Demand Curve Review

My Honest Review of Demand Curve

I recently took Demand Curve's Startup Growth Program. Here are my thoughts on the course, including the positive and negative sides.

Nicolás Cerdeira
Nicolás Cerdeira
Founder of Failory

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I recently had the chance to take Demand Curve’s Startup Growth Program.

Here’s my 100% unbiased review, in which I go over the positive and negative points of the course.

What’s Demand Curve?

Demand Curve is a Y Combinator-backed growth marketing training company.

This review goes around Demand Curve’s main offering which is the Startup Growth Program, an online course that combines written lectures, step-by-step real projects, and feedback from experts to help startups get traction and scale.

Demand Curve's course

It’s a super actionable course. You’ll spend 20% of the time reading their lectures (which are over 300) and 80% working on their projects. The objective of the course is that you end up with a validated growth strategy that specifically fits your startup.

The course is 99% written (in English), with the exception of a few recorded lessons. You can consume the content whenever you want, but note you have access to it for 12 months since you purchase the course.

The course has two plans:

Self-Serve ($1,500)

The Self-Serve plan gives you access to the whole course, but not to Demand Curve’s team of experts.

This means that you’ll read the lectures and carry out the step-by-step projects, but you won’t be able to get feedback on the projects from the Demand Curve team.

The price is $1,500. It’s the cheapest plan, being perfect for those startups with a limited budget.

As this plan doesn’t offer any refund, I’d recommend you to first ask for a free sample of the program here.

Full Program ($3,000)

The Full Program gives you access to the lectures, projects, and Demand Curve’s mentorship (for 6 months).

You’ll be able to carry out the projects and send your work to Demand Curve’s team of experts for them to review it and give you feedback.

Demand Curve's Full Program

The team will also work on a custom growth strategy for your startup, so the whole program experience is tailored around your business model and product.

The price is $5,800 but it has been discounted by 50% since the beginning of the COVID-19 so the current price is $3,000.

This plan has a 7-day 100% refund policy so you can get the program, review the curriculum and projects, and decide if it’s a great fit with your startup and needs.

Who’s Behind Demand Curve?

Julian Shapiro, Neal O'Grady, and Justin Setzer are the co-founders of Demand Curve.

The three of them have huge experience growing startups: In addition to helping hundreds of companies at Demand Curve, they are also partners at Bell Curve, one of Silicon Valley’s top growth marketing agencies. They’ve worked with some of the world’s fastest-growing companies; and have taken many startups from zero to millions in revenue. Prior to Demand Curve, they’ve also led growth teams at companies such as Webflow and Grammarly.

Y Combinator, one of the top startup accelerators, has invested in Demand Curve. 35% of Demand Curve’s students are YC Alumni, which is an amazing indicator, knowing that only 20% of YC-backed startups fail, versus the 90% failure rate of the rest of the startups ;)

Demand Curve's clients

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What’s in the Program?

The program has 32 modules:

  1. Growth Strategy
  2. Onboarding Flow
  3. Landing Page Copy
  4. Conversion Tracking
  5. Advanced Conversion Tracking
  6. Landing Pages
  7. A/B Tests
  8. Ad Copy
  9. Ad Creatives
  10. Acquisition
  11. Referrals & Virality
  12. Google Ads
  13. Google Display Ads
  14. Google Shopping Ads
  15. Youtube Ads
  16. Amazon Ads
  17. Facebook & Instagram Ads
  18. Quora Ads
  19. Cold Outreach
  20. Direct Sponsorships, Conferences & Meetups
  21. Content & SEO
  22. Ad Networks
  23. Pinterest Ads
  24. Snapchat Ads
  25. LinkedIn Ads
  26. Apple Search Ads & Apple Store Optimization
  27. Bing Ads
  28. Twitter Ads
  29. Screen Recordings & Heatmaps
  30. Conversion Rate Optimization
  31. User Surveys
  32. Email Marketing

All these modules can be summarized into 4 main sections:

  1. Growth strategy & roadmap: You’ll learn how to identify your optimal growth strategy, as well as develop a prioritized growth roadmap so you know exactly what must be done to execute on your strategy.
  2. Ad creation: You’ll learn how to write copy and make the creatives for your ads.
  3. Acquisition channels: You’ll learn how each channel works and understand which one best fits your business.
  4. Conversion: You’ll learn how to identify and optimize any “leaks” in your funnel.
  5. Bonus: Throughout the entire program you’ll learn key frameworks and concepts that will give you a fundamental understanding of growth so that you can be a more effective leader and manager.

Each module has two main things:

  • Lectures: The number of them varies from module to module, being “Content & SEO” one of the modules with more lectures. The lectures tend to be lengthy and detailed and don’t really require any previous knowledge on that topic. They tend to include examples, images, links to keep reading, and templates to do the work.
  • Projects: They are step-by-step guides on how to do things related to the module (for example, set up a FB ad re-targeting your website visitors). It’s the most important part of each module and what requires most of your time.

If you’ve got the Self-Serve plan, when you finish the projects you move on to the next lecture or module.

If you’ve got the Full Program, once you’ve done the project, you submit your work to a specific Demand Curve email address and that will open a thread between you and your instructor. The instructor will give over your work within the following 3 business days and leave comments for your review. Projects often require multiple revisions.

Something you may have noticed if you’ve read the modules list is that many of them are about ads on different platforms. However, according to Demand Curve, an ad budget isn’t completely necessary to be successful with the course. They can help you tailor your strategy around organic channels.

I have to say that the lectures amazed me. I consume a lot of content about startups and marketing and I can’t think of almost any other course, blog, or article with similar quality. The content was clearly written based on Demand Curve’s team’s experience growing startups, and particularly on their wins and losses.

On the side, I think it’s a really complete and well-structured curriculum. I can’t think of any acquisition channel they have missed or any important step a startup has to do when building a growth strategy that they haven’t included.

Furthermore, I’ve particularly liked that some lectures or parts of lectures are focused on certain business models, like eCommerce, SaaS, B2B, or B2C, which provides more personalized advice for the founders of these businesses taking the course.

Apart from the lectures, I’ve found really useful their documents, templates, checklists, etc. They include MANY of them, which has saved me a lot of time at the moment of building new landing pages, coming up with ad copy and creatives, or setting up conversion tracking on Google Analytics.

Extras of The Program

These extras come up both with the Self-Serve and Full Program plans.

The first extra and the one I’ve found most useful is the Slack community you’re invited to when joining Demand Curve. There are +1,600 people over there, all working on the growth and marketing of great startups.

The Slack community is divided into acquisition channels, business models, and some other growth topics. It’s super active and helpful, with questions having several replies and discussions on their threads.

Demand Curve's Slack

The second extra of the program is the chance to access a huge list of discounts on tools generally used by startups. Here’s all the information about this.

It’s a deal signed between Demand Curve and Segment that gives Demand Curve students $50k credits or a 10% discount on Segment, as well as generous discounts on 19 other marketing tools (including Intercom, Hotjar, and ActiveCampaign) for one year.

Finally, the third extra is the access to Demand Curve’s internal forum, where you can ask questions about the topics discussed in the course. I think this used to be the community before Slack, as there are many posts from the past but it isn’t really active right any longer.

Negative Comments

As you can see, I’ve loved the course.

All of the things I’ve said until now have been really positive.

However, let me go over some points that I think there is room for improvement on:

  • There are some technical written lectures that should be replaced by videos. It’s hard to understand only through text (in some cases there weren’t even images) how to set up something in Google Analytics or in an ad platform you’ve never used before. I think that videos would work much better in those cases.
  • Almost all of the acquisition channels, except  “Referrals & Virality”, “Cold Outreach” and “Content & SEO”, require some sort of budget to spend on ads or sponsorships. I guess that if you can afford this course, you can afford to have some hundreds or thousands to spend on ads, but I’d have included a few modules on zero-budget marketing strategies for startups at really early stages with no customers yet.
  • Despite they put so much focus on ad platforms as acquisition channels, I wouldn’t say they give enough information on ad copy and creatives. On their modules of “Ad Copy” and “Ad Creative”, they just teach you the basics of an okay ad and show some really simple examples.
  • As I’ve said before, the forum is quite inactive. I think it’s because they now feature the Slack community, which is far more active than what it used to be the forum. However, Slack doesn’t provide a great way to find old messages, while forums are much more organized in that sense.

I think that they are minor comments, though. You may even disagree with me on them as you take the course.

Updates

I’ve spoken to Demand Curve’s team about my negative comments, and they’ve informed that:

  • They are working on new forms of media.
  • They’ll be adding new modules around organic acquisition channels and content.
  • They’ll be beefing up the ad copy and creatives modules.
  • Slack is where they want action to happen (networking, getting advice, etc). The forum, instead, will stay there so that students can quickly get answers to common questions that have already been answered.

Conclusion - Should You Buy It?

I think that if you run a startup with any kind of business model and in any industry and stage, Demand Curve Startup Growth Program can be a really great way to define your growth strategy and find those acquisition channels that work the best with your business.

If you’re on a limited budget, I’d recommend you to go with the Self-Serve Program. You’ll be ready to carry out the projects on your own after reading the lectures, so don’t worry about lacking from Demand Curve’s mentorship.

If you have some customers or have recently raised money and you can afford the Full Program (particularly now that’s discounted), I’d completely recommend you to go for it. Demand Curve’s team of experts will be working along with you to define your growth strategy and carry out the projects, just as if you hired a growth agency or full-time marketer.

Having said that, I think that you should not buy it if you’re not running any business and just want to learn about growth and startups. This is an actionable course and everything is thought for you to immediately put into practice what you learn in lectures through the projects.

Feel free to send me an email at nico@failory.com if you have any more questions about the course!

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