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.
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, as you get lifetime access to it.
Besides the lessons, the program includes 6 months of direct advisor access. Your startup will get a "growth advisor" assigned, who will take the time to understand your business and growth goals to help you build a custom growth strategy. The whole program experience is, therefore, tailored around your business model and product.
The price for the program is $2,500. They offer a 30-day 100% refund policy in case you do the work explained in the course but you aren't able to launch at least one acquisition channel.
What's the Traction Program?
Besides the Growth Program, Demand Curve offers a course called "Traction Program", sold for $950.
While the Growth Program is focused on companies that already have customers and revenue and are looking to scale, the Traction Program is for early-stage companies that have just (or are about to) launched their products.
Many of the lessons of these two programs are the same, but the Traction Program is a lighter version of the Growth one.
I haven't taken the Traction Program, so I will be talking about the Growth one.
The three of them have huge experience growing startups: In addition to helping hundreds of companies at Demand Curve, they are also partners atBell 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.
All these modules can be summarized into 4 main sections:
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.
Ad creation: You’ll learn how to write copy and make the creatives for your ads.
Acquisition channels: You’ll learn how each channel works and understand which one best fits your business.
Conversion: You’ll learn how to identify and optimize any “leaks” in your funnel.
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.
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.
If you're finding this article useful and want to sign up to Demand Curve, it'd help me a lot if you used my referral link.
Extras of The Program
These extras come up both with the program.
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.
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.
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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.
Most of the acquisition channels 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 more 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.
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’ve recently added 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. 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 (which would cost much more than the course).
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 email@example.com if you have any more questions about the course!
If you've found this article useful and want to sign up to Demand Curve, please consider using my referral link.