The Growth Audit

Where should you focus right now? Here.

Attention Direct-to-Consumer Brands

We see this all the time: big businesses, under optimized, missing out on easy profits.

The root cause?

Most of these brands do not take a holistic, customer-centric approach to marketing and merchandising.

They achieve early success riding one hit product or acquisition channel to a certain scale. 

But then they plateau. So focused on optimizing conversion rates or Facebook funnels, they neglect the fact that their customer acquisition costs have increased to offset any and all customer lifetime value.

Without healthy margins, growth stops. This is when they get stuck.

CEOs and CMOs come to us come to us "stuck."

  • Stuck because they don't know which opportunity to go after first
  • Stuck because they are too busy working in the business that they can't carve out the time to work on the business
  • Stuck because they need a framework to systematically approach growth going forward

Getting Unstuck: The Growth Audit

If any of this sounds familiar to you, we designed a solution to get you unstuck and growing again.

We call it the Growth Audit.

It is a business audit and roadmap that gives leaders like you the precise strategy and feedback you need–when you need it–to scale your businesses.

Based on our experience growing over thirty direct-to-consumer brands, we believe that it is a big mistake to try to optimize your entire business at once. You simply don’t have the resources or time to redo a website, improve SEO, launch email campaigns, and push on paid ad spend at the same time.

The magic is that you don’t have to do everything at once. Fifty years of catalog marketing plus another 15 of e-commerce marketing has shown us that the 80/20 rule exists in all aspects of a digital business.

Twenty percent of your customers drive 80 percent of your business.

Twenty percent of your website’s pages drive 80 percent of the page views. And only a small portion of your marketing campaigns, funnels and spend actually drive significant growth at your business.

This Google Analytics report is typical of a 9-figure retail client. One percent of their traffic drives 43% percent of the revenue:

This is both amazingly powerful and scary information.

Powerful because every business has “small hinges that swing big doors”–only a few things that it needs to focus on at any one time to trigger epic growth.

Scary because if you ignore these few things, the business will stagnate. Or grow, but grow unprofitably.

The quickest way for you to achieve significant, revenue-doubling, hockey-stick growth and profits is to identify these few things and ignore the rest.

That is what our team aims to do for you in a Growth Audit.

Who are we?


Growth Engines is comprised of operators first, consultants second. Each partner has grown and exited successful online brands.


Our agency works exclusively with sizeable direct-to-consumer brands and the private equity firms that own them. And we use a similar approach at brand after brand.

  • We used it at Avenue.com (50 US stores) to increase customer lifetime value and at Old Time Pottery ($200+mn top line) to increase customer lists 20% in one week.
  • We used it at Fanprint.com to identify one single marketing approach that took them from $0 – $10mn in 1.5 years.
  • And we used it at Karmaloop where we helped to turn that eight-figure, money-losing, bankrupt company cash-flow positive in under ten months.

The approach works. At the end of the day, it’s basic math mixed in with a fair amount of e-commerce “been-there, seen-that, done-that” know-how.


We not only make recommendations, we can implement them. Our team consists of your entire marketing bench. We have data analysts, ad buyers, email marketers, copywriters, and so on. That’s why private equity firms and big retailers retain us for years to accelerate growth.

What is in a Growth Audit?

The goal of the Audit is threefold:

  • To learn what levers will grow your specific business. Gone will be the fear that you are "missing something" or leaving money on the table. Instead, you'll know exactly what to focus on for biggest impact.
  • To execute, faster. This isn't a fluffy consulting document. It's a here-do-this-then-do-this-and-here-are-the-screenshots blueprint that you can implement yourself, hand to your team to implement, or work with us to implement in a future engagement. 
  • To increase confidence that you have a plan, one informed by veteran feedback. We will give you the exact KPIs that matter to your business growth, and the processes that will improve them.

We Approach Each Audit as Follows:

We get access to your web analytics. We use this to identify what 80/20 customers, products, and marketing channels are driving your business.

That's where we want to focus going forward.

'Whales' by Initial Acquisition

Data analysis reveals which channels are growing this business

We get access to your email service provider. Here we focus on what you are already doing to nurture your customer asset. (If the answer is "nothing" then that's great news-big opportunity.)


Visual depiction of which acquisition funnels will lead to growth

We do real big-data segmentation of your customer asset to identity high lifetime value segments and purchase behavior. We use this information to recommend incredibly effective retention campaigns. 

We develop step-by-step playbooks (with screenshots) to show you how to implement the changes that we recommend.

Our final deliverable includes a premium report, our playbook recommendations, and any supporting data. You can implement the recommendations yourself, work on implementation with outside agencies of your choosing, or - if we think there is a fit-work with our team.

The Best Way to Grow Your Business

We believe the Growth Audit represents the best possible way to approach growing your business, especially considering the alternatives:

  • You could hire a business consultant...for $10K/mo and up (we know, we do this too). How many consultants know e-commerce businesses? Not many.
  • You could hire a specialized agency. The problem here is that to a hammer, everything is a nail. Facebook agencies will focus there, email agencies will focus there. And yet without a solid knowledge of the customer, you won't know if you are missing opportunities from other channels.
  • You could do nothing. We are guessing that you would not have read this far if "doing nothing" was working. And in online retail there are real, significant costs to inaction. 

In short, the Audit is a great option. It contains the knowledge, the feedback, and the instructions that together accelerate your learning and growth.

Who is the Audit For?

Here’s the rub: our Audit isn’t for everybody. We can only make this a success by working with certain types of businesses.

  • No startups struggling with initial traction. The Audit approach relies on customer data and, unfortunately, startups don’t have enough.
  • No closed-minded leadership. If you are convinced in your heart of hearts that SEO is your problem, then go ahead and find an SEO expert to run an audit and start building backlinks for you at $10K/mo. Our Audit isn’t a robust audit-of-everything...its goal is to identify the few key things that will make you grow.

Make sense? Our Growth Audit works. We have used it over 15 years of growing e-commerce businesses. If you are still on the fence, email us — we will tell you if you are a good fit. 

FAQs


Is the Audit for us?


We have yet to see a digital business that didn’t have the 80/20 rule in full effect across customers, marketing channels, webpages, etc. But the customer analysis approach that we use in the audit works only if you have customers. It works even better if you have repeat customers, or the potential for repeat customers. So right there, that usually means that you need to have been in business for at least six months and be doing at least seven-figures in revenue. B2C, B2B, or SAAS? Doesn’t really matter; our approach works for all because it’s rooted in the principles of database marketing.


What’s included in each Growth Audit?


This is an overview of the areas we typically assess in each Growth Audit. Although we consider everything here, if the items do not apply to your particular business we will not report on them. The Audit is all about identifying the 3-4 things you should focus on; it is not a comprehensive site audit.


We have no time to implement this stuff!


We hear you. That’s why we couple each Audit with step-by-step implementation instructions that you could hand off to a team member to get started. It’s why we make ourselves available for 6 weeks to help with any follow-on questions.


No spare team members? We make introductions to agencies that can do exactly what we are recommending a-la-carte.


The alternative that we see way too many brands do is just toss money at this problem, hiring an “all-in-one” marketing agency or consultant to come in and “do marketing." This is expensive! A less risky option is to run an audit like this first, find out what 2-3 levers you need to pull, and only focus there.


You will experience easier implementation with less on your plate, and the total marketing cost will be lower.


What if you can’t find any way to grow my business?


I think we do a good job of qualifying who we work with before we get started. But if for some reason we crack open your web analytics and drop our collective coffees because you are a hopeless case, doomed forever to stay at your current level . . . then we’ll just shoot you an email, refund your money, and wish you luck.


We want you to be thrilled with your Audit, not upset off that we spent two weeks to tell you nothing you didn’t already know!

Grow Your Brand Today

A veteran audit of your business analytics designed to get you unstuck on growing again

  • Complete review of business to identify your top growth drivers
  • Complete review of marketing channels (SEM, SEO, Email, etc.) to identify "lowest-hanging fruit"
  • Identification of your Key Strategies (3-4 things you should focus on over the next 90 days to achieve significant growth)
  • Implementation playbooks (step-by-step how-to documents that lay out the best way to implement our recommendations with one hand tied behind your back)
  • 2-week turnaround