What is Growth Marketing? Why’s it so Popular?

I'm a marketing guy, a pizza enthusiast and San Francisco resident. Also, I started this blog, Growth Marketing Pro and built it into a 6-figure passive income business in 18 months.
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If you don’t have customers, you don’t have much of a business…

Growth marketing is intelligent, data-driven marketing for the purpose of adding revenue to the bottom line of your business.

No cutesy brand awareness campaigns. No bullshit.

Why is growth marketing so popular these days?

Growth marketing is an increasingly in-demand skill in the startup and small business world.

Why?

Because if you want to add revenue to your bottom line fast, growth marketing can get you there.

What is growth marketing?

A traditional marketer might make a TV commercial or buy an ad online.

A growth marketer is (hopefully) a bit savvier.

  • Why buy a TV spot when you can trick Google into sending you more visitors for free?
  • Why open a brick-and-mortar store when you can beat the social media algorithms and get your product seen by millions of users.
  • Why run an “awareness” campaign if you can get leads fast and cheap?

Growth marketers differ from Don Draper in that they focus on the entire customer funnel, not just the top of funnel.

In the days of Mad Men, once the creative message, copy and campaign were presented to the board of directors, a marketer could wipe his/her hands clean and make a cocktail.

don draper marketing

Growth marketers are constantly tinkering with ads, tweaking website pages and testing hypotheses, all in the interest of increasing dollars generated by any means possible.

Growth hacking is a confluence of many tactics and techniques in pursuit of gains, both big and small. Blogger peer Ward van Gasteren features this infographic that I like — it makes it clear that growth hacking isn’t one thing, but anything that adds to your bottom line fast.

Where did “growth marketing” come from? 

1. I imagine the term growth marketing was officially born out of Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup. That being said, the concept of growth marketing was around much before the book was published in 2011.

The Lean Startup teaches entrepreneurs to:

  • Be hyper-efficient with resources in order to make the most viable business decisions.
  • Run small experiments all the time. Even though 9 out of 10 experiments may fail, the one that succeeds may make your business grow 100x faster.
  • Learn and react to the customers’ behaviors constantly, iterating to make sure that you are always marketing in the most effective way possible.

For example, if you’ve decided to sell one widget in 2017, why not make three different widgets to sell in January and then sell the best performing widget for the subsequent 11 months? The growth marketer plays a crucial role in the lean startup process by constantly testing and tweaking to make the business grow as fast as possible.

2. Venture capital has probably also accelerated the necessity of growth marketing. Allow me to explain:

  • Most venture capital funds have about a ten year fund life.
  • This means is that a venture capital firm must source, vet and invest in good companies and those same companies must have a liquidity event within ten years or the fund will not be able to return capital to its limited partners.
  • With this timer on venture-backed startups, companies must accelerate growth at all cost.

3. Growth marketing is data driven. Growth marketers are obsessively focused on data.

The best marketers use data in their understanding and acquiring of customers. At small and large companies alike, the board room is becoming increasingly data driven. Data gives operators an edge up on their competition and some of the best data is customer data.

Using:

  • Funnel analyses,
  • A/B testing,
  • Surveys,
  • And other experimentation,

Growth marketers are harvesting valuable information that can drive decision-making on the highest level.

4. Growth marketing can be extremely cash efficient.

At most companies, a marketer is given a budget (quarterly or yearly) and is expected to acquire as many users or customers as possible with that cash. If you look at some of the best growth hacking examples, they often take little budget to make work.

Take for instance, the infamous Dropbox referral program growth hack:

  • They offered customer referral bonuses of 16GB of storage space for each person they referred to dropbox.
  • Dropbox was able to grow from 100,000 customers to 4,000,000 customers in just 15 months.
  • How much did all that customer acquisition cost? The price of 32GB of storage space (16GB for the referrer and 16GB for the referee), which I’d estimate costs Dropbox a couple of cents.                                                                                                             dropbox growth marketing.png

5. Marketers have heard stories of incredible success with growth marketing.

Nerdwallet, Genius (formerly RapGenius), Dropbox, PayPal, Facebook, Mint and many more have growth hacking to thank, at least in part, for the incredible success they have had.

hotmail growth hack.jpg

What are some growth hacking best practices?

The best way to learn growth hacking best practices is to register for our [FREE] Growth Marketing Masterclass. Learn How We get 300+ Customers Every Single Month With Predictability Down To The Dollar And Day.

>>> Grab your spot now.

If you browse Google, you’ll find some great examples of growth hacking. I had trouble finding a list of best practices that (nearly) every business can benefit from so I made one below.

1. Stay current

Part of the nature of growth marketing is understanding trends in the industry and uncovering new tactics or ad units to take advantage of growth opportunities.

How might you do this? Follow a couple of blogs on the topic. The Kissmetrics blog and Quicksprout blog are well written and cover a bunch of growth marketing tactics.

Staying current is important. There are techniques that worked a few years ago but don’t work well today and there are plenty of examples of brand new channels with high ROI. Fab’s “invite only” launch was a great way to force virality early on, but people have become more weary of giving away their email address in similar ways today.

2. Collect emails, social signups and shares.

Growth marketing works best when there is “free” communication with users and potential users. Once you have a user’s email address or they sign up through a social channel for your website, you have their attention (sort of) and anything you publish is more likely to get in front of them for free. Don’t pay to acquire the same customer twice!email-capture-growth-marketing-001.jpg

Read: 10 Ways to Capture Email Leads 

3. Create strong content.

No matter what you’re doing or selling online, internet users demand quality. Consumers see news and blogs every day. CBS News claims we see ~5,000 ads per week and we see plenty of garbage.

You will only succeed online with great content. This can come in the form of great blogging, excellent photography if you have an ecommerce business or a great piece of software if you’re selling a Saas product. Be customer-centric and make something great for others to share and consume.

4. Focus narrowly.

The internet is crowded. In addition to creating strong content, don’t try and do everything.

Said again, the internet is enormous! If Chubbies Shorts and Cards Against Humanity can make millions of dollars selling shorts and a silly card game, you can make millions doing whatever it is you’re doing.

When you focus narrowly, you become an expert in a field and people will associate you or your website with that service or product. When a customer or user has an association vector for your brand or service, your cost to acquire and reengage them is much lower. For some ridiculous ideas that have made millions see here.

5. Proof.

Do you have any doubt that your order on Amazon.com will arrive at your home within a few days? We all have proof that Amazon is who it says it is — from sweeping news coverage and our own experiences ordering from Amazon. I have every reason to believe that the package I order today on Amazon will arrive in the next few days.

So unless you’re Amazon, The New York Times, Google or some other huge brand, nobody has any reason to believe your website is the real deal.

Use media proof, social proof and testimonies of customers to create a strong brand and increase your trust factor.

You can even use a tool called Proof to show visitors proof that other people have taken action and made purchases on your site.realtyshares social proof growth marketing.png

6. Think creatively.

There isn’t ONE growth marketing playbook. The nuances of every business are different and tactics have very different efficacy across industries and over time. Even great ideas fatigue eventually. Consumer sentiment may change or competitors begin to mimic tactics that work well, which drives up cost by virtue of steeper competition.

The first mover will always have the advantage when it comes to growth. The good news is that thinking intelligently about growth is more important than thinking creatively. There are certain frameworks for thinking about growth that will make you more acute at spotting opportunities for growth. We love thinking creatively here at Growth Marketing Pro– watch how we do it here. 

My hope is that this blog opens your eyes to new growth marketing and growth hacking techniques that will help you grow your business fast and efficiently.

Want to learn The 3 Secrets to Getting Customers withOUT Wasting Time or Money in the Wrong Place?  Register for our [FREE] Growth Marketing Masterclass. Learn How We get 300+ Customers Every Single Month With Predictability Down To The Dollar And Day.

>>> Grab your spot now.

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