Customer-Led Growth, or CLG, is a framework for really understanding your ideal customers and using that knowledge to drive your business forward. It means talking directly with your customers to learn of their needs, struggles, and aspirations, then reflecting that in everything you do. From your product or service to your marketing and customer support.
At the core of CLG, there are just three components:
- Targeted customer research;
- The top-priority customer’s Job-to-Be-Done definition;
- The top-priority customer’s experience/journey map.
Yes, just three. But pretty big ones, right?
Once you have them, you can use them to solve any number of business problems. Working through the CLG framework opens your eyes in a way—it highlights both the gaps and the opportunities that exist in and for your business.
A common one is customer acquisition. Addressing churn. Closing sales. Turning one-time purchasers into lifelong customers. Creating a referral program. And so many more!
“Customer-led growth” is a SaaS-inspired term coined by Georgiana Laudi and Claire Suellentrop from Forget the Funnel. Think “product-led growth”, “sales-led growth”, “marketing-led growth”—these are all popular models in the technology sector. Even though CLG is also “something”-led growth, it is not meant to replace these models, but complement them. I believe it can work in perfect tandem with a sales-led company and a marketing-led startup alike!
Customer-led growth can work in perfect tandem with a sales-led company and a marketing-led startup alike.
I’ll go even further and say that being customer-led lays the solid foundation for your company to make a conscious decision to become anything-first. And then rock it, own it and win at it.
CLG is not synonymous with marketing strategy but it is a great framework for developing a superb one. This is what got me interested and what ultimately sold me on CLG. This is also how I’m planning to apply it—by helping companies write and execute marketing strategies that are perfectly unique to their customers and their product or service. See my newly updated Services for more details.
CLG sounds straightforward—gather and analyze research, apply the Jobs-to-Be-Done theory to the findings, create a Customer Experience Map, then make decisions—and it is. But this doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s time- and resources-intensive, taxing and plain hard, which explains why many companies aren’t doing it. But it’s also incredibly important and rewarding to do!
And I strongly believe more businesses should.