierarchy pyramid of tech stack tools - foundational tools and complex optimisation tools

On the base you have the foundational layer of tools that, if you get right, can make the biggest difference for growth in your business. The second and top layer of the pyramid is the complex tools that help you gather data, insights and analytics or allow for automation of your processes.

So, what is the foundational layer of tools when building your tech stack? At Zebra, we’ve found the most important things to get right first for maximum growth are Internal communication, Project management and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems.

Internal Communications

How does a new team member get up to speed on your latest projects? Where can they find information about your company culture and values? How do you communicate relevant news and updates across departments? 

The most effective way to do this is with a Company Wiki. This is a collaborative tool for storing and sharing internal information. It aims to be the single source of truth for everyone on your team. Each member can access internal information for reference, collaboration and to update as needed. 

At Zebra, our single source of truth is Notion. Notion gives every team member access to our processes, client information, our culture and values. Having a company wiki allows team members, new and old, to access all relevant files and information on projects, your business and ongoing strategies.

The benefit here is that nothing is lost in translation; by making all your important information easily accessible and giving every team member the chance to share their knowledge, you’ll improve communication across your business.

Project Management

While it’s important to have all your relevant project information on a company wiki, having a dedicated tool for Project Management is a necessity.

Whether you’re working across multiple teams or to a strict deadline, having a solid project management tool will allow you to coordinate effectively with your team and ensure you complete your project efficiently.

We use Monday.com for our Project Management. Monday.com allows you to create boards for your projects and seamlessly track its progress, set the owner of tasks and the level of priorities and allows you to post updates on the project, tasks and subtasks all within one system.

Another key benefit of Monday.com is that it allows for integration with other tools. We’ve linked ours to Slack (our internal communications app) so that our team is always in the loop. And this is a great example of what a tech stack should do – integrate with your other tools to optimise your processes.

CRM Systems

Taking the time to consider how you store customer data is crucial to any business. It’s one thing to keep a note of prospects and potential leads – but how do you effectively prioritise your workload and make sure valuable information isn’t lost, all while ensuring all the relevant teams and departments are clued in?

The solution, as you might’ve guessed, is with a CRM system. A CRM system helps your business keep customer details up to date, tracks your interactions with them and manage their accounts.

With regenerative startups, the adoption curve can be slow. Sales cycles can be long, and, in some cases, average order value high. All of these friction points can make it difficult for the sales team to maintain growth and strengthen the sales pipeline.

CRM Systems like Salesforce offer a solution to this. They integrate into one system that gives all departments (like sales, marketing, commerce and service) a single shared view of every customer. This is essential to building a cohesive business and allows you to improve your customer experience.

Having a really robust CRM, and a clear view of who is engaging with your business and what stage they are at in your sales funnel is a critical factor in the success of innovative regenerative startups.

And CRM tools, when properly set up by professionals, will allow for advanced tracking such as engagement scoring, which allows field representatives to be notified when a prospect engages with a piece of content, providing triggers to begin outreach. This allows your team to make the best decisions for growing your business.

Optimising your Tech Stack

Once you have evaluated your current systems and worked to integrate these foundations, you can start to target some of the more complex tools to nurture growth; 

  • Research Tools
  • Business Intelligence
  • Analytics
  • Reporting
  • Data Management
  • Email & Marketing Automation
  • Design System Tools
  • Advertising & Paid Media
  • Social Media Management

It’s important to research different options and find the tool that works best for you. If you’re unsure of which one works best for your business, seek advice. 

Zebra Growth has extensive experience working with these systems ourselves and helping to integrate them for our clients. We’d be love to collaborate with you and find the best tech stack for creating regenerative growth for your business.

How can a marketing tech stack help to grow your business?

As we’ve mentioned, a tech stack is a collection of tools, so they’re only useful when they’re fit for the right purpose. Tech stacks aren’t a marketing strategy, they form part of one. A tech stack is only effective with a clearly defined marketing strategy.

So it’s important to clearly define what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy. Start by looking at your current marketing activities. 

The key here is evaluating how you are currently communicating against how you want to grow your business going forward. Looking at your current tech and IT infrastructure, consider what is working well and what can be improved. This is where building your tech stack comes in.  

A representation of all the key categories of a marketing tech stack

The stacks above encapsulate all the main categories that go into a marketing tech stack. Of course, we only want to focus on the tools that will benefit your marketing strategy

Do you want to reach a specific segment through social media? If so, consider what you need to execute your campaign and how you’ll measure the results. Tools like Buffer can help to grow your audience organically. 

Are you trying to increase your organic traffic to your website and rank higher on search engines? Then maybe you want to consider SEO software, like Semrush, to discover how your content can be more accessible to your customers.

The main idea here is to hone your strategy and find the right tools to integrate into your processes that will help you achieve regenerative growth. 

As you grow, maintaining a solid tech stack will allow your business to maintain strong communications with your customers and across teams.

Let’s talk tech – our recommended tools for your marketing tech stack

As promised, here is a list of our top tools for each category for building the best Regenerative Startup Marketing Tech Stack. 

Remember to take your time going through these tools and consider what’s best for your business, team and marketing strategy!

Research tools

Google Trends Google Trends is a useful search trends feature that shows frequency of keyword search and and to discover event-triggered spikes in keyword search volume
HotjarHotjar is a product experience insights tool that gives you behaviour analytics and feedback data to help you empathise with and understand your customers
BrandwatchUnderstand and engage with your customers at the speed of social with Brandwatch, the social suite built for our fast-moving world.
TypeformForms that perform: get feedback and leads with ease Using stylish forms that make data collection a walk in the park

Business Intelligence

CanddiTurns your website visitors into customers. Find out who is visiting your website, and which of them are ready to buy
Dun and Bradstreet Business insights on over 40 million companies to manage risk and increase supply chain resiliency

Analytics tools

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purpose
OribiStunning AI to automatically track all your key conversions, discover what actions sites like yours should focus on, and increase results

Reporting Tools

Dash this An automated marketing reporting tool created to help marketers save hours of work and create their reports in the blink of an eye.

Data management

Google Data StudioGoogle Data Studio (GDS) is a great, free data visualisation tool (note my use of the phrase data visualisation tool, as opposed to business intelligence tool here) that lets you build interactive dashboards, and customised, beautiful reporting.
Supermetrics Picks up all the marketing data you need and brings it to your go-to reporting, analytics, or storage platform — whether that’s a BI tool, a spreadsheet, a data visualisation tool, a data lake, or a data warehouse.

Project Management

Monday.com Monday.com offers 5 end-to-end products to choose from to run the core of your business. Our products are dedicated solutions built on top of our Work OS and designed to answer the needs of specific industries and verticals
ClickupAll of your work in one place.  Tasks, chat, docs, goals and more – Plan, track, and manage any type of work with project management that flexes to your team’s needs.

Company Wiki

NotionYour single source of truth for documentation,  access to all the information relevant to a project including links, files and strategies. 

Email marketing and automation

MailChimpMarketing and sales tool – No matter the size of your business, these tools are here to help you launch, build, and grow.

SEO, content and referral tools

SEM RushAn all in one SEO swiss army knife helping you to grow organic traffic with a complete and easy bank of search tools and workflow
MOZSearch engine optimization at its best!

Design System tools

MiroVisual collaboration tool that takes physical ideation, brainstorming and workshop sessions and marketing strategy and gathers insights into powerful visual boards
FigmaOnline design tool with features that make feedback, and collaboration super easy, resulting in better cross functional working with designers, and faster turnaround times.

Advertising and paid media

Meta AdsMeta Ads Manager is the control room for all advertisements across all Meta platforms. It’s a tool used by top marketers to create, manage, change, and analyse all aspects of their digital advertising on Facebook and Instagram
Linkedin AdsAn ad platform has ad types to meet all your marketing objectives with a reach of over 750 million professionals on the world’s largest professional network.

Landing Page and CMS

UnbounceCapture way more leads with high-converting landing pages that you can optimise on the fly, all without a developer.
ClickfunnelsGenerate New LEADS That You Can Connect With… Create simple funnels that quickly capture your visitors’ contact information, so you can generate new leads to follow-up 

CRM systems

HubspotHubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. Each product in the platform is powerful alone, but the real magic happens when you use them together.
SalesforceSalesforce is a customer relationship management solution that brings companies and customers together. It’s one integrated CRM platform that gives all your departments — including marketing, sales, commerce, and service — a single, shared view of every customer.

Social Media management

HootsuiteTool for planning out social media posts and it’s great if you run multiple social media accounts for your business.
Loom.lyLoom.ly is the built-in URL shortener of Loomly, your simple social media calendar tool!
BufferBuffer helps you build an audience organically. We’re a values-driven company that provides affordable, intuitive, marketing tools for ambitious people and teams.

Ready to build your stack?

Before we send you off to build the most well-executed tech stack startups have ever seen, we want to leave you with some of our top tips when building your tech stack:

  • It’s a complex task – be prepared! – huge amount of tools and tech are available
  • Keep it simple – the more tools and integration, the more complex your tech stack becomes
  • Choose tools that align with your strategy, budget, your team’s capabilities
  • Research all the options – don’t rush to buy until you have the full picture 
  • Triage existing tools and IT infrastructure to inform integration of new technologies
  • Tools need to contain features that can allow marketers to personalise content
  • Consider your team set up – tools need to support efficient working practices for onsite teams and remote workers
  • Don’t be tempted into reinventing the wheel – choose a solution that will help you reach your goals without too much effort
  • Thinks integration – not all tech works seamlessly
  • Be prepared to iterate – technology changes frequently! 
  • Consider your team’s capability and skill set when choosing tech 

And most importantly, if you are not sure how to build the right tech stack, seek advice.


Is your marketing strategy not creating the growth you expect? Why not book a call with our Managing Director, Lee for some insights into how you can find the right tech stack for your business.