What is ‘Growth Driven Design’?


Growth Driven Design (GDD) is all about taking a smarter approach to website design in order to reduce risk and frustration. Rather than relying on assumptions, a growth driven design approach makes excellent use of tangible data to ensure that the website meets the needs of your target audience. In addition, there is greater consideration of how the new website can benefit the entire company, rather than simply acting as a sales and marketing tool.

The term ‘Growth Driven Design’ has been  coined by HubSpot, as it looks to provide an alternative methodology to ‘
traditional’ website design. Amidst all the excitement that comes with a new website, there can also be a fair amount of frustration and uncertainty. Costs and timelines set at the start of a project can easily become unrealistic as the project develops and the scope becomes clearer. Assumptions made in initial discussions by people sat around a table are never going to deliver perfection.

growth driven design

What is traditional website design?

In ‘traditional’ website design, a client identifies their need for a new website, establishes a budget and secures funding, and then picks someone to design and build it. The client then meets with the website team to develop a project plan and getting a sense of timescales, which varies widely depending on the complexity of the proposed site. A great deal of time and effort goes into creating a perfect and complete website that’s ready to go live and make a big impact.

However, it can often be a real challenge to manage a brand new website project alongside your other day to day jobs. Inevitably, interest in the site begins to wane and aside from the occasional blog upload, the website remains unchanged for months or years at a time. This isn’t ideal, from either a brand building nor an SEO perspective. For most companies, their website is a vital element of their business, helping to build brand awareness, educate consumers and drive sales. So why isn’t it treated as such? For a website to deliver the best possible results, it needs constant refinement. That’s where Growth Driven Design comes in.


Why build a website in bitesize chunks?


Rather than building the perfect complete website for a specific moment in time, before allowing it to languish untouched for several years until it needs another redesign, a GDD approach encourages you to start out small and build up. This is a more time and cost effective website design method that allows you to act on the feedback and observed behaviour of real website users.

At the end of a typical website project, everything goes live at once. With GDD, that pressure and risk is minimised. The project is split up into smaller stages or iterations which each go live separately, as and when they’re ready. As a result, the timelines and costs are split up into more manageable bites.

Growth Driven Design prioritises and emphasises continual improvement as a way of ensuring that your website is meeting both its objectives and the needs of your target audience. It makes excellent use of website analytics and frequent testing to determine where tweaks should be made, rather than relying on assumptions.

The purpose of a company’s website is likely to vary over time, as the business strategy and priorities change. By working in short sharp bursts, you can easily adapt the website to meet the company’s needs at that present moment, without having to overhaul absolutely everything. From a smaller launch site, you can slowly build a flexible website that responds to changes in the market, audience behaviour and advances in technology.


What are the stages of the Growth Driven Design methodology?



Much of the research required for this first stage of the Growth Driven Design approach overlaps with the information required for the Inbound Marketing methodology. This is a perfect example of how GDD helps to support your marketing efforts rather than drawing resources away from them.

As with Inbound, you want to gain a deep and thorough understanding of your customers’ behaviours, habits and desires. You’re looking to develop buyer personas that detail what it is that they would want from the website, rather than what you want. It’s all about making the user experience as smooth and pleasant as possible, serving up the content that will help them solve their problems. It might help you to mock a few customer journeys through the site, getting into their mindset and considering how they might respond emotionally at each stage.

Launch Pad

A launch pad is a small yet effective website that you go live with fairly quickly. Obviously, you should be looking to create something better than your current offering, but the emphasis should firmly be on going live. The sooner you get the website up, the sooner you can begin to collect the vital data that will inform the design and development of the later stages of the website.


Continuous Improvement

At the heart of Growth Driven Design is the idea that a website is a living breathing tool, not something that is done, dusted and set aside. Additions can be made to the launch pad website, informed by the data you’ve been able to collect using analytics and A/B testing. By only building exactly what you need, rather than assuming what you might, the whole process becomes far more efficient. Some changes will be quick wins whilst others will require greater thought and consideration.

Before you make too many decisions however, ensure that the launch pad has an audience of sufficient size. HubSpot recommends waiting until you have a couple of thousand visitors a month to the site before feeling confident in the conclusions you’re drawing from the data.

As you work through your list of website additions, prioritise those that provide the greatest benefit to the end user, not yourselves. Remember, your website is there to add value to the customer! If you’re following the Inbound Methodology, you’ll want to ensure that your content covers each buyer’s journey through awareness, consideration and decision.

What will Growth Driven Design mean to you in 2019?

In 2019, we fully expect Growth Driven Design to emerge as a leading technique in website design. In comparison to traditional website design, the project is more time and cost efficient, making it an attractive option for businesses. Costs are spread out over a longer period of time rather than in one big hit, as additions are added to the launch pad site in priority order. With GDD, you can begin to reap the benefits of having a website to market your product/services, whilst at the same time gathering useful data for future designs and development.


Written by Anna Carruthers December of 2018