The Oxford dictionary defines the word “growth” as: [noun.] /ɡroʊθ/ 1. (of people, animals, or plants) the process of growing physically, mentally, or emotionally; 2. (in/of something) an increase in the size, amount, or degree of something.
In growth marketing, the definition follows the same pattern since we talk about a process (the entire flow of creating, implementing, launching, optimizing and analyzing a campaign, a product or a service) and its growth in matters of quality, rather than quantity – this is covered mainly by basic marketing.
To put it bluntly, while classical marketing is focused on the top of the funnel (grosso-modo: product or customers acquisition), growth marketing focuses on each stage of the funnel by testing, optimizing, understanding and finally delivering the much-waited-for product or service to customers. It puts the customers first by analyzing their needs and creates a strong relationship with them.
So let’s buckle up on the growth marketing journey, starting simple and explaining what exactly it stands for, moving on with how your business can benefit from it (step by step) and what you should focus on along the way – all packed with real-life examples from brands that spread their wings and embraced this methodology.
The what, the why and the how
So, why do businesses need Growth Marketing? The answer is simple. As the name suggests it, you want your company to grow – to thrive in a highly competitive market.
From attracting users to engaging and retaining them, this methodology is exploring a totally different side of the marketing story – because when done right, it inspires customers to speak about your brand, product or service. The circle is closed by their indirect involvement in the brand’s growth and that can only be achieved by investing in each stage of the funnel.
Put simply, it’s a growth that starts from inside the company, through strategic marketing integrated approaches and tactics, and evolves past the firm’s walls to the “outside” world keeping the brand story alive.
TripAdvisor is a genuine example of how growth marketing works, as the platform is constantly evolving, and part of its growth is generated by its users. The company has also invested in constantly hiring specialists in growth marketing.
On the one hand they deliver top-quality, engaging content on multiple devices about hot travel topics such as hotels, restaurants, what to do on vacation etc. They also interact with their consumers on social media.
On the other hand they rely very much on the impressions of people who experienced their content – the reviews. Their strategy has built up a community of users who are not just sharing their experiences. They also engage with other users by giving tips and tricks, which is naturally turning them into ambassadors / spokespersons of the product, thus acting as indirect marketers.
Revolut is also a great product and a brand that’s embraced growth marketing, reaching over 10M customers in just 5 years time.
The brand has managed to turn a sensible and, in many cases, feared subject as “having a card” into a very personal way of interacting with your money. Always at reach with a simple tap on your mobile phone, transparent, friendly, customer-focused. Through the years, Revolut has stayed in touch with the market trends and what’s hot, offering its customers services like: saving money, getting rewards for buying products while using Revolut card and even the possibility of buying cryptocurrency.
Beyond the theoretical notions, practice makes things perfect. Or at least working smoothly. For that to happen you need a lot of creativity on board, dedicated specialists and, we aren’t going to lie, a lot of patience.
Investing time into research, testing and bettering your team’ skills, is of the essence. So in case you need a helping hand to get started, we’ve prepared an entire collection of useful articles, great courses and juicy podcasts to get you inspired.
A day to learn, a lifetime to master… or maybe less
Each business is different, the market is constantly evolving, and your customers’ needs, and preferences are changing, which proves Philip Kotler was right “Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.”
Using and implementing the growth marketing methodology, especially when you’re bombarded with advertising and tons of similar products or services proves to be quite a challenge not just for the producers, but also for the customers. That’s the reason behind establishing a connection with your customers and communicating constantly and honestly with them.
Netflix is a great example of how growth marketing works. The brand communicates on a constant basis with its users. In the beginning they were doing it just through newsletters or social media, but a few years back they introduced a whole new concept, based on what they know to do best – stream movies. Black Mirror became a phenomenon, because for the first time the users were able to choose how the film unfolds and decide for a happy ending or not.
The concept was carefully wrapped up thanks to Machine Learning, which allows customization of preferences with data-driven accuracy.
This way the brand engaged the users in an adventurous journey that ended in getting free publicity by being “the talk of the town”, but also gathered important information about user preferences, which allowed for further algorithm improvement and a better offering of movies.
From a whole different area comes Zoom – a platform that has helped connect the entire planet during the pandemic and beyond that, through scalable technology, great economics and world-class marketing. You can read more on what made Zoom a worldwide success here.
Either big, or small, with a solid history, or a fresh start-up, the benefits that a company is experiencing by adopting and implementing growth marketing are undeniable. In this second part, we’ll get more practical and zoom in briefly into each stage of the funnel:
1. Awareness – getting the customers’ attention
This stage is a very important one because as with everything, the first impression counts most.
Hence, creating an integrated campaign to make your product known to the right audience by using social media tools (organic and paid), online ads or influencers, might prove useful. In addition, and depending on your research on the targeted audience, you can continue to journey with televised or outdoor advertisement to support the initial campaign and build on the foundation for establishing a relationship with the customers.
2. Interest – engaging with customers
Creating “the buzz” is key, but converting that interest into action is the ultimate goal. So, the next step after establishing a connection is to maintain and develop it. One way could be through retargeting (in the case of online ads) or engaging with the customers through social media, newsletters, live chats etc.
This way you keep the users not just interested in what the brand is doing, but you also make them part of the brand, moving further side by side.
3. Acquisition & Retention
As the actual acquisition happens, one might think we’ve reached the end of our journey. But that’s where traditional marketing stops. In the case of growth marketing, you don’t need just the acquisition, but you also strive for loyalty and keeping the engagement door open.
Offering discounts to your customers, simplifying their buying journey, asking for their feedback on how the journey was and what could have been done better, interacting with them via various social media platforms and literally giving them “a voice”, will seal the relationship even more and will act as retention factors.
At this point, you’re relying on your customers to provide you with useful insights on how to better not just your brand, but also your future marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, they get personalized experiences and better products and services.
4. Referral – giving back to your customers
This is the stage when your customers get an upgrade and thanks to their interaction with the brand, they become your ambassadors. They tell your story further on, but most importantly they add a touch of validity to the facts – their own experience.
Referral discounts, testimonial sections, micro-influencers campaigns – all these are considered useful in this stage as the word-of-mouth technique becomes the name of the game.
Although growth marketing follows a logical flow and contributes to the long-term development of the brand, it can prove quite challenging at times, as every situation requires a different approach with custom adjustments along the way. Keeping an open mind on the conversion between stages, thus offering each stage the needed attention and involvement, requires a dedicated team of experts with a wide and creative view on the final goals.
Often companies that need results yesterday engage in growth hacks, a method that solves a specific problem with short-lived results. This proves to be an excellent idea when you’re in a hurry to overcome a problematic topic but is not ideal for obtaining a stable income for the long term.
With Leo Burnett’s saying in mind “What helps people, helps business.”, we encourage you to start investing in your customers, so they will invest in your brand.
And to get things started, we offer you the chance to get a firm grasp with our free “Growth Marketing” Masterclass, packed with juicy info about the continuous process of building, measuring and learning in full funnel marketing.