We’re in a world obsessed with instant gratification. Tiny hits of dopamine from continuous scrolling, the impatience we feel waiting for a 5-second ad to end before we can click ‘skip’… the concept of patience seems to be an at an all-time low. However, there’s a force in marketing that thrives on patience, consistency, and the power of momentum. Let me introduce – ‘compound marketing growth’.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn't … pays it.”

However, what Albert didn’t know (I assume) is that the compound effect doesn’t just apply to finance but is equally potent within marketing.

Marketing’s one fundamental purpose is to achieve growth. Often this simple aim can get misconstrued and overlooked as marketers obsess over clicks, traffic, leads… or that shiny new AI integration (instant gratification). But simply put, if your marketing activity is not demonstrably delivering business growth, then you might want to take another look at your strategy.

So how can marketing achieve business growth? And, better yet, how can we compound that growth for maximum effect? Well, seeing as you’ve made it this far, I’ll tell you. Growth is achieved through the successful application of any one of the following marketing components:

• Equity
• Experience
• Activation

Each one of these components is important, and each contribute towards brand growth in different ways and over different time frames. These are the three main levers you have available as a marketer. If you can get all of them firing at the same time, you can achieve maximum impact.

So here’s a breakdown of each of component, with some examples:


Equity or brand equity is the value a business gains from the recognition of its name in market. It’s a measure of customer perceptions, negative or positive effects, and the resulting value (or return) that the brand generates. Investing in brand equity will increase the likelihood of your brand being thought of in a buying situation (what Ehrenberg Bass calls “mental availability”).

Having a strong brand equity will influence future sales.

It has long-term effects that can help you win with the 95% of buyers who aren’t in market to buy right now. Field and Binet refer to this as ‘the long’, and although long-term effects usually always produce some short-term impact, the benefit is best measured over a longer timeframe. Essentially you want to make the brand easy to think of, and easy to buy.

One of the most notable examples of this is the well-known ‘Compare the Meerkat’ campaign. Back in 2008, Compare the Market were fourth in a category of four highly competitive price comparison websites, competing with other brands that offered the exact same service, and struggling to differentiate on costs, or the quality of their site, when they introduced Aleksandr Orlov, a Russian meerkat who was frustrated over the confusion between his website (compare the meerkat) and comparethemarket.com, playing on the similarity between the words market and meerkat.

In less than nine weeks, compare the market had achieved all its 12 month objectives. The campaign focused on building equity in the brand, making the brand easy to think of and creating positive feelings and associations.

So, if you can’t win on differentiation, then aim to be distinct.

At SLG, we’ve leveraged this strategy numerous times for clients within b2b and construction sectors. Most recently with the creation of ‘Max’ – the excitable plumber who can’t get enough of the PolyMax range of fittings from Polypipe. Insight found that one of the barriers to installers changing brand was due to lack of familiarity, and that even when people knew the Polypipe brand, they still wouldn’t risk switching without having a sense of how the product performed.

We created a ‘Mission Impossible’ style online campaign, using the ‘Max’ character – as the campaign’s main creative thrust, designed to drive sample requests, ultimately putting products in the hands of customers, and changing perceptions. Over a 4-month period, the campaign resulted in 3,727 leads and delivered a Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) or 1:29.

Polymax 2


As Scott Galloway puts it; “The first rule of marketing is to have a good product.” But a good product, isn’t always enough. Experience, or buyer experience, is the process a buyer goes through from the point at which they enquire through to the product or service being delivered. An often-overlooked aspect of marketing, your goal should be to make that experience as positive as possible. Make the buying process easy and simple, reduce any barriers and make it easy for buyers to solve their problem.

If you’re a brand that targets specifiers for example, then you can leverage tools like NBS Source and BIM models to simplify the specification process and remove barriers for your target audience… but for added bonus points – make the experience memorable.

The peak-end rule, a psychological heuristic, outlines how our minds change the way we recall past events. We remember a memory or judge an experience based on how we felt at the peak moments, and in particular, how we felt at the end.

For example, I spoke to an architect last week who told me that when she completes a project for a private client she’ll gift them something to go into their new space, maybe a wine decanter or a fancy coffee pot, – this small act makes the experience even more memorable and that item often lives in that space for years to come, a consistent little reminder of the architect and the great work they delivered for the client.

Winning at experience influences repeat sales and the likelihood or referrals.


Activation, or sales activation, is about short-term impact, harvesting existing market demand and ultimately winning with the 5% of marketers who are in market right now.

As I stated earlier, 95% of your potential buyers are not in market right now… but 5% are, so how do we maximise those sales opportunities?

Ultimately by being in the right place at the right time. If buyers in your category typically search for a solution online then leverage paid search to get to the top of that search and consider how you can implement dedicated landing pages, specific to target search terms to convert that interest into an enquiry.

Maximising activation influences immediate sales.

“Applying market pressure across three points in the buyer cycle builds sales momentum now and for the future. Strong performance at each stage adds up to an overall increase of 46% across three years.” (Kantar, 2019)

Compound growth, therefore, is achieved through the successful application of all three of these components simultaneously – over an extended period of time. Which bring us onto the final point, the importance of time.

Time is the supercharger to compound growth. Consistency and a long enough timeline are essential, whether we’re talking about business growth, market growth or the interest on your stocks and shares ISA.

As a profession, we’ve become obsessed with instant results, instant reporting, and instant success stories. Therefore, it’s important to remember, that whilst there are opportunities available to us to harvest in the short-term, continuing to invest in long-term brand building and continuously improving customer experience will maximise the compound growth effect.

So, stay the course, and avoid switching activity on and off as this will negatively impact your ability to deliver results and will leave room for your competitors to eat into your market share. It’s not always easy with a CFO breathing down your neck to cut spend, but there’s overwhelming evidence out there to back you up.

To quote a recent report by Frontify, “There are bad ideas, and then there are bad ideas. Cutting brand investment falls into the latter camp. If you don’t invest in your brand, your brand won’t grow and flourish. If your brand doesn’t grow and flourish, neither will your bottom line. If your bottom line takes a hit, then you make more cuts. If you make more cuts, well, you get the idea.”

Still feeling a little overwhelmed? If so, we offer a strategy workshop, where we work with clients to map their commercial objectives against these growth components. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Client Services Director