Growth marketing is the practice of creating a marketing plan that focuses on growth, specifically the growth of a company's customer base, revenue and profitability. It is the process of experimenting and learning what works best to drive customer acquisition and retention.
Growth marketers are constantly testing new ideas and strategies, optimising their approach, and iterating based on data.
In this guide, we will dive deeper into the definition of growth marketing and explore some key aspects, best practices, qualities of successful growth marketers, indicators for hiring one and examples of successful growth marketing strategies.
What is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is a data-driven approach that focuses on the customer acquisition and retention process.
This marketing technique deviates from traditional marketing methods and takes on a more holistic view of customer engagement.
Growth marketing is focused on specific metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics guide the approach of the marketer in decision-making to grow the business.
Growth marketers craft campaigns that focus on encouraging users to take a specific desired action, such as registering for a product trial or visiting a website. The desired result of the campaign should be measurable and testable.
Key Aspects of Growth Marketing:
Collective Approach: Growth marketers prefer a collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders in the growth process. This approach helps to increase the sense of ownership of the project and improve teamwork. Every team member should understand the goals of the campaign and how they can contribute to its success.
Testing a variation of the campaign is a fundamental aspect of growth marketing. Growth marketers rely on A/B testing to validate campaign assumptions and determine what works best. The results of the test serve as valuable data that guides future optimisations.
Feedback from users is a vital pillar of growth marketing. Growth marketers obtain feedback from their target audience, typically through surveys, to understand their users' needs and preferences. This data helps in designing successful campaigns that resonate with their target audience.
Responsiveness and flexibility:
One of the hallmarks of growth marketing is being responsive to changes in the marketplace or customer preferences. Flexibility allows growth marketers to continuously learn from customer feedback and data, and make changes to campaigns accordingly.
Multi-channel marketing efforts:
Growth marketers leverage different marketing channels to acquire and retain customers. With the multitude of channels, there is always the potential to reach a wider audience.
Growth Marketing Best Practices
Successful growth marketing requires an iterative approach that entails testing, learning, optimisation, and repeating the process. The following are some best practices to implement a successful growth marketing strategy:
Define your goals:
Start by determining a specific objective or goal for your campaign, such as email sign-ups, increasing conversion rates, or customer acquisition.
Understand your target audience:
Effective campaigns begin with a deep understanding of your target audience, including their pain points, motivations and preferences.
Utilise data and analytics:
Collecting, analysing and effectively utilising data is a key component of growth marketing. A data-driven approach allows you to make informed decisions in optimising your campaigns.
Continuously test and iterate:
Growth marketing involves continuously testing and iterating campaigns to find what works and improve over time. For example, A/B testing specific components of your campaign can help you optimise for maximum performance.
Optimise customer journey:
A crucial element of growth marketing is optimising the customer experience. Marketers should define their customer journeys and seek ways to improve them.
Leverage multi-channel marketing:
Growth marketers should leverage different marketing channels to reach their target audience. Utilise channels like social media, email, search engine optimisation (SEO), affiliate programs and more to increase visibility and reach.
7 Top Qualities of Successful Growth Marketers
1. Analytically Minded - A successful growth marketer should have a deep understanding of data analytics. They should be able to analyse data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for optimisation. They should also understand how to set KPIs and measure ROI effectively.
2. Innovative - Growth marketing involves a lot of experimentation and testing. A successful growth marketer should be willing to take risks and try new things. They should be creative and continually brainstorm new ideas for campaigns.
3. Results-Driven - A successful growth marketer should be focused on driving results. They should have a solid understanding of the customer journey and be able to optimise each touchpoint to improve conversions and drive revenue.
4. Customer-Centric - A successful growth marketer should have a deep understanding of the target customer. They should be able to create messaging and campaigns that resonate with the customer and address their pain points.
5. Technical - Growth marketing involves leveraging a range of marketing technologies such as A/B testing tools, email marketing platforms, and analytics software. A successful growth marketer should have a solid understanding of these tools and how to use them effectively.
6. Cross-Functional - Successful growth marketers work across teams, collaborating with product, engineering, sales, and customer success teams. They should have excellent communication skills and be able to communicate effectively with other teams.
7. Continuous Learner - Growth marketing is a rapidly evolving field. Successful growth marketers should be continually learning and staying up-to-date with new trends and technologies. They should be willing to attend conferences, read blogs, and take courses to improve their skills and knowledge.
4 Signs You Should Hire a Growth Marketer
1. Stagnant Growth - If your business has reached a plateau and is struggling to drive new growth, a growth marketer could provide the fresh perspective you need. Growth marketers are focused on driving rapid and sustainable growth, and can help identify opportunities to optimise your current marketing efforts.
2. High Customer Acquisition Costs - If you are spending a lot of money on customer acquisition with little return on investment, it may indicate a need for a growth marketer. Growth marketers specialise in finding new and innovative ways to drive customer acquisition, improve retention, and increase customer lifetime value.
3. Inability to Scale - If your business is growing quickly but struggling to scale, it could be a sign that your marketing efforts are not optimised. A growth marketer can help identify bottlenecks and opportunities to streamline your marketing efforts and help drive growth at scale.
4. Limited Marketing Resources - If your business has limited marketing resources, and you are struggling to keep up with the demands of growing your business, a growth marketer can help. Growth marketers specialise in finding ways to maximise your marketing efforts with limited resources and budgets.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Growth Marketer
1. What are my business goals, and how can a growth marketer help me achieve them?
Before hiring a growth marketer, it's important to identify your business objectives. You should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how a growth marketer can help you reach those goals.
2. What level of experience is required for my business?
Growth marketing requires a range of skills and experience levels. It's important to identify the level of experience and expertise that is required for your business. For example, if you are a startup, you may require a growth marketer with a more entrepreneurial mindset that can help drive rapid growth.
3. What skills are most important to my business?
Growth marketers require a range of skills, including data analysis, creativity, customer empathy, and technical skills. It's important to identify the skills that are most important to your business and seek out a growth marketer with those skills.
5 Examples of Successful Growth Marketing Strategies
1. Dropbox's Referral Program
Dropbox is a file-hosting service that allows users to store and share files online. They’re known for their successful referral program, which incentivises users to invite their friends to sign up for the service. For every successful referral, both the user and their friend receive additional storage space for free.
This program played a significant role in Dropbox’s early growth, with over 35% of new customers coming from referrals. This growth strategy was essential in the early days of Dropbox, and they continue to use it to help maintain momentum.
2. Airbnb's Community-Driven Growth
Airbnb’s growth marketing strategy is all about community. The company initially featured professional photographs of spaces but shifted its focus to user-generated content like in-destination photos, local recommendations, and verified reviews.
Airbnb leverages its community by encouraging hosts to provide a personal touch and create a unique experience for guests. The community-centric approach results in an emotional bond between guests and hosts that translates into customer loyalty and increased bookings.
Today, Airbnb has more than 2 million hosts in over 100,000 cities, making them a global player in the hospitality industry.
3. Glossier's Content Strategy for Social Media
Glossier is a beauty brand that found success through its social media marketing strategy by creating content that showcases their products being used by everyday people. Their social media strategy is focused on creating an emotional connection with their followers.
Their Instagram content isn’t just about selling products, but it’s about telling stories around beauty and building a community. This strategy allowed Glossier to expand quickly while keeping a highly engaged audience, with over 2.8 million Instagram followers to date.
4. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing
HubSpot is a marketing software that uses inbound marketing, a strategy that focuses on creating content that attracts, engages, and delights customers instead of interrupting them.
HubSpot’s approach includes creating remarkable content that solves problems, attracting visitors through search engines and social media, and building a relationship with those visitors by sending personalised emails and relevant content until they’re ready to become paying customers.
HubSpot’s inbound marketing strategy contributed significantly to their growth. In 2018 alone, they generated over $513 million in revenue.
5. Slack's Innovating Referral Strategy
Slack's referral program was one of the most innovative growth marketing strategies that the company used. They offered users $100 in credit for every new user they referred to the platform. They also provided those new users with $100 in credit as well.
Slack also used a tiered referral system where the more users one referred, the higher the reward one received. By offering users an incentive that leveraged their brand loyalty, Slack was able to create a viral loop of referrals that rapidly expanded its user base.
Slack saw explosive growth in its early years and currently has over 10 million daily active users and over 85,000 paid customers.
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