CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: How Earned Growth Drives Efficient, Scalable Growth

3 minutes
May 12, 2022
Digital Marketing

Editor's Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz...

Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant. 


When Fred Reichheld wrote The Ultimate Question in 2006, helped create a revolution in how companies measured and managed customer satisfaction. With one question and metric called the NetPromoter Score, his methodology became a go-to measurement for driving not only customer satisfaction but also sales, customer renewal, and customer lifetime value growth. 

Last Friday at our CMO Coffee Talk, Fred joined us live to talk about his new book Winning on Purpose and the introduction of his Earned Growth metric and methodology.

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators 

While easy to capture, the NetPromoter question has often left companies feeling as if something is missing. Too often, companies successfully capture NetPromoter scores but fail to act on their implications, while also failing to leverage the verbatims (i.e. via the follow-up question, What could we have done to earn a higher score?) to impact everything from customer service to product strategy, brand, and more. 

Fred also lamented how many times NetPromoter has been “gamed” by companies and individuals alike, virtually wrecking its ability to predict, measure, and impact true customer success and satisfaction.

Have you ever had someone tell you they’ll get in trouble if you don’t rate them a 10? Or otherwise strongly suggest which score to give them?

How’s that capture info at all helpful? 

Further, although NetPromoter can be a successful focusing mechanism, it’s still a lagging indicator. You can make adjustments, but what about a metric that helps you predict future performance? 

Introducing Earned Growth 

When your existing customers and fans directly drive new business and revenue, it’s earned growth. You didn’t have to buy that lead. You earned it through the reputation, word-of-mouth, previous success, and referrals you generate through delighted customers. 

Fred applies a fairly wide definition to what can be included in earned growth. It’s not just customers coming back for more, and isn’t just direct referrals. 

He recommends that companies ask right after customers sign, and/or as a first step during onboarding, “What’s the primary reason you bought from us today?” 

If they reference an advertisement or marketing effort, that’s bought growth. If they mention your reputation or brand, if they mention someone else who told them to check you out, if they were a user at a past client and wanted to bring you on at their new company– those all count as earned growth. 

Combined together, NetPromoter and Earned Growth can be a powerful leading + lagging indicator tandem that measures customer satisfaction and predicts future revenue performance and efficiency. 

Coming Up on CMO Coffee Talk… 

In our next CMO Coffee Talk meetup (which is just around the corner!), we’re focused on pricing strategies. Who should own pricing and packaging? Which inputs should be considered which should be avoided? Why is the pricing expert adamantly anti-freemium? You don’t want to miss this one! 

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