There are five different Growth Models you can use to scale your business, and each Growth Model has it's own unique characteristics.
In many industries, Sticky Growth is the most complicated to create—but it's also the most valuable Growth Model, long-term.
Use Sticky Growth to grow your business by creating irreplaceable infrastructure in your industry. If you get this right, your Real Solution will increase your average Lifetime Value (LTV) and you can justify a much higher Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
Sticky Growth is based on creating irreplaceable infrastructure for your target customers (Real People).
To scale with Sticky Growth, you need to design a product, service, or experience that solves a core Real Problem in your Real People's world, one they couldn't imagine living without and where it would be difficult to swap your product out for a competitor's solution (a high "switching cost").
In today's business world, the best example of Sticky Growth done well is probably Quickbooks from Intuit.
How Quickbooks Uses Sticky Growth
Quickbooks is the accounting software used by the majority of small-to-medium size businesses across the globe.
For many entrepreneurs and accountants, Quickbooks has become the primary source of financial information such as income, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
If you use Quickbooks (as I do), before long their platform becomes your central hub of customer invoices, payroll records, and tax filings along with historic financial reports as your business grows.
To switch from Quickbooks to a competing platform is a gargantuan project that only gets more complicated over time, the longer you use Quickbooks. Hence, Sticky Growth.
It should come us no surprise, that Quickbooks has recently expanded their core product to offer online checking account and business loan products, as well as a virtual bookkeeping service.
Because Quickbooks uses Sticky Growth, they can invest massive amounts of money in brand awareness campaigns and discounted trial offers.
They don't have too much concern for their upfront Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) because once you become a customer you're likely to stay for years and pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in subscription fees over time, meaning average customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is very high.
How to Get Sticky to Grow
Remember, your objective is to learn a bit about each of the five Growth Models and then pick one to focus on, master, and scale your business—but you can add more Growth Models later on.
Sticky Growth is not usually a great primary Growth Model for a brand new business, because establishing the reputation and product requirements to achieve Sticky Growth can cost a lot of time and money.
Still, Sticky Growth is worth your consideration as you develop your products, services, and experiences so that you can look for opportunities to create irreplaceable infrastructure in your own industry, much like Quickbooks has done.
More than any other growth model, Sticky Growth is deeply intertwined with product design, but even then your product is still a Real Solution to a Real Problem that your Real People already have.
Keep in mind, Quickbooks did not create a need in their industry. Their target customer already needed to keep track of financial reports and file tax returns, they were simply paying huge fees to accountants and bookkeepers to do so.
Quickbooks used software to create a simpler solution, which helped it spread and stick.