When I first got into digital marketing as a career change a few years back (I had previously worked as a financial advisor and had a brief stint starting a study-abroad program for a Chinese government contracted company) I thought the term ‘growth driven design’ was a bit haughty.
It reminded me of an interview I once read with a favorite musician of mine, who was labeled in the music press as an IDM artist, the acronym standing for ‘intelligent dance music’.
The artist’s response, and of course I need to paraphrase here, was: “Intelligent dance music? It makes it sound like other types of dance music aren’t as intelligent as this kind. A bit nasty, innit?” (He was English, and “innit” was the only part I didn’t need to paraphrase, as it’s humorous to read it online when one is a guy born and raised in the US.)
I agreed with his perspective, and felt the same way when ‘growth driven design’ and ‘GDD’ first began exploding on marketing blogs left and right, bandied about like free candy. Does the term imply that other web design methodologies were somehow not aimed at growing the organization? That these companies NOT using GDD were suckers, and we select few were privy to a pot of marketing gold? Should I feel guilty for knowing how to do this?
Well, yes. I should feel guilty, but only if I refuse to share this knowledge with others. Hence - here we are now.
Before we get into how GDD impacts your sales process, we should clear the air beforehand, and this is not something that every marketing professional will let you know from the get-go…but I will because I’m still a rebel at heart.
Growth driven design is not practical for every organization.
If you are Nike or Coca-Cola, you probably don’t need to be a GDD devotee to the degree that the rest of us do. Until my company attains the market salience and multi-billion revenue of a Bloomberg or Macy’s, I am a convert one hundred percent to the value of GDD.
Also, if you run an organization in certain industries (i.e. legal services, construction work) where your online presence needs to be as consistent and predictable as your personal communications, delivery of services, what-have-you, then GDD might not the best way to approach your web design efforts.
Yet, emphasis on might…
However, if you run a dynamic company, breaking ground with your products or services, trying to edge out the competition as one of the new guys, or any other situation where online customer conversions via your website are vital for your sustainability - welcome, friends. Time to dive in.
Once your company has been globally recognized as an industry leader for about 100 years, well, you gained market salience during the entire time that many of your customers were birthed and passed on, all before the internet existed.
Yes, admittedly this is a bit grim, but it’s a fact. Rolex doesn’t need GDD for their web presence. Not to say it can’t be a bit of fun to try it out for those guys, but it could very well plainly be a waste of time and (ahem, negligible degree) of resources.
Because traditional web design approaches are robbing you of potential customers for a crazy number of reasons. I don’t use the word ‘crazy’ as an adjective often, so here’s why it’s warranted:
Before I get into the stats (they’re going to happen eventually - this is a blog post about marketing after all), here’s another quick story that illustrates the impact of GDD:
When I was 23 I was department manager at a major domestic chain store outside of NYC. I had retail experience for the preceding five years at four other retail outlets. The one I’m talking about now confused the hell out of me - our merchandisers and designers were spending every single day going over fresh plans from corporate to redesign the entire store bit by bit, and here’s the kicker, during retail hours.
I found the idea ludicrous. Who would want to shop at a store that is always a work in progress? But...it worked.