What Is Growth Marketing? And Why Every Business Needs It

By Rad Aswani

Business people (unlike medical people) generally like the term growth. After all, growing businesses, growing revenue, and growing market shares all sound good when you’re trying to build your company. So, it’s no surprise that growth marketing popped up in 2010 to perfectly encapsulate the mindset of modern-day businesses.

But what exactly is growth marketing?

To put it simply, growth marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on building deeper customer relationships. And, yes, it is just as beneficial as it sounds. Let’s dive into what growth marketing is and how you can make it work for your company.

The evolution of growth marketing

Unlike traditional marketing, which is often more concerned with attracting new customers and building brand awareness, growth marketing wants to enhance those connections to keep customers coming back. Think of it like this:

  • Traditional marketing efforts focus on the width
  • Growth marketing efforts focus on depth

Another difference between traditional and growth marketing is the use of data. While traditional marketing utilizes experience and gut feelings, growth marketing looks to the data to create effective messages. By using data-driven marketing, companies can:

  • Create more personalized customer experiences (and boost customer engagement)
  • Make marketing efforts more accurate across the organization
  • Reach the ideal customer
  • Increase ROI
  • Optimize the company’s marketing efforts

Successful organizations use both types of marketing to make themselves attractive to a wide range of customers in every stage of the marketing funnel.


Key components of growth marketing

Growth marketing can be seen as an extension of traditional marketing, a tool that dives deeper into the customer experience (and therefore requires more work to implement). One way that you can approach this growth mindset is by using the AARRR framework (also known as “Pirate Metrics” or the “Pirate Funnel”). This represents the customer lifecycle, with an emphasis on how to use this knowledge to grow your business.

Acquisition. This element considers potential customers. How many people use your website, ask questions about your products, or express interest in your services?

Question to ask: Where are potential customers looking for us?

Activation. The next step after acquisition, is activation — which occurs when people actively engage with your company. This can include anything from purchasing a product, sharing personal information for a lead, or subscribing to an email list.

Question to ask: How can I get customers to realize they want our product/service?

Retention. When customers continue to return to your business over and over again, that is considered customer retention. Naturally, organizations want to retain customers, especially after putting in so much work to get them on board in the first place!

Question to ask: How many customers stay with our company, and how can I increase that number?

Referral. Do your current clients or customers like you enough to refer you to people they know? (If so, you’ve got someone marketing for you!)

Question to ask: What makes customers advocate for our brand?

Revenue. How do your existing clients contribute to your revenue? What can you do to enhance their value to your organization throughout the customer’s time with your business?

Question: How can we increase our revenue with these customers?

The AARRR philosophy is often seen as a pipeline, and your job as a growth marketer is to move clients from the acquisition phase into the referral and revenue phases. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this happen.


Role of a growth marketing manager

A growth marketing manager has some big responsibilities: namely, to move clients down the pirate pipeline and increase revenue. A task like that requires an extensive and varied skillset.

These managers will need to know how to run marketing campaigns but also how to collect and analyze relevant customer data. They’ll need to know how to run tests and make good decisions. Importantly, they’ll need to be able to connect all of this to their business’s current strategy.

Growth marketing strategies and tactics

Digital transformation has changed the way we work, and it’s also changed the way we connect with clients. Luckily, growth marketing managers have an extensive toolbox of virtual tools that they can use to connect with customers near and far.

Here are some of the most common online tactics you can use in business growth marketing.

1. Content marketing

Content marketing (which includes everything from blog posts to videos) can be a great lead generator. Creating and dispersing valuable and knowledgeable content tells your customers that you’re an authority in the industry. It also helps build trust in your business and drive traffic to your site.

2. Social media marketing

In marketing, you want to know where your customers are — and chances are that a lot of them will be on social media. Social media marketing helps you extend your reach not only to potential clients but also to their contacts. That’s because most social media content is easy to share. It’s also an invaluable tool you can use to increase customer engagement.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is affordable, effective, and easy to personalize — all reasons that you should be using it in your growth marketing campaigns. Personalized emails can create meaningful connections with your customers and can easily be tailored to fit their needs at any stage of the marketing funnel.


4. SEO optimization

While the content creation game may have changed, SEO is still an important player. It increases organic traffic to your site, brings in more leads, and is a long-term strategy that businesses pretty much have down to a science by now. Yes, it does take more time than PPC and other paid advertising, but the results are worth it.

5. Paid advertising

That being said, paid advertising does have its place in growth marketing, especially for start-ups, small businesses, and other organizations that need to see results yesterday. Paid advertising allows you to pay for more visible ads to generate more traffic, but it can get expensive.

6. Viral and influencer marketing

People trust people, so don’t forget to leverage influencer marketing to help humanize and increase interest in your brand. Search for influencers who reflect your business values (and ones who already love your brand). Reach out to them with collaboration opportunities, and you’ll also be reaching their audience, with a continued ripple effect.


Measuring and analyzing growth marketing success

Implementing and managing growth marketing strategies can be a huge project— that’s why it’s so important to measure, monitor, and adjust as you go. There are several different ways you can do this.

1. A/B testing and optimization

Test different marketing efforts by creating an A/B test to see how customers respond to various pieces of content. You can do this by creating two different versions of marketing content, then monitoring how customers respond to each.

2. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Growth marketers should try and track certain metrics such as:

  • Website visits
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Generated marketing-qualified leads
  • Closing rate
  • Customer retention
  • Marketing ROI

These numbers can help you determine where your marketing efforts are succeeding and where they need to be adjusted. They can help you set SMART goals, boost productivity, and make it easier for your team to come up with effective solutions to improve your growth marketing strategy.

3. Analytical tools and platforms

Sites like Google Analytics can help you measure your marketing efforts and collect feedback from customers at the same time. You can track things like how many people visited your site, how many people signed up for your email subscription, and customers that filled a virtual shopping cart but didn’t check out — the possibilities are endless.

And with all those metrics, you can send out targeted messages, surveys, emails, etc., to learn more about those customers. With that information, you can whiteboard with your team and develop strategies to help move those customers through the funnel.


Case studies: successful growth marketing examples


Canva is a free online design tool with tens of millions of users. But it wasn’t always that successful. Founded in 2012, Canva started as a crazy idea dreamed up by two new entrepreneurs who were turned down by investors time and time again.

Luckily, these guys knew how to leverage their market. Canva utilized everything from content marketing to cement its position as an industry expert, to influencer marketing to spread the word, to paid ads, display ads, email marketing, and more. The result today is a multi-billion dollar company with happy customers worldwide.


HubSpot has nailed organic traffic and SEO. Their secret? Becoming a topical authority that search engines recognize as a trustworthy source of information. That means creating oodles of relevant, high-quality content that relates to your niche.

Over the years, HubSpot has focused on its SEO by delving deep into related topics and using smart linking tactics to connect everything. Their blogs alone generate millions of views every month — and a lot of that traffic is ready to convert.


Prospa is an Australian-based online lender catering to small businesses. An effective website and content marketing campaign is designed to create leads, but that’s not all they do. They’ve invested in paid ads to help make sure that their site gets some time in the spotlight, but they don’t neglect the organic side of things, either.

Link building, thoughtful ad placement, and relevant content go a long way to driving organic traffic to their site. That’s probably one of the reasons they’re hugely popular with small business owners! (Psst… there’s a lot more to learn from Prospa, so check out the case study here.)


How to get started with growth marketing

Assess current marketing efforts

Have a quick meeting with your team and discuss what your organization is doing well now and where you want to be in the future. Before you start choosing growth marketing strategies, have a clear set of objectives and a plan that details how you’ll get from your current situation to the end goal.

Hire or train a growth marketing manager

Growth marketing managers are invaluable. Their creativity and ability to see the big picture as well as the small details can help make your strategy a success. Onboard a tried-and-tested growth marketing manager, or train one of your people. Either way, having someone dedicated to the job will ensure you’re giving the proper attention to your growth marketing strategy.

Implement various strategies

It may take a few tries to find the strategies that speak to your clients. When you’re testing out various tactics, be sure to keep an eye on your key metrics and revisit your plan often. Are the new strategies getting you closer to the end goal? If not, what needs to be changed?


Growth marketing efforts bring results

When you take the time to understand your customers, you put your business in a better position. That’s exactly what growth marketing can do for your company. With a bit of work and some tactic testing, you can get a better idea of appeals to your customers. Then you can use that info to create a marketing strategy that speaks to people again and again and again.

You get what you invest into your business — don’t wait to start thinking about growth marketing. And be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more great tips and information that can help you do everything, from how to run a remote company and improve your company culture to how to plan awesome virtual events.

FAQs on growth marketing

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Rad Aswani

Rad has over 7 years of experience in Marketing. Currently, she is the fun Digital Marketer at Kumospace. She leads initiatives such as influencer marketing, SEO management, and social media to name a few. Outside of work, Rad enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her family and friends.

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