What is Growth Driven Design?

  Website Design & Development
Tyler Pigott
Tyler Pigott

09.20.2019 | 4 min read

As a business owner or chief marketing officer, there are two questions you need to ask yourself—first, how long has it been since you revamped your website?  Second, is your site doing the things it's supposed to do, like generating enough leads or turning those leads into customers?


Those questions beg one more:  how was your website designed?  In other words, was it essentially a one-shot deal—you know, you give the designer a few particulars about your business and marketing goals, then 6 months or a year later, boom, you have a new website?  If that was the deal, well, you might have a problem.

The reason is simple. In the first place, your business isn't the same as it was 3 years ago, or 5 years ago or 10.  You likely have new products and services, or maybe your target audience has shifted.  Second, like every site, yours isn't perfect—some things work, some don't.  If you created your website using the traditional methodology, what are you doing to improve it based on how well it's performing and how your customers are responding to it?  What, if anything, are you doing to do to reflect the changes in your growing business?

In this article you'll learn:

  • The problem with traditional website design
  • What is Growth Driven Design (GDD)
  • The Three Stages in the Growth Driven Design Methodology
  • Why You Should Consider GDD 


If you were investing in the stock market for the first time, how would you do it?  Would you stake out all your stock purchases and sales for the next five years, sit back and hope for the best?  Or, would you first go for low-hanging fruit, making a few strategic stock purchases, seeing how they worked out, then based on those results, make a few more, and a few more after that?

OK, that's admittedly a rhetorical question.  No smart business person would claim to know what the market's going to be doing that far down the road. 

But here's the thing—that's precisely how the traditional web design process works, and it's a problem.  Why?  Because, just like the stock market, it's not possible to know everything about your customer's user experience when you design your site.  What if they don't like your content?  What if they don't respond to your inbound marketing campaigns in the way you'd hoped, or don't go to the pages you want them to, or don't fill out your contact forms?  What if they like your competitors' sites and campaigns better than yours? 

And there's another problem with traditional web design:  it's generally a long and expensive slog.  Consider for example these head-turning metrics from several recent surveys on website design user data:

  • Almost 55% of companies that used traditional design and web development said the process took at least 6 months to complete—and 80% of these said the process took more than a year
  • On average, traditionally designed sites are delivered 2 weeks late and only half launch on time
  • 54% of marketing and IT teams say their traditional design sites are a "bottleneck" for their businesses
  • The average cost of a traditional website redesign is $55,000 (hopefully that's not up-front!)

Fortunately, there's a better way—it's called growth driven design.


There are several ways in which traditional and growth driven design differ.  Among the more important is that GDD more effectively incorporates marketing (read data-driven) insights into the design process.  Since marketing insights are a moving target (this is because you're always learning--or should be learning--new things about our customers), GDD is an iterative process. You start with a lean site based on what you already know about your customers, then gradually ramp up based on customer response and new things you learn.  Finally, GDD is generally a faster and less expensive way to design a site.

As Luke Summerfield, an expert in GDD with HubSpot explains it:

"It is a smarter approach to web design that continuously improves using data and experimentation to inform how to improve the site over time. And it's a smarter approach to web design that informs other parts of the business. So as you're learning about your users, as you're collecting that data and making decisions on how to improve the website, how does that impact what you're doing on the sales side of things when you're helping their sales teams? How is that helping impacting what's going on with the marketing? And vice versa."



In a word, yes.  Typically, the GDD Methodology follows a predictable, 3-stage process, as follows:


This is the stage in which you establish clear, measurable digital marketing goals based on the real data (both demographic and behavioral) you have about your buyer personas. You also align those objectives with the buyer's journey—from a new lead to a loyal customer.  Finally, at this stage, you work out your principal design approach, objectives (wishlist items) and potential challenges.  The duration of the strategy stage is about 10 -14 days.


This stage usually takes 60-90 days.  Think of the launch pad website as a foundation for your new site, one which will enable a systematic approach to iterative improvements down the line.  This is, in a sense, your "bare bones" new site, which is superior to your previous site, but not yet the "finished product". For example, this could include a home page, solution page, about page and a landing page. 

Among the elements of your initial site is its ability to collect key customer data, SEO analytics, website visitors, conversion rates and other website performance metrics. These include how many prospects are downloading gated marketing assets and giving you their contact information.  Said differently, the launchpad site is your foundation for subsequent optimization and continuous learning.


In GDD, each iterative improvement to your site is referred to as a "sprint" and typically there are about 14 such sprints in the continuous improvement stage.  That doesn't mean making changes based on what you, as owner or marketing team, like or don't like. It means optimizing your site based on what your customers like or don't like, which is based on their behavior on your site.  They're the ones who will determine which content works—and which doesn't, or whether your browsing experience is easy and intuitive, or if your calls-to-action are compelling.  Based on the data you gather through this stage, you end up with a fully optimized website.


Simply stated, a growth driven design website can more effectively help you achieve your principal marketing goals because the design is built on data-based marketing insights. These include information about who your customers are, their pain points, needs and online behavior from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom.  In other words, GDD works better than traditional design.  It's the reason sites grounded in GDD principles generate 17% more leads and a 14% increase in site traffic in less time (6 months after launch).  And if you're considering redesigning your website, it's also the reason you need to consider utilizing growth driven design.

Admittedly, the process can be both challenging and confusing, but there are competent, experienced agencies who can help.  If you're ready to talk growth driven design, contact us today to schedule your strategy session and let the brainstorm begin!

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