🥠 The curve that matters - How does community give an edge to Demand Curve’s growth program

You need to be able to pull off a growth strategy on your own. The only thing keeping you from doing that is the uncertainty that it might not work but what if you could get that assurance?
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Priyanshu Anand
May 3, 2022

Growth for startups is like chicken soup for their soul

Did you know that 80% of YC-backed startups succeed?

That statistic becomes even wilder when you consider that in general, only 10% of the startups out there really ever make it.

90% of the startups never make it. And to be honest, there’s a good enough chance that the other 10 might not make it either but what sets them apart are - well laid out strategies, the willingness to accept failure, great team effort, and a whole lot of experiments. Amongst these, one of the things that keep coming up on top is a proper growth strategy that focuses on generating sustainable revenue.

But it’s not easy coming up with a growth strategy, is it? The thing about growth is that there are too many variables. A lot of things have the ‘might or might not work’ connotation to them. You need to be ready to experiment, a lot. Unpredictability and uncertainty cloud most things you can do to strategize growth. A lot of people look at this as glass half empty, but the other side of the perspective looks at it as glass half full. The latter are those who eventually make it. Unfortunately, in that gray area of unpredictability, lie countless growth strategy ‘rip-offs’ who sell vague directionless courses disguised as growth marketing hacks.

This is where Demand Curve steps in - a professional course that helps you (actually) get customers and grow revenue. Growth marketing and growth strategies are like the bread and butter of startups. Doesn’t matter how flawless the product is, or how great your product-market fit is, without an effective growth strategy, a lot of startups struggle to make ends meet and find customers that will eventually pay.

But what sets them apart? How does Demand Curve get to be a trusted training program?

All the right curves in all the right places

Julian Shapiro, Neal O’Grady, and Justin Setzer are the Co-founders of Demand Curve. These guys have worked at some of the most successful startups and helped companies grow from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue. Neal helped grow Webflow as a content marketer in their earlier years, and Justin helped scale growth at Grammarly. Having had first-hand experience building some extremely successful companies today, they went on to first Co-found Bell Curve -  a creative growth agency helping companies build sustainable and defensible growth.

Bell Curve was founded on the idea that most of the growth tools and tactics were broken. Traditional growth strategies are re-packaged by industry seniors and fed down the fresh minds in business. These strategies just don’t work anymore. Bell Curve is comprised of highly strategic minds who realized that it was time to reinvent the wheel here. It is today, Silicon Valley’s top growth marketing agency.

While Bell Curve works as an agency, the idea behind Demand Curve was to create a well-researched, cohesive yet coherent, battle-tested, growth marketing course that is actually relevant to how the companies and the market operate today. Demand Curve was backed by YC and what’s even more interesting is that 35% of its students are YC Alumni. Quite a tall glass of pros already.

What is the Demand Curve Growth Program?

The core belief on which Demand Curve exists is that customer acquisition is one of the hardest challenges that startups face -

  • Marketing channels are overwhelming, you’ll end up pulling your hair out trying to focus on all of them.
  • Growth strategies can get expensive and it’s even more so to acquire new customers.
  • It’s difficult to decide on a growth strategy already, and the one you decide on doesn’t end up getting the kind of traction you’d hoped for.
  • Even if you go end up getting a handful of paying customers, it’s not enough to cover up expenses let alone be enough to scale.

And what options do you really have?

  • Searching for growth content on Google is like looking for a flashlight in the dark. And even if you find strategies, quite more often than not, you wouldn’t know which one to go for.
  • Buying courses that promise 10X growth in revenue within a year is the last thing you should do. Anything that promises anything in a short time is a bunch of lies and you should stay miles away from it.
  • Hiring agencies to do it for you is an option but given that you’re probably an early-stage startup, shelling out thousands of dollars to an agency is not exactly a good idea.

You need to be able to pull off a growth strategy on your own. The only thing keeping you from doing that is the uncertainty that it might not work but what if you could get that assurance. And not just an assurance but a complete structural target telling you how and when should you pursue the right goals. This is what Demand Curve offers. It doesn’t promise a strategy out of the blue that works for every market and every company. Rather it takes a realistic approach to build on your goals and targets to help you break it down and see through it more clearly.

What they call it is a growth engine. With a growth engine in place, you’ll have -

  • Sustainable growth that doesn’t happen overnight but instead creates a steady and predictable revenue stream.
  • A profitable model that ensures more earnings than investments.
  • Confidence to see a holistic picture and how you’re supposed to reach your goals.

On the more tactical side, the course covers over 41 models talking about everything from market research, ads, acquisitions, and conversions, to creatives, copy, social media, sponsorships, conferences, content, and marketing channels. These modules are divided into 4 sections - Growth Strategy & Roadmap, Ad creations, Acquisition Channels, and Conversions. Each of these sections has lectures and projects. After you’re done with your projects, you submit them and will receive an instructor-revised copy of them in a few days. You can go through multiple revisions, clarify your doubts, make suggestions, or anything that will satiate your curiosity.

Also, depending on the stage of your startup, the program has been tailored into two primary goals to choose from - Traction or Growth. The traction program focuses on getting you from zero to your first customer. The growth program focuses on scaling from your first customer to pursue higher channels for growth.

Wait, there’s more

The course is priced at $1,200 and promises a well laid out growth engine strategy in as little as 6 weeks. There’s a 30-day refund policy if in that time period you have done whatever work was supposed to be done yet haven’t been able to launch at least one channel. No questions asked.

Another one of the biggest highlights of the program is its partnership with Segment. They noticed that nearly every startup that goes through the growth program ends up using Segment. The deal was made to ease the process of transitioning into Segment after completing the course.

Segment and Demand Curve partnership applicable to all community members

What’s the deal about? Anyone who completes the program, gets $50,000 worth of credits to use Segment and the Pro features that it offers. This offer applies to startups that are less than 24 months old and have raised less than $5 Million in funding. Those startups that exceed the 24-month mark and have more than $5M in funding get 10% on their Segment plan of choice. Plus, there’s also 1 year of best-in-class marketing tools - 1 year of Fullstory free, 1 year of Hotjar free, 80% on intercom, $60K off on Mixpanel, and so many more offers.

Additionally, Demand Curve’s community of expert marketers serves a tremendous hand in the success of the program. A lot of the community also helps run their agency, Bell Curve, which provides growth services to startups.

Let’s take a closer look into Demand Curve’s community and knowledge base.

A community of marketers

Demand Curve’s community is the go-to place for marketers and growth professionals. In a way, the growth program isn’t just a standalone course that helps you manifest your growth strategies, but it’s also a knowledge base of resources to learn from. This is what sets Demand Curve apart from the rest of the programs out there - it gives you a community.

And people like Joey Noble - who is a Community and Growth Manager there - are making it possible to set such high standards for the world of marketing professionals to look up to.

A private Slack community

Demand Curve’s Slack channel is a gated community of 1000s of advanced growth and marketing professionals from leading brands like - Twitch, Shopify, Hubspot, Webflow, Salesforce, Medium, Reddit, and so many more. You can ask for help or review of your growth tactics, get feedback on your work, and leverage the knowledge from amazing marketers into your growth efforts.

You need to apply to be a part of the community - which just goes to prove the legitimacy of the community. If you’re legit a marketing professional, you can get access to perhaps one of the top 10 communities for marketers globally.

All the channels are quality controlled and well-moderated to ensure a high bar for content quality free from spam and/or irrelevant conversations.

Check out a sneak peek👇

Demand Curve Playbooks

Growth strategies are more about conducting experiments, they’re more about observing patterns and less about doing something that makes radical sense. A strategy cannot be architected, it can only be cultivated, by seeing what works and what doesn’t.

At Demand Curve, the team does deep dives into the growth strategies that have had a lingering effect on conversions and acquisitions in recent times. These deep dives make up are playbooks for growth teams to get a closer look into some mechanics of growth engines to use lay their groundwork on.

Demand Curve Playbooks - source

For example - Julian Shapiro, in his “Above the fold” playbook talks about the importance of having the right elements on the home page of your website before the first scroll. That’s what “Above the fold” means  - anything that’s visible before the first scroll. Playbook talks about the elements that make the most impact on first-time users which counts as a strong design that lures users into scrolling past the first hurdle.

An excerpt from Julian’s “Above the fold” playbook

The Growth Blog

Articles about best practices, tips, tricks, and guides to smaller marketing techniques that can help tweak your growth engine.

The growth blog

One of their most popular articles - the most important email marketing KPIs - talks about some of the things you should focus on while running email marketing campaigns. They address important metrics like conversion rate, revenue per email, CTR, and overall ROI as compared to other less important metrics that you probably shouldn’t be paying as much attention to as you do, like open rate.

The Growth Newsletter

The newsletter serves a subscriber base of over 50,000 marketers who get highly engaging content inspired by thousands of agency experiments and interviews with the world’s best marketers into concise, actionable growth tactics.

Despite having such a huge subscriber base, Demand Curve’s newsletter maintains an open rate of more than 50%. There’s definitely something there for growth marketers to learn from.

Examples of what the newsletter looks like - source

The Growth Summit

It can be simply described as the most advanced and engaging online bi-annual summit for and by the top voices in marketing.

Here are two of the most popular sessions from the Summit -

Product-led growth -

Community-led growth -

Landing Page Teardowns

Demand Curve’s research is top of the line. There is no second-guessing that. The landing page teardowns are another testament to that. It breaks down some of the highest-converting pages and does in-depth coverage of what is that they do right.

They’ve covered some of the fastest-growing companies in the tech space right now like Segment, Zapier, Ahrefs, and more.

Landing Page Teardowns - source

Each teardown contains some of the most striking features of the website. Features that usually always make a difference include -

  • Above the fold (ATF)
  • Header
  • Sub-headers
  • Social proofs
  • Features
  • Call-to-action (CTA)

About each section, the teardown focuses on the things that are done right and some things that can be improved.

For example - here’s their take on one of the features on the Ahrefs webpage - what’s good about it and what can be improved.

Ahrefs teardown

Byte-size knowledge through Twitter Threads

Demand Curve’s Twitter handle - Growth Tactics - has over 31K followers and it’s a place for knowledge packaged as tweets and threads.

Let’s take a look at some of their most memorable Twitter 🧵.

A thread on onboarding -

A thread on competitive analysis -

A thread on some of their favorite growth tactics -

And the community loves it

Demand Curve’s value is not just in the program but all the things that come with it. Community plays an integral role in decorating the program with something that can be a dealbreaker for most people. Community is what creates practical value; it’s what makes you feel human and knowing what others have done helps you scale your growth engine with more confidence.

What we learn from Demand Curve is that the value of something lies in its practicality of use for you and not in examples that worked for someone else. You can replicate strategies but you can’t replicate success, so why waste your time chasing a shadow.

And the proof is in the pudding -


To Summarize

Growth for startups is like chicken soup for their soul

  • The lack of a proper growth strategy course.
  • Demand curve fills in the gaps, but what really sets them apart?

All the right curves in all the right places

  • Julian, Neal, and Justin’s brainchild - that’s what Demand Curve really is.
  • Growing other companies from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue.
  • Founding Bell Curve which is now one of the biggest Growth Marketing agencies in Silicon Valley.
  • Building Demand Curve

What is the Demand Curve’s Growth Program?

  • The core beliefs on which the program was built.
  • Other options that are there.
  • What does Growth Program really do - help hone your growth engine into a sustainable growth model.
  • What does it cover?

Wait, there’s more

  • What else comes with the growth program
  • A partnership with Segment that offers $50,000 worth of free Segment and more marketing advantages.
  • The growth community.

A community of marketers

  • Community is what sets Demand Curve apart from its competitors.
  • A private Slack Community - A gated community of 1000s of advanced growth marketing professionals.
  • Demand Curve Playbooks - In-depth guides to offering invaluable insights into growth tactics.
  • The Growth blog - Articles about best practices, tips, tricks, and guides to address some of the smaller growth marketing concerns.
  • The Growth Newsletter - Highly engaging content inspired by some of the most successful thought experiments.
  • The Growth Summit - A bi-annual advanced online event for some of the top voices in the marketing domain.
  • Landing Page teardown - A breakdown of some amazing landing pages, what they do, how they do it, and what can be improved.
  • Byte-size knowledge through Twitter Threads - Amazing growth tactics broken down into smaller Twitter threads.

And the community loves it

  • What do we learn from Demand Curve?
  • A community that loves them.


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