Growth marketing has been around for awhile now. Wondering “What is growth marketing?” Don’t panic. Like many buzzwords, the core concepts are more important than the name itself.
The truth? You’re probably already doing some version of it. So congratulations, growth marketer.
So let’s take a look at the definition of growth marketing, and where the term came from. We’ll also provide some examples of how to use a growth marketing mindset to expand business and enhance the customer journey.
The Definition of Growth Marketing
Growth marketing focuses on quickly making data-based strategy changes and iterating on those changes just as quickly. Growth marketing leaders and teams identify potential areas for organizational growth and attack those opportunities with razor-sharp focus. More specifically, growth marketing goes beyond the old-school “attract and capture” model of lead generation. Instead, growth marketers focus on how to build better relationships with customers.
Did our growth marketing definition sound to you like a definition for all marketing in 2023? You get a gold star! Growth marketing has stormed the castle over the last few years and become the dominant marketing strategy. This makes sense in an era of decreased resources and a “more for less” mentality.
Entrepreneur and marketer Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010. As Ellis described it, growth hacking involves data-driven experimentation, agility, and scale. The term became incredibly influential in marketing over the ensuing decade, inspiring the birth of growth marketing. Today, growth marketing is so common that many sophisticated marketing organizations have an entire department devoted to the approach.
What specifically do growth marketing professionals do? We’ve got you covered in the next section.
What Does a Growth Marketer Do?
In a nutshell, growth marketers take deliberate steps toward expanding their company’s customer base and overall revenue through more creative measures than typically associated with traditional marketing. They view the customer lifecycle as an hourglass rather than a funnel. Not only are they concerned with developing creative awareness and lead gen campaigns, but they’re also razor-focused on extending the value of their offerings for their existing customers. By driving more active engagement, they better understand their customers, which empowers them to tell more compelling stories to all of their target audiences.
Here are just a few things successful growth marketers do on a daily basis to help expand their business:
- Work cross-functionally to develop an understanding of each department and learn how they can contribute to the growth of the company
- Develop plans to experiment, test, and optimize targeted and personalized digital experiences across every stage of the customer lifecycle
- Oversee content marketing initiatives meant to drive traffic to numerous digital properties through search engine optimization, backlinking initiatives, and public relations efforts
- Gather, analyze, and interpret critical data to identify growth opportunities and improve awareness, conversions, sales, and revenue
- Experiment with innovative marketing techniques and deliver progress reports to key stakeholders
That’s a lot to ask of any single marketer. It’s best for marketing teams to employ a universal growth marketing approach.
Growth Marketing Examples to Consider
Consider these growth marketing strategies that almost every good growth marketer is going to stand by.
Organic lead generation is preferable to paid lead generation. By focusing on where SEO is trending and delivering exciting messaging, companies can drive major leads and sell far more of their products and services without having to drain their budget through paid advertising strategies. And skilled marketers who do invest in paid advertising do so to complement their existing content marketing efforts and support a holistic marketing plan.
Customer retention is just as important (if not, more so) than customer acquisition. This isn’t to say that bringing on new customers shouldn’t be a priority, but the best way to grow your company is through your existing business. Keeping your clients and consumers engaged with your offerings leads to better usage and more interest in other products and services. So make sure that you know your customers, understand their needs and expectations, and deliver on your promises.
Persuasion is a better approach than overt salesmanship. It feels awkward even having to include this on the list, but many marketers still think they can bend customers to their will. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Modern consumers are in complete control of their buying journeys, so it’s important that you treat them with the respect they deserve. Don’t lecture, educate. Don’t preach, empathize. Don’t brag, listen. Informing your audience will drive trust in your offerings and endear prospects and customers to your brand.
Relying on instinct is a slippery slope; trusting the data reveals objective truths. Historically, marketers have had to make estimated guesses about their target audiences and their program performance, which isn’t ideal. After all, determining the ROI of roadside billboards and radio ads is pretty difficult. These days, though, we have a literal world of data at our disposal. Don’t ignore it! Use this information to develop accurate personas, anticipate your customers’ next steps, and improve program performance in real-time.
A company is more than the sum of its products. Every business relies on the quality of their offerings as the foundation of their revenue. But a product can’t sell itself, so you need to go beyond the tangible offering to build a larger narrative that delights your audience and elevates your brand to new heights. While staying within brand and style guidelines is important, don’t be afraid to express a creative, disruptive, or even subversive message. Again, know your audience and use that knowledge to anticipate and exceed their expectations.