What is Growth Marketing? (Everything You Need to Know About It)

4
min read
February 27, 2023

As a business owner, you know the pain of growing your company. The endless hours spent on marketing, trying to figure out what will work, and feeling like no matter what you do, you’re still not seeing the results you want. In addition, as your business grows, it becomes harder to maintain growth.

But what if there was a solution to this pain? How can you take the guesswork out of marketing and focus on the strategies and tactics that will drive success?

This solution is growth marketing.

Growth marketing is a data-driven, results-focused approach that prioritizes experimentation and iteration to achieve rapid and sustainable growth.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need about growth marketing, including its definition, examples, and techniques.

Whether you’re new to marketing or an experienced professional, by the end of this guide, you’ll clearly understand what growth marketing is and how it can help your business succeed.

What Does Growth Marketing Exactly Mean?

Growth marketing is a data-driven approach to marketing that focuses on rapidly experimenting and scaling strategies that drive sustainable growth for a business. Unlike traditional marketing, which is often based on intuition and experience, growth marketing uses data and experimentation to test and validate new marketing ideas.

Think of growth marketing as a science experiment. You combine elements of product development, customer acquisition, and retention, and use technology and data to drive results. It's like being a mad scientist, but for marketing.

The best part? Growth marketing isn't just for the small businesses. It can be applied to all stages of a company's growth, from startups to established enterprises across multiple industries. So whether you're a brand-new business trying to get off the ground or a big name in the industry looking to stay ahead of the curve, growth marketing is your weapon.

But remember!

Growth marketing isn't just a one-and-done deal. It's a continuous cycle of testing and optimizing marketing strategies, measuring their impact on the business, and using that data to inform future marketing decisions. It's like a never-ending game of marketing chess, where you're always making moves and staying one step ahead of the competition.

Difference Between Growth Marketing and Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing focuses on awareness, reach, and brand building. It is intended to create a positive perception of your brand in the eyes of consumers, which often involves advertising campaigns.

In contrast, growth marketing focuses on generating leads and sales by identifying customer needs that still need to be met by existing products or services. It uses a data-driven approach to test new ideas and leverage technology to scale successful strategies quickly.

Here are the key differences between these two distinct marketing strategies,

1. Focus

Traditional marketing focuses on building brand awareness, creating a solid image, and establishing customer loyalty. On the other hand, growth marketing focuses on rapidly scaling and growing the business through data-driven experimentation and optimization.

2. Data-driven

Growth marketing is a data-driven approach to growing your business. It uses data to identify which customers are most likely to buy and then focuses efforts on converting those customers into sales.

Traditional marketing relies more on intuition and experience without using data to validate marketing decisions.

3. Experimentation

With growth marketing, you'll have the opportunity to experiment and iterate because it focuses on data. If a specific campaign isn’t working well or generating the results you expect, it can be changed or even scrapped entirely.

But the traditional marketing approach doesn’t allow for this level of flexibility. Instead, it relies on what has worked in the past, using data only to confirm and validate decisions based on intuition and experience.

4. Customer-focused

Though traditional marketing is customer-focused, it’s more of a reactive approach. It relies on using data to understand what your customers want and then trying to provide that product or service.

Growth marketing takes a more proactive approach by focusing on your customers' needs before they know what they are looking for. It uses data to get in touch with your audience and understand how they interact with your business.

5. Speed

When it comes to growth marketing, speed is of the essence. It’s about being able to test ideas quickly and pivot if necessary. You don’t want to get stuck on one approach that isn’t working and miss out on other opportunities.

Traditional marketing can be slower to adopt new strategies and tactics, often due to the need for internal approval and the use of established processes.

Components of Building a Growth Marketing Strategy

There are a few critical components of building a growth marketing strategy that can help you reach your goals:

1. Cross-channel marketing

A cross-channel marketing strategy involves using a variety of mediums or channels to interact with prospective customers and those who are already buying from you.

With this approach, you’re focused on creating a consistent experience for your potential customers, so they can easily find information about what you offer, how to get in touch with you, and how to make purchases. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.

Cross-channel marketing is a way for businesses to determine how best to reach customers through various channels.

These channels include but are not limited to:

  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Mobile apps
  • Online advertising
  • Podcasts
  • Guest blogs
  • Print advertisements
  • In-person events
  • Websites Blogs

The goal of cross-channel marketing is to ensure that all your channels are working together to reach potential customers. It’s not just about having a presence on multiple platforms; it’s also about making sure that each track is working together to support one another and make the customer experience as consistent as possible.

2. A/B testing

Ensuring you’re putting your best foot forward in this crowded digital space is essential. A/B testing is a process in which different versions of the same content are tested against each other to determine which one performs better.

It allows you to test multiple variables simultaneously: headline, copy, images, etc., to quickly identify what works best for your audience and increase conversion rates.

For example, if you send a specific email to a list of customers, you can test two different subject lines to see which one performs better. The process lets you quickly identify what works best for your audience and increase conversion rates.

This data helps you improve your marketing campaigns to create better content for your audience. It’s important to note that A/B testing is not about guessing what might work best for your audience; instead, it’s about testing different versions of content against each other and seeing which one performs better.

In fact, 70% of businesses saw increased sales from testing the effectiveness of their landing pages prior to launch. This is a great way to see what works best for your audience. It can also help you improve your marketing campaigns and create better content for your audience.

3. Customer feedback

Customer feedback is critical in the growth marketing process and plays a vital role in shaping product development decisions. Whether it's through observing an increase in product recommendations or a growing demand for new features, customer feedback can guide companies in expanding their offerings and providing loyal customers with more options.

On the other hand, feedback can also highlight areas for improvement, such as mismatched features or unclear value propositions, allowing you to make informed decisions about updating their original products. By actively listening to and incorporating customer feedback, you can ensure they are delivering products that meet the needs and expectations of their target audience.

Also explore the best growth marketing tools

How To Build a Growth Marketing Strategy?

Marketing your business can initially feel overwhelming, but it seems much simpler once you go through the process of laying out the different components. Building a growth marketing strategy requires careful planning and execution. Here are the steps to creating a growth marketing strategy:

1. Define your product vision and your ideal customers

Your product vision should clearly state what you want to achieve with your business, including the impact you hope it will have on your sales.

You can use your product vision as an anchor when deciding which marketing tactics to use and how to allocate your resources. To write your product vision, start by thinking about what you want to achieve with your business.

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • How do your products make people’s lives better?
  • How will they improve the world?

Once you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, consider your ideal customers and how they might benefit from using your product or service.

Your ideal customer should be a person who has the problem that your business solves, is willing to pay for it, and is located in a specific geographic area. This will help you focus on people who are most likely to buy from you instead of wasting time on others.

You can define your ideal customers by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Who is most likely to buy from me?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What problems do they have that my business can solve?
  • Where do they live and work?

2. Set clear goals

Before starting marketing, it’s essential to have clear goals and objectives. For example:

  • Do you want to increase sales?
  • Attract new customers?
  • Generate leads for your sales team?
  • Improve brand awareness?

If you don’t set specific goals, it will be difficult to measure how well your marketing efforts are performing. But remember to set a tangible goal, such as increasing sales by 10 percent, instead of a vague goal, like “improve brand awareness.”

3. Conduct market research

Market research can provide valuable insights into the competitive landscape and help inform your marketing strategies. This might include analyzing industry trends, researching competitors, and gathering customer feedback.

When it comes to market research, you should reveal every layer of your competitors —from their business model to their sales and marketing strategies to the type of content they publish. You can also use this information to learn about your customers and what they want from your brand.

Here are some methods on how you can conduct in-depth marketing research to build your growth strategy,  

  • Customer surveys: Send surveys to your existing customers to gather data on their needs, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Online analytics tools: Use tools like Google Analytics or social media analytics to gather data on customer behavior, website traffic, and social media engagement.
  • Industry reports: Purchase market research reports from industry experts or research firms to gain insights into market trends and customer behavior.
  • Social media monitoring: Monitor social media platforms to gather data on customer sentiment, trends, and preferences.
  • Competitor analysis: Analyze your competitors to understand their marketing and sales strategies, product offerings, and customer reviews.

When conducting a competitor analysis, be sure to consider the following variables:

  1. Product and pricing tiers: Analyze your competitors' offerings and pricing strategies to understand what they are offering and how they position themselves in the market.
  2. Features and upgrades: Examine the features and upgrades offered by your competitors to identify areas for improvement and opportunities for differentiation.
  3. Marketing campaigns, copy, and CTAs: Evaluate your competitors' marketing campaigns, copy, and call-to-actions (CTAs) to understand how they position themselves and what messages they communicate to their target audience.
  4. Value proposition: Understand the value proposition of your competitors and how they are positioning themselves in the market. This can inform your value proposition and message.
  5. Similarities and differences compared to your brand: Analyze the similarities and differences between your brand and your competitors to understand how you fit into the market and identify opportunities for differentiation.
  6. How you win (the USP that sets your brand apart): Identify what sets your brand apart from your competitors and how you can leverage this to succeed in the market. This might include your unique selling proposition (USP), differentiators, and competitiveness.

Once you’ve completed the audit, take some time to analyze it. However, don't dwell on things you can't change—instead, focus on your key differentiators and how they'll help move your brand ahead of the competition.

4. Map your buyer journey

Understanding your buyer’s journey is key to developing a successful marketing strategy. A buyer's journey maps out their entire experience with your brand, from awareness to purchase.

It includes all your audience's touch points with your business—from initial interest in what you do to making a purchase decision and beyond. Understanding these stages can help you optimize your marketing efforts to drive growth and revenue for your business:

  • Acquisition: Understanding where most of your customers come from can inform your marketing efforts and help you optimize your acquisition strategies.
  • Activation: Tracking where people are being engaged on their first "happy visit" can provide insights into what drives customer engagement and how you can improve your activation efforts.
  • Retention: Determining which channels are bringing customers back to your brand can help you understand what drives customer loyalty and how you can improve your retention efforts.
  • Referral: Identifying where your word-of-mouth marketing is gaining the most traction can help optimize your referral efforts and drive growth through positive word-of-mouth.
  • Revenue: Understanding which channels bring the most paying customers can help you optimize your revenue-generating efforts and drive growth through increased revenue.

By mapping out the stages of this journey, you can identify areas where people drop off and where you need to focus efforts on improving conversions.

5. Develop a marketing mix

Your growth marketing strategy should include marketing channels and tactics, including but not limited to content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, email marketing, and social media marketing.

This helps you reach more people, build awareness of your brand and products, and ultimately convert more prospects into customers. When developing a marketing mix, try to determine which channels are most likely to generate the desired results for each stage of the buyer journey.

For example: If you’re trying to attract new visitors who don’t know much about your product or service, focus on generating as much traffic as possible from paid search ads or social media marketing (depending on your audience).

6. Conduct focused growth experiments

Once you have a mix of marketing channels working, it’s time to dig deeper. Test different versions of your landing pages, website copy, and calls to action to see which resonates best with each audience segment.

For example: If visitors who come from mobile devices are more likely to convert than those from desktop computers, test different types of mobile-friendly landing pages vs. responsive ones (which automatically adjust based on the device they’re viewed on).

You can even perform these experiments to stick with the format that works,

  • A/B split test: You can also A/B split test different versions of your landing pages. This popular method involves showing different versions of a web page to two groups of visitors, then comparing the results and seeing which version performs better.
  • A/A split test: This is for smaller audience sizes, showing the entire audience one type of content and then another to see what resonated most.

By doing this, you can better understand what your audience is looking for and how to best cater to them.

With Storylane, you can create an interactive demo that showcases your product or service in a way that makes it easy for users to visualize how they can use it. You can gather data about how they interact with your demo and use that to tweak it in a way that suits your audience better.

7. Measure and optimize performance

A key component of a growth marketing strategy is measuring the success of your marketing efforts and continuously iterating and optimizing based on the results. This might involve regularly analyzing website traffic, conversion rates, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

But what are those metrics exactly? Well, here is what you need to measure,

  • Email marketing: Open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.
  • Social media marketing: Engagement rates, reach, click-through rates, follower growth, and shares.
  • Content marketing: Traffic, awareness, downloads or views, shares and leads.
  • Paid advertising: Cost per click (CPC), click-through rates (CTR), cost per acquisition (CPA), conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Keyword rankings, organic traffic, bounce rate, and click-through rate (CTR).
  • Referral marketing: Referral sources, referral rates, and conversion rates.

Once you identify which channels are providing better results, you can focus more of your energy there and cut back on the ones that aren’t working.

Also explore about the growth hacking tools.

Growth Marketing Examples

Growth marketing is a strategy that can be applied across industries, but it’s especially relevant in digital marketing. Here are some examples of growth marketing in action:

1. Slack's emergence as a fast-growing B2B software provider

Slack's success as the fastest-growing B2B software provider is due to its sophisticated and evolving growth marketing strategies. The company positioned itself as a productivity tool, solving communication problems and simplifying business communication. Slack's initial user base was built through hustle, asking friends and contacts to sign up and spread the word.

Source

The company continues to improve by gathering user feedback, analyzing user data, and optimizing the onboarding process. Slack's freemium model offers genuine value to non-paying users and helps to maximize user growth.

The company focuses on retaining users by encouraging them to invite others and maximizing the impact every user has on growth. Slack also analyzes user data to understand growth benchmarks and maximize user engagement.

The company understands that users who send 2,000+ messages on the app will likely stick with the platform and eventually sign up for a paid plan. They use this information to encourage more messaging and increase user engagement.

2. Hubspot's million-dollar growth engine with free tools

HubSpot's success is rooted in its ability to help other companies achieve their dreams. The company offers extensive marketing software to help businesses grow and has implemented these same tactics in its growth.

Key to its success is the quality of its products and its strategy of offering a range of free tools to attract leads and guide them towards paid products. Its free customer relationship management (CRM) system is integrated with other marketing and sales tools on its paid plans.

The company has used inbound marketing tactics such as content marketing, webinar marketing, email marketing, and social media to establish itself as an industry authority and generate leads.

HubSpot's expertise in inbound marketing has been reinforced by its data-driven business decisions. One such example is its change in pricing policy in 2011, which adopted a tiered pricing model that charges customers based on the number of contacts in their database.

Source.

This pay-as-you-grow model ensures that customers always receive more value from the product than they pay. This type of pricing is now a standard in the marketing software industry, but at the time, it was a clever use of psychology.

3. DropBox's referral program

The list will only be complete with the mention of DropBox. DropBox's referral program is a prime example of how you can get customers to become your promoters. The company offered customers an additional 250 MB of storage space for each friend they referred, up to 16 GB total.

Source: Flyy

The referral system was straightforward: you invite a friend to DropBox and both of you get more storage space. This incentive gave customers the satisfaction of helping their friends while benefiting themselves.

The company needed help attracting new customers and paid ads needed to do the trick. Their growth hack—a double-sided referral program—resulted in a 60% increase in signups.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is growth marketing?

Growth marketing is a data-driven, results-oriented approach that focuses on identifying and scaling the tactics and strategies driving growth for a business. It prioritizes experimentation, continuous optimization, and analytics to drive business results and improve the customer experience.

2. How does growth marketing differ from traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing is focused on creating awareness and building brand recognition, while growth marketing is focused on driving business growth through targeted, data-driven tactics. Growth marketing emphasizes testing and data analysis, whereas traditional marketing may rely more on intuition and experience.

3. Can growth marketing be used by businesses of all sizes?

Yes, growth marketing can be used by businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises. Growth marketing principles can be applied to any business looking to drive growth and improve its marketing results, regardless of size or industry.

Wrapping up

By combining a deep understanding of customer behavior with agile experimentation, growth marketers work to find and optimize the most efficient channels and strategies for acquiring and retaining customers.

Whether through search engine optimization, email marketing, social media, or any other channel, growth marketing provides a comprehensive and structured approach to driving growth for businesses of all sizes.

But no matter how clever your growth marketing strategy is, it will only result in better ROI if you showcase the value of your product. This is where the role of the interactive demo comes into play. With Storylane, you can easily create a fully interactive and shareable demo that will help showcase your product's value.

Want to maximize the ROI of your growth marketing strategy? Schedule a free demo with Storylane; we will show you how.

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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

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