In our latest video series, Inbound Influencers, I ask the questions marketers want answered from leading figures in the industry.
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Luke Summerfield - founder of Growth-Driven Design, a website design process we have been utilising with our clients (and with amazing results).
In this video we discuss...
- What Growth-Driven Design (GDD) is
- Luke's background and the origin of GDD
- What is wrong with the traditional web design process
- Why GDD is a smarter approach
Watch the video...
Read The Post…
If you’d prefer to read the interview as opposed to listening to and watching it, then here’s a reader-friendly version of the interview and what was discussed.
Further below that is the full transcript of the interview itself.
Let’s start with an introduction to GDD, based on Luke Summerfield’s answer to my question, “What is Growth-Driven Design?”
What Is Growth-Driven Design (GDD)?
Growth-Driven Design is a smarter way to approach designing and building websites. Luke calls it a “smarter playbook and a smarter approach.” And, after 15 years of designing and building websites for clients, discovering this method, which he coined, was a genuine “Eureka!” moment.
Whilst traditional website design is done in one timeframe, one project and essentially one go, GDD uses three stages. The three stages of Growth-Driven Design are:
- Launchpad Website
- Continuous Improvement
And all of these stages are agile and a living, breathing concept. The website is not done on launch day. Far from it.
In fact, the website is never done because user habits change and so does what the company offers and whatever else. So why should a website only get refreshed and reworked once every two-three-four-five years?
Here’s those stages of GDD in a little more depth:
The designers gain an empathetic view of the end user’s world. What emotion are they feeling? What are they thinking when they have landed on the site? Then try and build the website from this POV entirely.
This perspective needs to be an ethos change which the whole team buys into. Instead of planning what to include on the new site based on what the business owner likes or wants, design is based upon user feedback and user emotion. It’s user centric.
All the usual goals and KPI setting still takes place, but everything is done with user empathy in mind. When Luke talks about gathering techniques and ideas from different areas of digital marketing and web design in order to create the Growth-Driven Design process, this user empathy focus is right out of the Inbound Marketing Textbook, Chapter: Aligning Content to Personas and their Pain Points.
This strategy phase is completed with an overarching end goal approach. This planning allows you to create a wishlist of 75-200 items of “nice-to-have” features or pages which would all squeeze value out of a visitor. Then prioritise them based on impact to the business’ success. This allows you to build the Launchpad Website and enter Stage 2.
This launchpad website is the base camp of all the future website work on the GDD designed site. It looks and performs better than what you have today, but it’s still only a starting point. It’s only got the most valuable, must-have items on there and they’re completely spot on (for that moment in time).
The genius of the GDD process is that attention is not diverted away from these key website items, pages or features, whilst trying to complete everything else on the list during the prescribed timeframe. Under the traditional method of trying to design the whole site, either the budget, timeframe or quality has to give.
That’s why there’s no point doing all the nice-to-have items, half done in terms of quality, on the launchpad site’s go-live day. The launchpad is not be all and end all, it’s not a line in the sand and move on, it’s just the first phase of development.
But what is included is of a higher quality than would ordinarily be achieved and is delivered quicker than a full build. For a lesser price. Basically, more quality and less quantity.
This time difference is typically 60 days GDD launchpad build versus a 108 day average full web build. Nice-to-haves can then be made properly in month 2 and beyond.
The launchpad site’s user behaviour is monitored and analysed in order to inform all future design decisions.
Continuous Improvement Stage:
The improvements and analysis then become an ongoing task from one month to the next.
Month over month, the GDD process involves analysing what is the most impactful and helpful thing that can be worked on. This roots out what’s the highest priority items in the wishlist (from an impact point of view) are. Then the designers can get them as perfect as is possible at the time, based on the available data and impact score of what will most help the business.
It’s agile; it’s changeable. Nothing is based on assumptions and opinions anymore - things have to be prioritised based on user behaviour, which we are always gathering via heat maps, feedback, recognition software, and so on.
The GDD cycle of improvement never ends. It can always be improved as user behaviour and tastes change. It’s a live website. The rub of this is that you never really need a full web redesign and build if your GDD project is done properly month over month.
GDD is smarter than traditional website design because it puts a company’s talent and resources to best use and delivers more optimised results. Since day one, website designs and builds have been over budget and put live over the original due date.
Growth-Driven Design rather than a traditional “all in one go” design makes so much sense; it really is the way forward.
Compared to a single, full website build, the upfront cost is smaller for a GDD website. This is to say, what you pay for your launchpad site which goes live in 60 days will be smaller than what you’d pay for the full website build which goes live in 108 days.
But, paradoxically, GDD will cost you more money in the long run - but there’s more effort and more work put into it. But the cash flow is planned and improves its return each and every month. Instead of going live and being left alone, a GDD site gets better each and every month.
And the results show better ROI because the fact is you get more out of it thanks to the more you put in.
Compare two unhealthy and overweight people. One signs up for a gym membership, personal trainer and dietician who all sharpen their plans for this person from month to month. The other gets one bout of expensive liposuction and then goes back to no exercise and too many daily calories.
Fast forward five years down the line, when it’s time for another bout of lipo’ which is a complete website refresh, which of the two will be in better physical shape? The person who kept working to improve from month to month, not the one waiting for their next complete overhaul.
GDD is a smaller risk than a traditional web build because the strategy and focus is sharpened from month to month.
Luke's background and the origin of GDD
Luke worked at agencies and businesses in the past doing web design. He noticed that all web designs were troublesome - “every single one was frustrating and a complete nightmare.” They were usually late too.
When working for an ecommerce business, he moved to an inbound agency who had 75% of their revenue coming from web design jobs. This revenue stream made them reassess because every single one was late, resources were diverted to get it over the line, it was a rush so not their best work, and then it was handed over and forgotten about…
But a company’s website is their #1 sales person who never switches off and can be accessed 24/7. So why should it be designed once every x-amount of years?
This agency was acquired by a “bigger agency” and he now had a move to HubSpot. They wanted to create a position just for him and help him make the most of his GDD theory.
A couple of years ago, Luke put forward the GDD design process and 950 agencies are working with this technique, in 50 countries.
What is wrong with the traditional web design process?
All of your eggs are in one basket, for a start. You are trusting the website which will represent your business to be gotten right in just one attempt (barring feedback amends) and it’s left there to represent your business to the world, as it is, until you decide to take the plunge on another design.
The size of the gamble is what leads to budgets over running - “these extra amends will cost you £x” - and sites being delivered late - “I know we are meant to go live tomorrow, but can we change this, this and this? I just want to make sure it’s right.”
Why GDD is a smarter approach
GDD is smarter because it has a fully inclusive and far-reaching strategy phase which maps out the end goal of the site. It then isolates what you need to prioritise in order to get the most valuable features included at launch.
But instead of trying to get too much done and compromising on budget, quality or delivery (or all three), GDD nails the priority items first then works to get everything else right over time.
Luke surveyed 350 agencies and companies who use the GDD method how they are getting on and what are they getting upto 6 months into their GDD projects.
Here’s the improvements from what GDD sites are bringing in compared to traditional new sites:
- Visitors: 14% higher visitor growth from a GDD build compared to using traditional builds.
- Leads: 16.9% more leads compared to traditional builds.
- Revenue: 11.2% more revenue from GDD compared to traditionally built sites.
What makes these figures even more interesting is that this upward growth trend continues into the future under GDD web builds. That’s because GDD always works to keep on sharpening and reacting to user behaviour and tastes.
Traditional web builds bring more visitors leads and revenue but this tails off as the website becomes naturally stale and needs rebuilding. GDD works and adapts the site from month to month so the growth in the numbers continues.
The methodology is growing massively thanks to these massive results that people are experiencing. This strategy is the new standard of web designs. It’s revolutionising the way we (the royal we) design and build websites.
Read the transcript...
- Okay, guys, today we have Luke Summerfield on the line, the founder of Growth Driven Design. Thanks for joining us, how's things?
- Oh, things are awesome, it's starting to ramp up to summertime here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, so everyone's in a good mood, no more snow.
- Oh, that's great, I was just admiring your backdrop just before the call, really impressed, we're gonna have to improve ours. Okay, Luke, let's kick straight off, so tell us your story, tell us how you ended up at Hubspot and how you became the founder of Growth Driven Design.
- Well, if you rewind a few years, I've been both on the business arm and I've also worked on the agency side working with clients in all different types of industries and different types of companies, and throughout the years, one of the things that I've learned, specifically when we looked at web design was that every single web design we did was frustrating and a complete nightmare.
It was, like, one of those things where when I look back a long time ago, I used to work for an ecommerce shop and we had to redo our site and literally, like, that was our business, people coming to the site, purchasing a product, and that's how we made our revenue and we went through a redesign process there and not only did it launch extremely late, you know, it was supposed to be about a four month project, ended up being about nine months, after we launched it, our sales, the conversions decreased, the sales decreased, all these things and we're freaking out because man, this is like how we make our living and so that was my first, I don't know if that was my first taste, you know, I had done websites previous to that back in the day of building HTML in just text edits and uploading those, but in text edit files, but that was my first taste on how much it can impact your business where it was literally like our revenue stream just tanked because of that.
So fast forward a little bit, after working for that online ecommerce, then moved on into the agency world and we were working with clients and we were an inbound marketing and web design agency, but 75% of our revenue was coming from website design and 25% of our revenue was coming from inbound so we did a lot of websites and as we were growing the business, we took a step back one year, you know, we were growing fairly quickly, took a step back and said, well, how are things going, are we being profitable, can we streamline things, and what we looked at was that every single website that we did and we probably did 20, 30 websites a year, every single one, we saw the exact same thing, every single one launched late, every single one was a complete nightmare, it had all of our time and resources away from other marketing activities, and really it was just not a pleasant experience for anyone.
What ended up happening is we would launch these websites and we'd be so happy they were out the door we threw our hands up in the air and were, like, thank God this thing's out the door, let's move on to something different, onto the stuff that we put off, and the website would end up just kind of sitting there, and that of course is, your number one marketing asset is your number one salesperson working around the clock, that's not the best way to treat things, right, you don't hire a salesperson, put 'em on the floor on their first day and say, all right, I'll talk to you later, and you never coach them or train them, like, of course, you have to develop them, and, but yet this is how we treat our websites and so kind of all of that, that's kind of my background on it.
Now how I got to Hubspot, the quick of it is, is the agency I was working for got acquired and I moved over to the other agency, kind of got the acquisition all settled and then jumped to my next adventure here at Hubspot and when I got to Hubspot, they basically, they hired me without a position, they just hired me and said we'll figure out some way to provide value, help our partners grow, and I thought back to my experience as an agency partner and the struggles that we were running into with web design, how do we solve this challenge, but the reality is this is an industry wide problem, this is something that all marketeers are struggling with, all agencies are struggling with this, those who are listening to this, probably if you've gone through a website design, you've probably thought, create a system, a better playbook for developing websites, and that's what eventually has evolved into Growth Driven Design.
Growth Driven Design is a smarter approach, a smarter playbook if you will to web design, all of those problems I talked about, the running late, the amount of money you spend upfront, you know, crossing your fingers and hoping it works after you launch it and then not touching it after and just kind of hoping magically the results come in, all of those problems happen because of usually not a lack of talent, we usually have very talented people we're working with.
It's usually not a lack of budget, I've worked with projects where they say, hey, you have unlimited budget, just do this right, and we still go over budget, we still deliver late, we still have lack of results after, it's because of this broken playbook that we've just always been using, this is just how websites have gone because we've always been using this broken playbook but this new playbook called Growth Driven Design solves all those challenges and produces a peak performing website month over month over month, and so that's what I've been pioneering here for the last year and a half and since we launched about a year and a half, we now have 950 agencies in 50 countries that are working with our clients, very, very successfully doing Growth Driven Design, so that's a little of my background, but also how this Growth Driven Design thing came about, it's really, I was trying to solve my own problem at the agency and what our clients were struggling with to help other people.
- Now thank you, Luke, we went over to Hubspot last year, me and my business partner, and we attended the Growth Driven Design certification where you actually hosted that for two days and for us it was an aha moment, I've been in this industry 20 years, in web agencies, probably 15, and a lot of pain that you're talking about is the pains and challenges that we've had, so it totally flipped our world and we come back and start learning this, become certified and implement it, so we're all for Growth Driven Design, it's just so convincing, the marketing professionals out there, this is the way forward, could you talk a little bit about the process, the process of how if someone was to use a Growth Driven Design methodology how would that start?
- Mmhmm, so the first thing I'd say is, you know, a lot of what I've done with Growth Driven Design, I haven't invented anything new, like, this stuff already exists in other industries, it exists like, a lot of marketers, people that are listening, are doing bits and pieces of Growth Driven Design but what I've done is I've taken all of these disjointed systems disjointed, like, processes and pulled it in together so that all these pieces work together.
It's kind of like inbound marketing, you know, inbound marketing is a combination of blogging and content marketing and email marketing and social marketing and so on and so forth, marketing automation, and inbound marketing is this methodology that wraps it all together and that's essentially what we're doing with Growth Driven Design, is we're taking things like user experience, research, conversion rate optimization, agile, it's all built off an agile process, so agile or scrum process, and all these bits and pieces and wrapped it together into a methodology.
Now what that looks like in terms of an actual process that you'd go through, there's basically three stages of the Growth Driven Design methodology, the first one is the strategy stage and that's probably not too much different than any of you who have done a website in the past, you've probably started with a strategy, very, very important, and really what our goal is here in the strategy is that we want to get an empathetic view of our user's world, we wanna see the world through their eyes, we wanna see the journey that they're going on, what progress they're trying to make in their lives, and how does our company, our product, our service help them make that progress, versus what you typically do, what I typically saw and what we used to do with traditional web design is we kind of build the website over here in its own bubble and then we kind of just threw it at the user and hopefully some of that stuff was helpful for them.
Instead we start with a very user centric approach, looking at their life and then building around them. Now where Growth Driven Design gets a bit different from traditional is coming out of that strategy, once we understand their world, we understand what we wanna build, and there's a number of steps that you do obviously within that, you do goal setting, where does the website fit in as part of the growth of their business, how does it help, you go through what we call the jobs to be done framework, that's a very popular framework now that's being used in Silicon Valley for product development, but we basically look at what are the progress that people are trying to make in their life and then what pushes and pulls do they have with adopting your product or switching to your product so we look at how do we get people to switch, then we go through journey map development, personas, we go through, you know, going through how does that, global strategy, how do we build certain things onto the site to help make progress in areas, so on and so forth, there's a whole process that you can go through.
Coming out of that, the goal is that we want to create what we call a wishlist and a wishlist is 75 to 200 or more amazing ideas, things that are gonna be extremely valuable, extremely impactful for our users and we start there, and the reasons I say our users, value for our users first is that a lot of times we think of, well, how do we build things that we can generate leads and we can squeeze value from our users, but if we skip this first step and we're building things that users don't find valuable in the first place, so we wanna provide immense value through all these items on the wishlist, and once we've done that, now as a business we can extract, you know, extract some of that value in the form of asking for an email address, asking to download, to purchase, whatever that is, so the wishlist is that list of all those valuable things.
Now when you have the wishlist you can move on to the second stage of the Growth Driven Design methodology, what we call a launchpad website, and we call it a launchpad website because this is the start, this is like, the base of all your continuous improvement efforts, this is where your launching point is, it's a website that looks better than what you have today, it performs better than what you have today, but it is not a final product, it's kind of the starting point, again, it's that launching point.
So the reality is is there's going to be some things that are very valuable, your team's excited about it, but there are a nice to have, they're not a must have and so the nice to haves, they stay on the wishlist and those are the things we can build after that launchpad is live, we can do it in month one, we can do it in month two, with traditional design, it's, like, we feel like it has to be perfect for the launch, if it's not there when we launch we're never gonna do it because again, we throw our hands up in the air and we never touch the site again, but the beauty of the Growth Driven Design system is that you can stay rest assured, it's, like, a weight off your shoulders that if there's a nice to have and we don't get it right for the launch of the launchpad that's okay, we can do it in month one, we can do it in month two, so again, a site that looks better, performs better but is not the end all, be all, it's a starting point for improvement.
We just did the state of Growth Driven Design, it was a survey where we had 350 agencies tell us about their Growth Driven Design programme, Growth Driven Design in a launchpad website, average launch, 60 days, and then you continuously improve from there, traditional design average, 108 days, almost double, so you're spending double the amount of time and then you just set it and forget it versus 60 days, continuous improve, and you have a whole 'nother you know, 48 days of optimization that you don't get with traditional, so the reason we wanna get it out there quickly, sorry, I'm kind of just jamming on ideas here, so the reason we wanna launch it quickly is because when we build a website in our own bubble, right, so we have an idea, we think it's good, we go into our backroom bubble, our developers and designers are coding away on it, you know, maybe as a marketeer we're thinking about what to put on each page or as a UX person, all of those things are assumptions, and the reality is that we have good intentions, we want to do what's best for the users, but at the end of the day, they're still educated guesses, they are assumptions of what we think will perform well based off of industry best practises, based off of what worked well in the past, based off of all different factors.
What we wanna do in Growth Driven Design is we let data guide our decisions, so instead of us sitting here making assumptions, we want to build a site that looks better, performs better, get it out there into actual real people's hands and get them to start interacting with it and at that point the users will tell you how to build, how to improve the site based off their behaviour, based off what they're clicking on, what they're not clicking on, what are they willing to put their email address about versus what are they not, and so once something is out there, we can start collecting that and make more informed decisions based off that data on how to improve and at that point we can move into the continuous improvement stage.
That's the last phase of Growth Driven Design, that's where now every single month, we are gonna figure out, what is the most impactful, most important thing we can do at this moment to drive us to our business goals, to provide more value to our users and allow us as a business to extract more of that value in terms of leads or sales or whatever your particular metric is and so that's every single month, we're running on an agile basis where every single month we prioritise, we figure out what's the most important things on that wishlist, you can always add more things to that wishlist, so as you learn more about your users, you can add items as things come up in your business, you launch a new product, you have an event, you can prioritise that into your wishlist, and then every single month, make impactful improvements to drive more business results.
- Nice, it's brilliant, I've been writing notes as you're talking just to jog my memory, I mean, the launchpad's been fantastic for us because if we have a three month web build in the traditional world, which I've come from, it usually prolongs to six months, what we're finding now is we're building launchpad sites, we've built one in 30 days, 30 to 60 days, and our clients are very happy and we're obviously continually improving these, also from a client and a designer point of view, it's not based on assumptions and opinions anymore, it's more science, based on science so we can rule a lot of the wishlists or deprioritize a lot of the things, the special widgets the client wants or the fancy page the designer wants to design, we can move them down now and prioritise what is important, so it works.
- Well, I think we've all, I think we've all been in that situation, those of you listening have probably been in that situation where you're in a room, and your boss says, I think it should be this, and you're, like, I don't know about that, you know, I want this colour or I want this image and everyone's debating, everyone's got their own opinion and so taking this data driven approach will, you know, basically, make it very crystal clear what is the best option based off of data instead of all these opinions or whoever is your boss or the highest paid person in the room, the hippo that people talk about, it makes it very very very clear, so it solves a lot of those problems, and the other thing from a designer's standpoint that I've heard is that, you know, for them, this is, they like to adapt, evolve, and grow, and with traditional, it's, like, you ship the thing out the door and you never touch it again and it's kind of sad to see your work kind of, like, sunsetted off and never being able to work on it again, here it's, like, okay, it's, like, this living, breathing, evolving thing that they continuously are able to work and improve on.
- Yeah, totally agree, totally agree, let's talk about success rate then, so you founded this two years ago, would you say, Luke, Growth Driven Design?
- Give or take.
- Give or take, I'm now reading the State of Inbound, I was reading before this call, 2017, you have over 350 agencies, is that correct?
- So 350 agencies is how many filled out our survey. We have 950 total, so it's 950 in 50 countries that are working on some level on GDD with their clients and yeah, 350 of them filled out our survey to tell us what their experiences were with the impact that Growth Driven Design is having with their clients.
- That's great, have you got any stats on how many clients are using GDD, so you've got 940 agencies, typically between 10 and 50 sites per agency, any stats on that?
- I don't have how many end clients have it, I know that on average I asked how many Growth Driven Design accounts, so on average, so I guess if you take an average of 950 agencies, three builds in the last six months, that gives you at least kind of a gauge on maybe how many are doing it, but yeah, be a good question for future survey.
- Yeah, yeah, I'm just trying to find out how fast this has scaled, and it sounds, it's phenomenal at the minute, any case studies, any really good success stories from Growth Driven Design, any one you can think of in the states or here in the UK?
- Well, let me give you actually, I can give you one of the stats that came out of that state of Growth Driven Design survey, and so when we talked to these 950 agencies or 300 agencies, excuse me, that filled out the survey, we asked them, okay, you launched the site, what's going on three months after you launch, what's going on six months after you launch, and we looked at the things that you as a marketeer care about, right, so a leading indicator, at the end of the day as a marketeer, you need to, especially in the B2B world, you need to be generating leads for your sales team, how do we grow leads, that's probably what you're being measured on for your success and then as a business it's obviously revenue, how are you turning those folks into actual dollars for growing the business so then one leading indicator to leads of course is how many people are coming to the site, what's the traffic, and so we asked those three questions at the three month mark and at the six month mark, what are your visitors, leads, and revenue when you do Growth Driven Design with a client versus traditional design with a client and here's what we found.
We found that at the three month mark, or I should say, at the six month mark, Growth Driven Design agencies reported 16.9% more leads at six months than when they did traditional so what that looks like is we had a growth from the launch to the six month mark of 44.47% in lead generation whereas with traditional design it was just about 28%.
Now on the revenue side, they saw an increase of 11.2% more revenue at the six month mark using Growth Driven Design than traditional, so there was a growth of 17.78 in traditional, at the six month mark and the revenue for Growth Driven Design was 29.23, so 11.23% increase, now the other interesting part of this is that, and on top of that, visitors, about 14% higher visitor growth rate at the sixth month mark, but what the interesting part of this is that at the traditional, when you look at visitors, leads, revenue, they're essentially flatlining at the six month mark, there's a big jump at three months and then it starts to flatline out from three to six months in terms of month over month growth and improvement.
Growth Driven Design is continually moving up which makes sense, right, if you just think about it logically, it's, like, well, if we're continuously evolving, adapting, improving the website conversion rate and usability and the value we drive to users and all that, of course, you're gonna be investing, it's like an investment, you invest more into improving and you're gonna get better business results out of it. And so theoretically it makes sense but this is the data to back it up that on average at the six month mark, Growth Driven Design is outperforming traditional design on both visitors, leads, and revenue, which again, for you as a marketeer, that's exactly what you're being measured on and what you're driving to the business.
- It's brilliant, you must be pretty excited, I was over in inbound last year in November and I remember seeing you with a flock of people around you, you're pretty famous now over there, aren't you, you've got a real big following and the credibility you have right now is fascinating, how do you feel about all this, are you just enjoying the ride?
- Well, you know, again, I think this is the interesting thing is that I felt this pain and I was fortunate enough to let Hubspot allow me to focus on solving this problem full time, right, so I was, if you think about it, I'm kind of the person that just like managed to kick the snowball down the hill, but the beautiful thing now is that we have such a great community, so now we have not just me pushing the snowball down the hill, there's thousands of people, we have a Slack group with 1500 folks that are very very active and everyone now is helping each other, they're growing the methodology, they're helping share their experiences, things that have worked, so now we've got everyone pushing the snowball down the hill and so I think that's honestly one of the things that I take most pride in is the people like myself that are part of this community that are helping the snowball grow and the growth of the community and the growth of the methodology.
Again, I didn't invent anything new, I just pulled some things together and packaged it, I was very fortunate, Hubspot would let me focus on it, but I think that the reason that it's taking off so well is because this is something we've all experienced, something that we all hate doing, we hate websites, they're frustrating, this and that, and because this methodology solves that pain that we all share, that's what's kind of accelerated it, it's like when you have that product market fit if you think about it on a startup world, if you have product market fit, things can start to take off and we're kind of seeing that now so I'm just, I'm fortunate to be involved with all these other brilliant people and being able to work with folks and talk to folks all over the world and, you know, to gather my vision and my goal is that this is gonna be the new standard for web design and we're gonna transform the way people are building websites, this is just the new standard, and I'm very fortunate to have brilliant people all around the world helping to all work together towards that vision.
- That's great, very, very humble, very humble man, I've got some questions here clients have passed on, when we're pitching for Growth Driven Design, I'm gonna put you on the spot with a couple of these, Luke, so, excuse me, we've got a lot of clients saying, is there any cost savings usually with Growth Driven Design to traditional website design, that's one we get hit with a lot.
- So here's the reality of it, everyone listen in, pause what you're doing, close your other windows and focus in on this, Growth Driven Design will cost you more money, I mean, I'll let that sink in for a second, Growth Driven Design compared to traditional design will cost you more money.
The reason being is you're doing more effort, right, if you're doing a six month website build and you launch the thing and you don't touch it again for the next two years, okay, that's a big chunk of money upfront and then not a lot of money, you know, 'cause you're not doing anything to the site for a number of years.
With Growth Driven Design if you're launching something and then improving it month over month over month over month over a six month, 12 month, 24 month or ongoing basis, of course, you're putting more work in but here's the thing, is you're going to get more value as a business out of it.
I think of it like an investment, when I, every single month from my paycheck and probably many of you put money into some kind of retirement fund and every single month you get some kind of dividend payment that increases the value and there's kind of compounding interest along the way, very, very similar with Growth Driven Design, I just gave you some of the stats that at the six month mark, traditional's flatlining out, you're not seeing any more value, Growth Driven Design's increasing, because you're putting that additional value in, so don't think of it in terms of well, I'm spending more money, think of in terms of I'm investing in my business.
I'm investing in my number one marketing asset, my number one salesperson, and every single month with that investment becomes more and more returns for my business, now the second point to that is that your initial cost is much smaller because you're doing this launchpad website, it's not this big, overblown huge project that's gonna cost you 50, 60, 70 thousand Euro, you're doing something that may cost half of that. It may be 20 thousand Euro or 15 thousand Euro and then build over time, so the thing you have to think about is the risk that you're saving yourself.
If you put 70 thousand dollars or 70 thousand Euro into a website over a six month period, all your time, all your energy, 70 thousand bucks, 70 thousand Euro, you launch it, and then you never touch it again, that's a big gamble, like, I think of it as, like, rolling the dice and throwing it in Vegas, like, that's a big roll of the dice, but if you build something that's bite sized, something that looks better, performs better, and is costing 15 thousand Euro and then you're improving off that based off of real data, it's less risky for you as a business, okay, so the upfront cost is gonna be less, I found that a lot of businesses from a cashflow perspective find that a much easier pill to swallow to spend 15 thousand Euro and then improve off that versus this big 70 thousand Euro big chunk, and it depends on the business.
The third thing that I'll mention, the likelihood, like, some people, they don't have to go and embark on this giant website redesign two years down the road, it's, like, they just continuously evolve and evolve and evolve, so you almost end up saving more money in the long run because you don't have to go through this big, arduous project two years down the road, it's just you continuously evolve and of course, you can add in design changes and look and feel and maybe new templates along the way, but, you know, some people have said, just anecdotally that hey, I'm never gonna have to do a website redesign again, you know, now we just continuously improve off this that we have, so I think from the long term perspective not having to go through that monster redesign process in the future a second time ultimately will save you a bit more money.
- That's a really in depth answer, more than I was looking for, so thank you, that leads into my next question. We get asked this a lot as well, does the GDD cycle ever end, is it continuous forever or is there a stop period?
- Well, there's probably different trains of thought, of course, I'm biassed in what my answer is, my answer is no, I mean, it's, again, your number one marketing asset, it's where you're driving all your paid advertising to, all of your, you know, blog traffic is being pulled there, all your inbound marketing traffic, social's being pulled there, it's the first place that makes an impression on your prospects, it's also, one thing that we don't think about, like, we're marketeers so we think of generating leads, generating business, but it's also huge for your HR department for recruiting.
For us at Hubspot right now one of our big initiatives because we're growing so quickly is hiring really good people and so we've put a very big focus on the HR kind of careers page of our site and that's, like, if we don't get good people in the door that's gonna hurt our business as a whole for growing so we use our website as a tool to help get good people in the door and really, like, tell our story of why they wanna work here.
It also can be a great sales enablement material, so when you look at your sales team, how does your sales team leverage the website or how could they leverage the website better and so there's a lot of different parts of the business that the website integrates into, and so when you ask, like, one, does this continuous improvement ever end, well, even from the marketer's perspective, there's always ways to improve and adapt and change and not only just optimise what you have but build brand new assets, new things that can drive new leads, new visitors, and things like that, but then also I think what you end up seeing is you start getting further out, you start looking at other parts of the business and how the website could help impact what HR's doing, what sales team is doing, what maybe customer service, a lot of folks, especially here at Hubspot, we leverage our website as a way to decrease support tickets to help people so they don't even have to call in 'cause every time they call in, of course, it costs your business money, so how do you use the website as a tool for your customer support team?
So I think that's the thing that ends up happening as you start expanding the scope of how the website can impact the business outside of just leads, but, yeah, so that's, my answer is no, it's a neverending thing, and I think that's the beauty of it is that there's unlimited ways for it to impact the business, now, will you shift, if you look at you as a marketeer and all the things that you have in your bubble that you have to manage, will you shift focus a little bit over time, possibly, right, there may be certain times where your focus is a little bit more, like, I think of it as a pie and if you slice pieces of the pie, the pie is kind of our limited time that we have for working, right, unfortunately there's a limited time in the day, that pie can get sliced in different ways and at one point maybe you slice 40 or 50% of your time or 40% of your time optimising the site and building the site, that's maybe earlier on when you first start, and maybe that pie shrinks to 30% so that you can open a pie piece to doing other activities, of course, but it really should be, no matter what, it always should be some piece of that pie.
- Great, great, Luke, I was again looking through the state of Growth Driven Design and one stat, which is the client happiness, has been a big improvement in client happiness, do you wanna tell us more about that? And how you come about them results?
- Yeah, well, it comes down to we basically asked on a scale of one to 10 how would you rate your clients' happiness going through the traditional website design process versus going through Growth Driven Design process so it's kind of like an NPS, net promoter score, type of question, and really again, it goes back to all of those frustrations that we've talked about, you know, you as a marketeer, when you go through that process, you have to remember, it's not just you being frustrated, but then you're gonna have to go out to all those people in your company, in your departments, try and get content from those people and that's always a huge nightmare.
Producing all this content, wrangling all these cats from other parts of the company to get content from them and then again, having those arguments about what looks prettier, what do we think we should do, having the project delivered late, all those things that we talked about, basically is boiled down into this is a frustrating experience and so what we've found is that as you go through the Growth Driven Design process, you know, if I kind of peel the layers back on what makes this a happier process to go through.
It's alleviating all those frustrations that we talked about, you're launching on time, we asked agencies what is their average launch compared to what your estimate was, and Growth Driven Design came in on time, exactly what they estimated, versus traditional, I was actually surprised, they said traditional was on average two weeks late, from my experience it's usually like two months late, but maybe, you know, some people are working on different sized smaller sites so it's easier to hit the time period, but always late, and so I think that's one piece of why this is a happier, better process.
The second reason that I've found, and this is a little bit less tangible in terms of way to quantify it is that it's a much more engaging and fun experience, we use a lot of things like for those of you who may be familiar with, like, design thinking and design sprints where we get together, we do a lot more collaboration between your team, between your team and the agency, there's a lot of brainstorming sessions, there's a lot of prototyping, there's a lot of, I guess just more interaction and more creativity and fun that happens versus you know, usually what I see with traditional design is the marketeer will hire either an agency or do it in house and they just kind of let those people work and then have, like, a once a month check in to see how things are going, just a little bit more interactive, little more fun, there's a lot of, like, brainstorming activities you can do, a lot of people are doing workshops where they'll come in and do, like, a one day workshop to flesh out all the different ideas on a wishlist and so I think just as humans we like to interact, we like to, we're social creatures and so I think there's a little bit more of that, so yeah, we saw traditional design, they rated it a 6.3 out of 10, Growth Driven Design, 7.7 out of 10, so just a happier process, more pleasant to go through.
- Okay, Luke, last question, have you got any links or any tips or any downloads or anything we can help our viewers know a little bit more about Growth Driven Design, I know we've only touched on it in a 30 minute call but if they want to self educate, where can they go?
- The easiest place is go to growthdrivendesign.com, or if you just google Growth Driven Design it'll be the first one, and this is, we just launched it, this is our launchpad website, so we had a previous site that I built myself, I'm not a designer, developer, so it was a lot of duct tape and glue but it got the job done for the last year and a half, again, exactly what practise what we preach, try to launch very lean and then grow from there, and now what you see when you go to growthdrivendesign.com at least in what is it, today is May, 2017, that's what we, our launchpad website, so a common question is well, what does a launchpad website look like, well if you go to growthdrivendesign.com, you'll see exactly what it looks like and there, not only will you get an overview, a lot of the things that we talked about today but a little bit more in depth.
There's some videos, there's some walkthrough stuff, but then there's also links to our courses, so we have two courses, one is for marketeers, so for those of you who work internally at a company, you can sign up for our course and it's an eight or nine classes, so eight or nine hours, there's templates, there's tools, it's a lot of things to kind of give you the deep dive on how to actually execute a lot of this within your business, so I would say that's probably your best bet, now if you're interested in trying to, if you have a website design that you want to, if you have a website redesign that you wanna go about or if you have an existing site and you say, well, how do we just start optimising and kind of jump to that continuous improvement step, of course, we have 950 amazing agencies, obviously, Digital 22 is one of them, so they can definitely talk to y'all, and give you some guidance on maybe how to actually get started with the process.
- Perfect, all I wanna say is thank you very much, I know how busy you are, Luke, to have, well, nearly an hour of your time now 'cause we were talking before the call, super grateful, thank you, we're gonna keep running GDD, we'll keep sending over our success stories as well, what's your plans for the future now, just keep snowballing?
- Keep snowballing, yep, so we have a handful of things in the works, not only from the Hubspot tool side, how do we build even more tools that will help people that are doing GDDs, so some of that stuff's in the works which is cool, and then we have version two of the certification course, so there's a lot of new stuff that I've been, you know, in the last year and a half, I launched the certification maybe a year ago, year and a half, about a year ago, and since then I was on the road for six months out of the year last year, right, so we did, and so in that year and a half I've learned a lot of what's working, what's not working, little tips, tricks, things that other people are doing, you know, again, I don't invent anything, I just pull what other people are doing and put it together so I'm very excited for version two of the certification to pull a lot of those learning lessons from all these amazing people that are part of the community and then again, throw that out there to help everyone else so I'm excited, that's gonna be probably the next step in quarter three is the next version of the certification.
- Okay, fantastic, Luke, well, we'll leave you there, thanks again, really enjoy talking to you, and we wish you the best of luck, keep in touch and we're over in inbound later on this year, we're at Partners Day in Dublin in two weeks, will you be there?
- I unfortunately will not, I am taking a travel diet, so what a travel diet means is I, like I said, I was on the road for six months, I have some big projects I'm trying to focus on and travel can pull your focus away and so I said, okay, for the next few months, I need to just buckle down and I'm not doing any travelling, so I also have a new pug puppy, so I have to train the puppy and all that stuff. No travelling right now, but quarter three, quarter four, I'll pick it back up.
- Okay, so you'll be inbound in Boston, definitely there, we'll see you there, then, eh?
- I will be at Inbound.
- Okay, Luke, thank you very much.
- Thanks for having me.
- Okay, take care, bye bye, Luke, take care.
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