The A to Z of Growth Marketing
Growth marketers have suddenly exploded onto the scene in recent years. Uber to Dropbox, Postscript to Synthetix, some of the world’s largest companies hire growth marketers. They’re effective, they’re enthusiastic, but what exactly are they doing?
Let’s dissect growth marketing from the basics to how you can use it for yourself. Let us know your questions in the comments!
Growth marketing: what is it?
The goal of growth marketing is to increase engagement and conversions. Any goal you have can be achieved with growth marketing, regardless of whether you are targeting monthly users, social media followers, or subscribers.
Keep in mind that growth marketing relies on a scientific methodology. Marketers decide whether to proceed with a project based on experimentation, repeatability, and measurement.
Process matters as much as result.
During his time at Hint Water, Nik Sharma (@mrsharma on twitter) pioneered influencer marketing as we know it today. In his Twitter thread on the same, he emphasizes a lower-funnel creative, promoting content on the influencers’ social media pages, and the benefits of collaboration.
Sharma’s growth marketing tactics led him to a form of marketing that’s inescapable today.
This single-minded focus on results is what makes growth marketing so popular today. No one likes empty promises? Growth is what we all want!
How does it work?
Coschedule provides a rough breakdown of what a growth marketer’s process usually looks like:
1. The Hypothesis Stage: growth marketers start with a hunch. “I think x will change y because of z.” This guess could be straightforward or complex.
2. The Experiment Stage: Creating a situation to track your assumption is the fun part. Does x really change y as you claim? How will you prove it, either with existing data or by tweaking future events? Will it take a week, a few months, or longer? It all depends.
3. The Results: Did you get it right? As long as you have concrete proof of its effectiveness, it’s worth pursuing. It’s back to step 1 if your hypothesis is wrong.
The three steps are integral to growth marketing. It’s so simple that you could say growth marketing is traditional marketing but with a number-based approach. According to UseProof,
“The traditional marketing model is augmented with features like A/B testing, data-driven email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization, creative ad copy, and technical analysis of every aspect of the user experience.”
What makes this marketing different from others?
Digital marketing is marketing that can only be done digitally. Digital marketing metrics are everywhere, from LinkedIn newsletters to landing pages. Growth marketing also includes these metrics, but it relies more on testing and data analysis. There is no set of topics, just a way to deal with them.
Brand marketing involves similar questions and dealings. Brand marketing covers what your brand stands for, who your target audience is, and how to capture their attention. Additionally, growth marketing can help you improve brand marketing goals.
The above marketing strains are not mutually exclusive. Growth marketing and digital marketing can coexist. It’s all about knowing the context.
How to build your team
What steps should you take if you realise your company needs a little (or a lot) of growth marketing? A compilation of ideas from Forbes, UseProof and Raisin Bread has led us to the following pointers:
Start by figuring out what you need. Looking for social media tips? Boosting SEO? Expanding your core clientele? You need to know what you’re focusing on to kickstart the process.
Then, look outward. What do your competitors do to improve their performance in the aspect you’re trying to improve? Use sources like LinkedIn and the companies’ websites to see what kinds of roles they try to fill. Are their teams more product focused? More creative? What are they emphasising?
Finally, check whether these roles make sense for your organisation, and if they do, whether they are already filled or if you need to fill them.
If you dig deep enough, these questions can help you find the right answers, and after trial and error, you should be ready to recruit your own team. UseProof describes the best growth marketers as being data driven, creative, and possessing a hacker’s mentality. Forbes adds that being experimental, thinking critically and being a multi-disciplinary marketer are other important traits for growth marketers to juggle.
For example, Airbnb decided to provide free professional photography to all properties they listed after much research. What seemed like an excessive move ended up making all the difference to the platform.
Keep these basic requirements in mind and try to satisfy your particular need.
Examples in the wild
Companies like Airbnb, Zoom, Uber and so many more are turning to growth marketing for reliable results, and here are some specific ways in which that happens.
- Review reward programs: The review reward program is what you call when you give users incentives for positive reviews (like a discount or a few months for free). Currently, Coschedule has an offer like this up on their website, and it helps build a word-of-mouth clientele.
- Growth cycle: Using growth cycles as a marketing tactic is great. It sounds like a dream to get your pre-existing users to generate more and more clients, and Zoom has achieved it. Sending “Zoom invites” via email to people you want to video call sets off a chain reaction. Pretty soon, those invitees will invite their friends and families. You’ll see the numbers compound!
- Referral codes: Airbnb, Evernote and Zipcar have some of the most effective referral code programs in terms of expanding their client base.
A note for the start ups
Andrew Caplan, a former department head at Postscript, has recommended mid-level (as opposed to senior) growth marketers for startups. He claims that their tendency to keep moving, as opposed to theory-based formalisation, works in favour of smaller businesses.
Considering the broad approach that growth marketing employs, it makes sense that it’s such a good fit for small businesses. The CEO of Divisional agrees. adding that “there isn’t enough conviction” in early stage companies for a more specific approach.