As a Program Manager at Hubspot, Luke Summerfield’s job is to help Hubspot’s partner agencies achieve their peak level of performance.

Luke’s message today is simple: The web design process most agencies follow is broken.

The web design process most agencies follow is broken. Here's how to fix it. (PODCAST) Click To Tweet

You meet with the client a couple of times, then go back into your office for a few months, battle the inevitable scope creep, blow past deadlines, and then when it’s finally done you don’t hear from the client again for two or three years until they’re ready for a redesign.

And with how frustrating the process is, can you blame them for not rushing to go through it again?

The agile method has been all the rage in software development and has been driving great results for its proponents. So why are we clinging to an antiquated model that nobody is happy with when it comes to designing and building websites?

Today Luke shares a methodology he calls Growth Driven Design that helps avoid all of these problems, get your clients a better result, and make you more money.

This isn’t some high-level talk covering pie in the sky ideas with no clear way to implement them. This is a practical framework for changing the way you sell and service your clients.

[email protected]'s Growth Driven Design can help you avoid problems in web design and get better results. Click To Tweet

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What’s wrong with the current web design process? [3:15 – 10:30]

Project-based work is usually a nightmare for the client and agency.

Clients resist redesigns because they have almost never gone well in the past. Projects regularly go over budget, don’t launch on time, and the client is pulled away from their business to deal with everything the agency needs. By the time the project is finished, they don’t want to think about it again for two to three years.

Project-based work is usually a nightmare for the client and agency. Here's how to fix it. Click To Tweet

For agencies, it can be difficult to grow with the inconsistent cash flow from project work, and scope creep can be a killer. Since clients know they aren’t going to do another redesign for two or three years, they try to pile everything into one design round, and when that significantly changes the budget, nobody is happy.

Luke works with 3,000 partner agencies at Hubspot and knows this is an industry wide problem, which is why he has been working to promote a new framework called Growth Driven Design (GDD) to help solve these problems.

Growth Driven Design: The 3 step process to fix web design [10:30 – 21:00]

1. Strategy

Before you build a house, you need to lay the foundation. In the first step of GDD, your goal is to get a clear understanding of your client’s users and the pain points. This will help you understand how the website fits into their lives so you can work to solve their problems through UX, messaging, and content.

For this step you should be prepared to carry out user interviews, journey mapping, and create a list of fundamental assumptions. If you are working on smaller projects then going deep, this may be overkill, but it is still important to approach any project by trying to understand the people who will actually be using the result.

At the end of the first stage, you should have a strategy session with your client where your goal is to come up with a wish list of 70-200 ideas of what should be on the site. These ideas should have a clear impact on the user and be focused on driving value for them.

2. Launchpad Website

Think of this as the minimum viable product (MVP). This is the start of testing, not the end. Go back to the list of ideas you created and identify what Luke calls the 80/20 features. These are the 20% of features that will get 80% of the results.

The purpose of building a launchpad website with 20% of the features instead of 100% is to get something built quickly and into the users’ hands so you can get out of your bubble and start getting real feedback. The only way to build your clients a high performing website is with real feedback from real users, and a launchpad website does that.

To launch quickly, focus on the 20 percent of features that will drive 80 percent of the results Click To Tweet

3. Continuous Improvement

Once the site is in the wild, it’s time to optimize based on the feedback you’re getting. The trouble is there are a million different things you can doing, so it’s important to prioritize your time spent on the highest value items first.

To help make this easier, Luke created what he calls the GDD Hierarchy Cheat Sheet which you can get along with a ton of other great resources when you sign up for free on the GDD page.

This is a continuous process of planning, building, and learning and by working through these steps you not only have developed a long term client, but you have given them the results they actually need, without all the headaches.


  • What is the dialogue like between agency and client during this? [21:00 – 24:50]
  • How long are the cycles? [24:50 – 28:45]
  • Do the GDD cycles ever end? [28:45 – 41:00]
  • How do you bill for this? [41:00 – 49:45]
  • Can you do this with smaller clients? [49:45 – 55:00]
  • Why change if I am doing fine with project based work? [55:00 – 59:00]

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about how you can implement GDD in your own agency, then you need to check out

The resources Luke has shared there are amazing. He includes everything you need to get started, including templates and calendars to eliminate the guesswork.

Resources Mentioned

Chris Goward’s Evolutionary Site Redesign
Square 2
Media Junction
Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History

Thanks for listening!

Have you made the switch to a retainer based billing model? If so, how has it impacted your agency? If not, why not? Share your story in the comments below.