Step 2: Brainstorm & prioritize

Now that you’ve articulated your growth goals, it’s time to map out a strategy to achieve them.

For this step, you’ll need have a solid understanding of two key metrics: customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (LTV).

Ready to start? In this step, you’ll brainstorm marketing channels and tactics to reach your customers and then evaluate which of these are most viable.

Involve your team in the brainstorming to get different ideas and perspectives. Watch out for any bias toward certain tactics and channels—it’s too soon to decide what will work or not work.

Keep your customer discovery data handy so you can stay focused on your target market.

Watch the video and then complete the activities in the spreadsheet (see below).


  1.     Refresh your memory on the content provided below.
  2.     In the spreadsheet you downloaded in Step 1, open the tab for Step 2 and complete the activity.
  3.     Proceed to Step 3 of this playbook. 
The five key questions to consider when reviewing the channel tactics you’ve brainstormed:
  1.     What is the CAC in that channel? (Should be no more than ⅓ of your customer LTV)
  2.     How many customers could the channel realistically yield and would this number get you to your growth goal?
  3.     Is your target customer on this channel?
  4.     What is the time needed to execute the tactic? (It’s important to “time stamp” for measurability.)
  5.     Which team member will be in charge of this growth tactic?
Paid vs. earned channels
Paid channels
Earned (“free”) channels
Social (e.g., paid Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) Social (e.g., free Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
Direct sales PR (e.g., free media publicity, promotion from internal employees)
Out of home (e.g., paid billboards, subway ads) Virality (e.g., referrals from existing customers)
Affiliate (paid programs for partners to promote) SEO (e.g., inbound & outbound keyword tactics, backlinks, content)
Trade shows (paid space at events) Community building (e.g., local meet-ups, speaking engagements, thought leadership content)
How do I know which channels would reach my target customer

While there are no easy answers to this, remember that you’re the expert in understanding your target market. Think about what you already know your customers and how/where you are most likely to reach them. What are their likes and dislikes, problems and challenges? Are they tech-savvy? What is their demographic?

As you work through Step 2, these strategies can help you prioritize your top channels:

  • Keep your customer discovery data close at hand for easy reference.
  • Build a buyer or user persona so you can visualize who it is you are trying to reach.
  • Conduct secondary market research to learn even more about your customer.

Get insights on key marketing channels.


Get key insights on customer development from growth marketing expert, Alison Gibbins.

HubSpot blog: The 6 Marketing Metrics & KPIs Your CEO Actually Cares About [Cheat Sheet] Learn more about key marketing metrics, including cost of customer acquisition (CAC) and the ratio of customer lifetime value to CAC (LTV:CAC). blog: How To Calculate Your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) This in-depth look at CAC is presented in an easy-to-understand way. Well worth the read. blog: The Easy Way to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value This in-depth look at customer lifetime value (LTV) is also presented in an easy-to-understand way.

Startup = Growth
– Paul Graham, Y Combinator

The Growth Marketing Playbook is based on the work of Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares in their 2015 book, Traction.