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Growth Marketing Agency for Challenger Brands + Mid-Caps

“I love the smell of fresh spackle and hope.”
– Erlich Bachman

Challenger Brand Perspective, from a Challenger Brand

The term of “challenger brand” hinges on ambition. Whether dipping a toe into a new global market or expanding to serve a new client base, the goal of any growth marketing agency is to meet the challenge of that uncharted territory. As an independent agency – often considered a challenger brand or “wild card” in big Fortune 500 pitches – this is the work we value most.

The truth is that growth marketing for challenger brands typically demands “10x”ing growth, with one-tenth of the budget. And as quickly as possible. It’s about lean budgets and big ideas. And, if we’re being honest, it means bigger challenges and more adrenaline. This is the work we love most.

And we like to think that it shows. Our experience and expertise in new customer acquisition are valuable to “challenger” startups all the way to the World’s Largest Advertiser, Amazon, which is famous for thinking like a challenger when it enters new markets (despite its behemoth size).

Gorillas logo on a black background presented by an international media agency.
A black background with a plane soaring in the sky.
The virgin red logo on a black background, promoted by a media buying agency.
Pure insurance logo on a black background with an international media agency.
A plane flying in the sky against a black background.
Global Expansion + International Media Buying for GoDaddy

The Growth Agency for Challenger Brands

A new-to-market challenger brand needs to satisfy founder’s ambitions of new customer acquisition and accelerated growth – as well as investors’ expectations of return. Media buying for venture- or private equity-backed brands, demands using paid media to fuel customer acquisition accountably, and at scale.

But, like the startup world generally, marketing and media strategy often fall prey to formula and cliché. Think: the “Uber of X,” or “ChatGPT for Y.”

As an experienced growth marketing agency for clients globally, we deliver the tools, strategy, and systems to rapidly scale marketing, and by proxy, new challengers, by forgoing formula. We take what’s proven and pair it with what’s unique about your customer, proposition, and path to profitability (remember: not all customers are equal in value. It’s never too soon to start thinking about lifetime value.) We get excited about innovative solutions that other agencies, perhaps your current agency, wouldn’t even think to consider. Because copycat strategies are for copycat brands.

Growth Media Strategy for the Mid-Cap

CMOs call them challenger brands. CFOs and bankers call these companies “mid-cap”. Mid-Cap companies are too big to be small in their market, and too small to be large. The vast majority of our clients are mid-cap companies. And it’s tough to be in the middle.

Media strategy for mid-cap companies is about using paid media investment to impact new customer acquisition and growth – but without the scale (or typically infrastructure) of category domination. Essentially it’s about enjoying the advantages of larger advertisers, without the buy-in. The key to pulling this off is knowing how not to overprescribe media and ad tech. Mid-cap advertisers need the right tools to manage data and targeting – but they don’t need costly subscriptions and bulky ad tech with specious claims of automation and capped setup support hours. Criterion Global’s growth marketing agency counsel helps brands and marketing teams navigate this morass of choices firms face when marketing at scale.

So how does a growth marketing agency begin this work? Read on to learn more.

Growth Marketing Agency Strategy

  • New customer acquisition analysis
  • Market sizing
  • Startup marketing budget
  • Performance marketing audit

Media Planning for Growth

  • Pipeline-based paid acquisition modeling
  • Audience-based optimization analysis
  • Performance marketing media strategy

Media Buying

  • Full-service paid media execution
  • 360* digital: affiliate, search, display
    broadcast/traditional (TV, Out of Home)
  • “Launch-to-Growth” Transition

Media Measurement + Optimization

  • ROAS-based cross-channel reporting
  • Quantitative and qualitative stakeholder reporting
    24/7 optimization

Growth Agency 101: How Do We Begin?

  1. The Talk. We start with a basic conversation to understand your brand and current growth marketing strategy, as well as customer acquisition funnels. (Where is the greatest value? What’s broken? Etc.) Channels of acquisition should compliment pricing and product strategy – whether for DTC or B2B or subscription-based startup businesses. These conversations can happen as calls after-hours from an exhausted Chief Growth Officer, Founder, or Marketing Director. Or they can happen on-site, with all-hands on deck.
  2. The Gameplan. Moving across the organization, however deep it may be, we’ll develop a gameplan together to help you navigate the full spectrum of digital and analog marketing, including affiliate, retail media + comparison shopping engines, marketplace sales, and on-site personalization and beyond.

Whatever the format or scenario, it’s important to know: any/all consulting fees we charge new brands are always creditable toward future implementation. We don’t believe there should be a penalty for understanding what a team actually needs. Our best clients view us an an extension of their team because we understand the value of being nimble and needing to outsmart the market.

Contact us to have the talk and catalyze your growth.