As part of our 2019 Advofest conference we had the pleasure of welcoming Ash Ali, the CEO of Uhubs and former Marketing Director at Just Eat, to deliver a talk on business growth.

On his journey from being a student in Birmingham, selling his first business from his parents’ home at the age of nineteen, to growing a business worth over £1.5 billion, he has become an expert in his field.

Customers are the bedrock on which every business is built, so finding the right customer-base and transforming them into loyal advocates is key to generating growth.

In his book The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes To Succeed, Ash explains the importance of businesses having a ‘competitive edge’ to attract loyal, returning customers who can promote the brand.

Lesson 1: Know your customers:

The primary focus for new businesses must be identifying a core customer profile which they can use to grow the company in the future. Ash refers to this process as ‘growth scrapping’

The hands-on practical work to find and zero in on the target market is necessary as the groundwork before a ‘growth hack’ can be generated to expand to a more generalised mass of customers. For Just Eat, the core customer was recognised as being a somewhat tech savvy person with a mobile phone.

Lesson 2: Go where your customers are

The drastic changes in business over the past twenty years have meant that traditional methods of creating brand loyalty are no longer effective. The rise of social media and the internet led Just Eat to establish a presence online and in app form – as this was where its core customers could be found.

It's easy to build a product, but it's very hard to get customers to love and trust you

Ash AliCEO of Uhubs and former Marketing Director of Just Eat

Lesson 3: Be creative and resourceful

The importance of core customers promoting and positively reinforcing the brand means that it is important to make the most of every available resource. By following the rules and endearing themselves to both its customers and business partners, Just Eat encouraged them to advocate on its behalf.

This included using the real estate of its partners to advertise the brand by placing free Just Eat signage in the windows of its partner restaurants to help spread the word.

Lesson 4: Know your numbers but maintain human connections

Ash describes the use of metrics such as clicks as one of the ‘north stars’ of measuring brand popularity. The love that Just Eat received from its loyal customers was tracked by focusing on the ‘lifetime value’, or the number of orders on a repeat basis, to identify whether a customer was an advocate.

However, it is also important not to become too bogged down in numbers and analytics, and maintain a focus on the brand being authentic and producing a product that people are enthusiastic about advocating for.

In strategic marketing you need to think deeper about your metrics, you've got to understand the key drivers and levers of your business growth.

Ash AliCEO of Uhubs and ex-Marketing Director of Just Eat

Lesson 5: Create the right culture and mindset

Growth is simply not possible without a good mentality. To be successful, a business must have a top-down focus on growth. All employees must be committed to both personal and professional growth at every level, while being open-minded enough to encourage experimentation.

At Hyve we are committed to helping businesses to create a network of passionate advocates which cultivates growth. Ash is clearly an expert in this area, and we would like to thank him for his fascinating talk at Advofest 2019.

You can find more information about Advofest here, as well as by following the official Twitter and Instagram accounts!

Tadiwa Ndlovu

Author Tadiwa Ndlovu

More posts by Tadiwa Ndlovu

Leave a Reply