When it comes to explaining ‘Growth Marketing’, you’ll find three kinds of people. The clueless ones term anything that grows a business as ‘Growth Marketing.’ The second ones are show-offs who go full-throttle into nerdy details and terminologies to make you realize how it’s like an alien phenomenon that will change the world. And then few realists teach you like a seasoned College Professor. We at LeanSummits, prefer to belong to the third category and will help you understand the term ‘growth marketing’ in a detailed yet simple manner.
Let’s get started!
So, what Led to the Birth of Growth Marketing?
Gone are the days when the business world was about a few giant companies. Today, we see more and more startups competing against them and knocking over monopolies with their insane growth stories.
To the surprise of old-school people, most of these startups didn’t have millions in their marketing budgets (some didn’t even have any) and were facing struggles to survive. This led to the burning question: ‘How can you grow a business quickly without relying on expensive marketing methods?’
That’s where Growth Marketing entered the fray. The term ‘growth marketing’ comes from ‘growth hacking’, a phrase coined by Sean Ellis back in 2010. He described it as the kind of marketing that explores avenues for organizational growth and capitalizes on the opportunities.
Growth Marketing: Picking Up Right Where Conventional Marketing Left Off
Let’s go back to the ‘Mad Men’ era. The marketing was quite straightforward, you hire an advertising agency to come up with the best creative ideas, and then you hope for the revenue to fall through. The goal here could be people lining up to buy your products or services.
Then came the Digital Era. So marketers started running Google ads, sending email blasts and creating social media ads. Once the campaign is set in motion, or the email is sent, you can only hope for the best. Then you bring out your gut feeling to understand why the customers didn’t like your ad or the email copy.
Although both the above marketing methods are different, you can see the same principles working behind them. Firstly, they both are ‘set it and forget it’ methods. Like you set a Google AdWords campaign or run television ads, and then you forget about it. Thus, the marketing funnel has only two stages: prospects and customers. There’s nothing in between.
The second big constraint in conventional marketing methods is the absence of hardcore data to analyze the impact of efforts. For instance, you can never know how many people liked the ad that you ran. It all ran on the intuition and experience of the marketers. It’s obvious that it doesn’t go well if you want to scale up quickly.
So, What is Growth Marketing?
Growth Marketing is not just pressing the ‘go’ button; it’s constant experimentation to engage, acquire and retain the customers. It’s a continuous pursuit to understand and cater to customers’ unique, evolving motivations and preferences. This is done by developing and delivering highly customized, personalized content across various channels. Thus, it’s not just another marketing method; it’s an obsession to grow a company in the quickest possible way.
One thing to note here is that growth marketing doesn’t throw the traditional marketing methods out of the window. Rather, it uses those methods and adds techniques such as A/B testing, value-additive blog posts, data-driven email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization, and technical analysis of various aspects of a user’s experience. Growth marketing intends to quickly implement insights gained from these strategies to achieve robust and sustainable growth.
Key Components of Growth Marketing
Growth marketing combines conventional marketing channels and new tactics to achieve the intended results. Let’s see some of these methods that have become key elements of growth marketing strategies across the globe.
A/B testing or Multivariate Testing
A/B testing or multivariate testing is one of the first weapons in any growth marketer’s arsenal. As implied in the name itself, A/B testing is done by deploying either an “A” or a “B” test to understand which variation of your content does a better job. If the content variation is done more than twice, it’s called ‘multivariate testing. The change could be as small as changing the blog’s headline or could be more extensive by changing graphics, copy, design, etc.
You can implement A/B testing or multivariate testing in various formats, including email marketing, landing pages, social media ads, etc. A good growth marketing strategy doesn’t stop at getting better results with a particular variation, as what works for one audience might not work for others. Buzzfeed is one of the best examples as they change the titles of their blogs for various social media platforms.
Cross-channel marketing means creating a marketing strategy using multiple channels such as email marketing, SMS messaging, push notifications, in-app messages, email marketing, Google ads and other channels. Here, you experiment with campaigns for different channels, understand their preferences and then create a tailored strategy that customers prefer on each channel. Once you know what works and doesn’t, you can engage with them no matter where your audience is.
AAARRR Marketing Funnel
In the customer journey, traditional marketing has only two stages: awareness and acquisition. On the other hand, growth marketing focuses on the entire customer lifecycle by engaging with customers at every step. This marketing funnel is called ‘AAARRR’, representing the initials of each stage’s goal.
Let’s decrypt what AAARRR means.
- Awareness: Making people aware of your brand, product or service.
- Acquisition: Generating leads by acquiring customer details.
- Activation: Giving first-hand user experience to users once they’ve signed up.
- Retention: Keep engaging and bringing back customers with new features, offers, user feedback, etc.
- Revenue: Increasing revenue by upselling, cross-selling, contract, subscription, etc.
- Referral: Encouraging happy customers to share your product or services by referral programs
What Makes a Great Digital Growth Marketing Agency?
As we saw, growth marketing means marketing using any method, through any channel and in any format. Thus, a growth marketer needs to be good at copywriting, designing, video editing, SEO, social media, Google Ads and many more. And on top of that, they must be good strategists to implement and experiment with growth strategies for companies. In case you didn’t notice, that’s a LOT of skills for one person to have. Therefore, finding and hiring good growth marketers is almost a nightmare.
That’s where digital growth marketing agencies come in. They’re growing popular as many companies look at digital marketing for business growth. Let’s see five telling signs of a great effective growth marketing agency.
- They’re Master of All Trades: A growth marketing agency must have in house resources to cater to ever-changing requirements across all channels and methods.
- The Talk & Walk Data: They must be good at capturing and analyzing data to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s not a good agency if their strategy meetings don’t start and end with data.
- They’re a bit Crazy: Although data is at the core of strategy-making, it’s creativity that goes into creating content and its distribution across all channels. There must be an element of madness to them.
- They’re Proud of their Failures: Growth marketing means experiments, and that means failures, a lot of them! They shouldn’t be afraid to try new things.
- They ask a Lot of Questions: Great growth needs to keep all marketing centred around your products and services. For that, they need to understand them as deeply as possible.
- They’re Great Storytellers: Every piece of content is a story in itself. Thus, the better they’re at it, the more prolific the marketing.
Benefits of a Growth Marketing Strategy
All kinds of marketing have one ultimate goal: to bring business. However, it’s less about what it achieves and more about how it’s done. As far as growth marketing is concerned, it does it in some style. Let’s see some of the advantages it offers over traditional marketing methods.
- Informed Decisions: Conventional marketing strategy is often based on one person’s gut feeling or experience. It could cause disasters if s/he isn’t in sync with reality. Growth marketing eliminates this dependency on one person by bringing in data.
- Agile & Scalable: Growth marketing strategies are always changing, and they’re not as expensive as conventional marketing. Thus, it becomes easier to scale them up or down at any given time.
- Enhanced Brand Reputation: Growth marketing emphasizes constant engagement and relationship building with the customers. This not only results in better brand awareness but also in better brand perception.
- Better ROI: It’s all about small experiments in growth marketing to see what works and what doesn’t. You can scale up an idea once you’ve experimented with it, thus saving you tens of thousands of dollars and leading to better ROI.
- Business Synergy: Growth marketing is an approach that relies on stakeholders from marketing, sales, operations, strategy, and finance departments to cooperate and execute in a single campaign. Due to this involvement from all these, you can achieve business synergy.
Growth Marketing vs. Growth hacking
Many think of growth marketing and growth hacking being synonymous with each other. However, it’s not the case. Don’t go by the name as there’s nothing illegal with either. The distinction between the both lies in the end goal. Growth hacking focuses on getting rapid results by focusing only on customer acquisition, while growth marketing is a long-term game that’s built around the entire marketing funnel.
Growth Marketing Strategies in 2021
Growth marketing focuses on catering to customers’ preferences, and that’s why it’s always changing. Let’s see various growth strategies for companies in 2021.
- Content Repurposing: Content repurposing is exactly what it sounds like. It turns an existing piece of content and reuses it for a different purpose. For example, you can record a podcast interview and then transcribe the audio to create a podcast, video and blog. 2021 has seen many companies adopting this and extracting more value by spending less time, effort and money.
- SEO: SEO is like the Jon Snow of marketing. You can’t kill it no matter how many times you try to. SEO is still the king when it comes to driving traffic to your website, and it’s not changed in 2021. Smart marketers have always prioritized SEO, even though it’s not as cool as other channels.
- Gamification: It’s no surprise that customers hate the onboarding process. And we can’t blame them as it’s often super frustrating to learn using an app or a service. Well, what if you could turn it into a game? By gamifying the onboarding process, you’re keeping the users active and helping them learn your app or website.
- Virtual Events: Unfortunately, it’s been another year hit by the pandemic. Thus, virtual meetings and events are still preferred to connect with people. Many companies have become used to hosting virtual conferences, workshops, webinars, etc., to engage with potential customers.
Virtual events are advantageous because they allow businesses to go global with their products or services. You can create many partnerships if you capitalize on these events and conferences.
- Podcasts to Establish Thought Leadership: Do you know which company will come on top if all companies adopt growth marketing? The ones most trusted by customers, and you can do it by establishing your company as a thought leader in its domain.
One way to do it is by doing podcasts to publish valuable industry-related content. They are often aimed at decision-makers and senior executives. If the content adds value to them, it’s bound to make them trust your brand.
Adopt Growth Marketing to Move Beyond Hoping & Praying
Initially, only startups and growing companies were using growth marketing, but things have changed. Goliaths like Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, Airbnb, Delta Air Lines and many more across the industries have embraced it as they look at digital marketing for business growth.
With growth marketing, you’re not just getting bang for the buck, but you’re also making your brand stand out from the crowd. That’s why it’s called ‘marketing 2.0’ and rightly so. Thus, it’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ and ‘when’; it’s right here, right now!