Channel Stacking – The Key To Sustainable Business Growth

Sustainable Business Growth

When it comes to choosing the right channels in marketing, B2B founders and marketing leaders are often puzzled about where to start. Should you go with all the popular marketing channels? Or is it a better idea to pick only 2 or 3 and run with them? How much should you spend on each channel?

Like these, there are many more questions that come to your mind with respect to choosing the right channels for your marketing and growth activities.

In this article, we look at a new concept called Channel Stacking that will give you a structured framework and all the necessary additional resources you need to overcome this challenge.

Let’s learn.


What is Channel Stacking?

In the early stages of your business, choosing the right channel for growth is key for multiple reasons such as a limited budget, not having a team, the need to do marketing consistently, etc. It is not ideal to go after way too many channels since it might lead to:

  • Spreading too thin and not being able to utilize the full potential of the channels.
  • Inability to run with all the channels for an extended period of time (as you know, results from marketing take time. If you are unable to consistently focus on a channel, it is almost equal to not using it at all).
  • Wastage of budget and resources because of having to put your money into way too many buckets.

The solution to this problem is Channel Stacking

Channel Stacking is the process of incrementally adding new channels to your marketing stack as you make each existing channel work with time.

First, have a look at the below illustration to understand the concept.

B2B marketing channel stack
Marketing channel stack

The idea is fairly simple. You start your marketing efforts with 2 to 3 channels and you venture into newer channels only after you have started seeing some traction from those channels.

Let us understand this by taking Skalegrow an example.

The numbers in the above diagram represent the different marketing channels you pick. At Skalegrow, we started with a website, LinkedIn, YouTube, and email (a newsletter).

Now that we have started seeing some traction from these channels, we are ready to take things to the next level. Hence, now we are getting started with Google ads, X, and outbound email marketing.

Essentially, we started with 4 and are stacking up more channels as the existing channels get more mature.

In the channel stacking method, you would eventually want to scale to a stage where you have 10 or more channels simultaneously generating leads (and ideally pipeline) for your business.


How to select the first set of channels of the stack?

Now let’s come to the very first question of all – selecting your first set of channels.

This depends on the following factors:

  • The industry you are in: What works in one industry need not work in another. A good place to start would be to look at what your competitors are doing.
  • Your budget: If you are tight on budget, you need to consider starting with low-cost channels like LinkedIn organic marketing, SEO-led content, and email marketing (Again, this is not a ‘one size fits all’ game. It is always recommended to consult with a marketing expert before you choose the channels).
  • The team or agency support you have: If you have a person or team internally to manage your marketing activities, nothing like it. If not, you should have some kind of a support system like an agency or a freelancer who can manage the channels for you.
  • Your ability to manage a channel effectively and consistently: I see many getting excited about a channel (say a podcast for example) but not being able to work on it consistently. You don’t want to be one of them. Pick only those channels that you can maintain over the long term.
  • Supporting content: This is the most underrated of all. For you to run email marketing campaigns, you need to have supporting content such as product brochures, explainer videos, pitch decks, etc. Similarly, for any channel you choose, make sure you have the necessary supporting collateral. If not, create them.
  • Scalability: Choosing a marketing channel has to be done for the long term. To generate a significant ROI from the channel and justify the efforts you put in, it has to work like a well-oiled engine for an extended period of time. You should also be able to multiply its results with the right approach.

Though the choice of channels will differ from business to business, following are a few you can consider:

  • LinkedIn organic marketing (learn how to create content for LinkedIn here).
  • SEO-led content – mostly blogging (learn to get started with SEO-led content in 3 days here).
  • Email marketing (learn how to write a cold email sequence that works here).
  • Micro-influencer marketing (learn how to leverage this channel without breaking your bank here). This also includes lean video marketing. Visit Skalegrow’s YouTube channel to learn what kind of videos you can create at low cost.
  • Google ads – you can start with Google ads with as little as $500 (or even less depending on your target criteria and keywords).


When to stack more channels as you grow?

The fundamental premise is that you move to a new channel only when you have made the existing channels work to some extent.

However, should you wait for all those channels to work to start another one? Maybe not. If you have found at least 1 or 2 working, that’s a good launchpad.

The next question is, how do you know whether a channel is working for you or not?

That depends on the nature of the channel and the goals you have.

For instance, when I started LinkedIn organic marketing for Skalegrow, my objective was to generate some inbound leads (around 2 to 3 per month). Now that we have reached that milestone, we are trying to optimize the channel for better results. And we are also well set to try out new channels.

Similarly, see if your existing channels are working for you. The below image illustrates a few metrics and indicators you can use to determine whether a channel is working for you or not.

Marketing success metrics

One thing to note here is that if your objective from a channel is a bit more advanced (such as generating revenue and pipeline), you need to factor in that as well. Basically, derive metrics based on your business objectives.

If you are an early-stage company, in most cases, the key goal is to generate a consistent flow of leads. Optimization for revenue and pipeline comes much later.

For further reading:

To learn in detail about the different marketing metrics you can track check out this article: A Simplified Data-Driven Marketing Model For B2B SMBs

Now, how long should you wait to see positive results from your existing channels?

Again, there is no textbook answer for this. It depends on how aggressive you want to be with your marketing and growth efforts.

If you have the will and resources, you can try and fail (or win) fast (In fact many funded startups go with 5 or more channels in the beginning since they have the resources. Some of them have made this model work as well. Here, we are mostly discussing startups with limited or no funding at all).

I would say not to wait more than 2 months before you start new experiments. One of the biggest positives of a startup ecosystem is the flexibility to try new tactics, fail, and move on if things don’t work. Medium to large businesses often don’t have this luxury because of the hierarchy and processes in place.


How to select new channels for stacking?

This is a vast topic. It might also have to be dealt with differently depending on the business context.


Some of the criteria we discussed for the first set of channels – such as budget, industry, support system, scalability, etc. – would apply here as well. In addition to them, following are the other factors you need to consider while selecting a new channel:

  • Complementing and compounding effect – Marketing channels don’t work in isolation. In fact, they perform the best when they are well-integrated. For example, check out this article on how email marketing can be integrated into other B2B marketing channels. In a similar fashion, think about whether the new channel can complement any of your existing channels and improve its effectiveness.
  • Incremental effort: This refers to the additional ‘force’ you have to apply to get the new channel going. Some channels might need you to create a dedicated team within the marketing org. On the other hand, some new channels can be handled by your existing team. If the idea is to operate lean, go with the latter.
  • Potential reach: This doesn’t need an explanation. You need to be confident that the new channel is capable of generating demand for your business.

While selecting a new channel, it is a good idea to divide them into short-term and long-term ones. Some channels can give quick results, especially if you have a sizeable budget. Certain others take time. A best practice is to have an even combination of both channel types in the mix.

Also read: Content Distribution 101 – How To Find The Perfect Mix Of Marketing Channels

How much should you spend on each channel during stacking?

This is very subjective and depends on factors such as your goals, budget, industry, average ticket size, nature of your solutions, etc. But let me list a few additional resources that will guide you on this:

While the first article covers everything you need to know with respect to allocating marketing budgets, the other three focus on how to implement lean marketing techniques. Apply these frameworks and ideas to channel stacking to understand how much to spend on each channel.

Extending the channel stacking model to large businesses

As you would have noticed, we were primarily focusing on startups and early-stage businesses in this article. That is because mature businesses would already have multiple channels functioning and performing well for them.

However, the same methodology can be extended to them as well – only that large businesses are a little later in the journey. But, almost any business has to keep trying new channels for multiple reasons such as:

  • What worked in the past might not necessarily work today or in the future. So they have to keep evolving.
  • Some of the channels they are using might be saturated already or could get saturated soon.
  • Customer preferences change over time. Businesses also need to adapt accordingly.

So, the point is that even large businesses can apply the channel stacking model. The key differences in their case from startups and small companies are:

  • They would have exhausted the common channels most businesses use and would have to be creative about finding new channels and campaign types.
  • They might have to ‘relive’ some of the old and forgotten channels and see if they can make them work again.
  • Large businesses can be more aggressive about experimenting with new channels since they have more budget and resources.

So, if you are a B2B marketing leader or manager in a mid-size to large business, don’t assume that channel stacking doesn’t apply to you. It is your friend as much as it is a startup’s.


Final words

We discussed how to keep adding new channels to your ‘marketing channel stack’. But how about optimizing existing channels? Just because one channel did not work for a while, does it mean that you completely drop it?

Of course not.

Understand that channel stacking does not mean ignoring the optimization of existing channels. The model only refers to channel addition. As you keep adding new ones, you definitely have to spend time optimizing your existing ones.


Skalegrow – B2B content marketing agency

With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.

Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:

Content marketing is one of our focus areas and we are already helping some of our clients generate leads and improve brand awareness using high-quality content. Visit our content marketing services page to learn more about how we can help. You could also write to us at


About the author

Naseef KPO

Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.

Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.

You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.