Growth Marketing 101: What is it, and how does it work?

Today’s business environments are dominated by change, and being able to adapt has become one of the most-sought after skills. People with entrepreneurial instincts tend to erase old ways and come up with new ones that are accepting of failure and uncertainty, all in order to create innovative solutions that cater for customers’ needs.

This same mindset is often found in today’s marketing, where the tempo of change is constantly quickening. In order to break through the noise, there is a new and powerful way of driving demand and building a successful customer base, and that is called growth marketing.

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a holistic approach that involves a compelling strategy and the deep understanding that growth is influenced by more than just acquiring new customers. It takes the traditional marketing model that focuses on brand awareness and acquisition, and adds various other stages, helping a company scale quickly through a steadfast focus on each stage of the funnel: awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue and referral.

It is important to remember that growth without retention of customers is not actually growth for most business models. This is the reason why growth marketing focuses on attracting more engaged customers and retaining them, by putting them at the centre of every action the company takes.

Here are the most important characteristics of growth marketing:

  • Growth marketing is based on data

One of the biggest advantages of growth marketing in comparison with traditional marketing is that all decisions are based around data as opposed to decisions based on gut feeling and assumptions. Everything is tracked, measured and accounted for so you know where your marketing budget is being spent and how it is performing. Aiming for a “North Star” is the key success factor. Your North Star metric does not necessarily need to be connected to revenue, but must be derived from a true understanding of what action provides value to the customer, it’s an indicator of successful product impact and future business outcome.

  • Growth marketing focuses on agile marketing operations

A growth marketing team does not work based on an annual planning, but rather in sprints or limited periods of time, such as 30-90 days. It focuses on constant experimentation with untested or unconventional solutions in order to grow the company in a meaningful way. A mindset of trial and error is therefore extremely important to be able to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Growth marketing also means continuous learning, seeking new ways to add valued information to each customer’s evolving journey through different strategies.

  • Growth marketing is consumer centric

Offering value to customers and building loyalty are key aspects of growth marketing. This authentic engagement on multiple channels will eventually lead to customers coming back for more and becoming advocates for your brand.

  • Growth marketing teams require a wide range of skills

From engineering and development, through copywriting, design and an affinity for tools and online platforms, growth marketing teams need both creativity and analytical skills to interpret astonishingly new levels of data. Furthermore, all growth marketing experts must be quick learners and fast adapters.

Prerequisites for growth marketing

  • A clear vision and a business strategy

Before implementing a growth marketing strategy, any company should have a clear vision and a business strategy. In other words, it is important to document clearly what you are, what you are trying to achieve and who your target audience is.

  • Access to the right data

Your growth marketing team needs access not only to marketing metrics, but also business metrics in order to figure out which channels, messages and tactics are best to generate lifetime value customers.

  • Agile culture

As mentioned above, things need to move forward pretty quickly for growth marketing experiments to succeed. This means there are minimal silos between teams and the marketing department works constantly alongside customer success, sales, product management and leadership. An open culture, where people can point out issues or potential solutions is also an essential prerequisite.

In conclusion, growth marketing is a sustainable, updated version of conventional marketing suitable for scaleups that want to outsmart their competition and learn more about their customers and ultimately turn them into brand champions. It is more than just raising awareness, it is about acquiring customers who are going to stick around.