By David Tomas, on 10 March 2021
Growth marketing is all about expanding your reach and increasing profits. While it may be comfortable to repeat marketing efforts and enjoy continuous yet similar results, businesses need growth to stay competitive. But what exactly is growth marketing and how do you create a growth strategy?
What is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is an ongoing process of strategizing and experimenting with different marketing methods to optimize results. Perhaps you have a specific metric you’d like to improve on, growth marketing helps you reach that objective using testing and refining techniques. Growth marketing prioritizes growth over any other area of performance. Expanding and staking claim to your piece of the marketplace is the end goal.
The process of growth marketing is similar to the scientific method: Hypotheses are tested, analyzed and conclusions are made. Marketing is typically seen as a creative pursuit, whereas growth marketing truly focuses on data.
While marketing generally only refers to generating leads and nurturing them, growth marketing is the entire process of attracting, qualifying, converting and keeping customers to consistently grow your business. You want compounding sales that build over time. This is long-term, sustainable growth that allows your brand to have a solid position in your industry.
Growth Marketing vs Growth Hacking
The terms growth marketing and growth hacking are often used interchangeably. Yet, they are quite different indeed.
Growth hacking is the pursuit of rapid growth at all costs. It involves short term thinking and planning for immediate growth that’s not necessarily sustainable nor, at times, ethical. Many of the world’s most successful startups, like Facebook, utilized growth hacking by prioritizing rapid growth above all else to secure funding.
And as explained above, growth marketing is a more sustainable method which looks to build a solid foundation to achieve long term growth. Which method you choose to employ depends on your own objectives: Do you want fast growth to attract investors or sell at peak value? Or, do you want to build a strong brand that grows year over year? Answering questions like these can help steer you in the right direction.
Regardless of your objectives growth is essential to stay relevant in today’s business world. Of course growing too fast can also bring its own problems like not having a structure in place to handle demand. For most brands, growth marketing is a much more practical and realistic approach. That being said, less risk can also mean less reward.
Examples of Growth Marketing
Whether your growth objectives are big or small, you need to scale your marketing efforts to see results. Here are a few brands that planned, tested and executed growth marketing strategies and found success.
Harry’s: Disruptive Pricing and Subscriptions
Harry’s has achieved incredible growth within the online shaving industry, 3X the industry average and even faster than well-known Dollar Shave Club. Disruptive pricing has allowed Harry’s to gain market share in what’s typically a high markup industry. Their subscription model also allows them to build brand loyalty and maintain customers long after an initial purchase. Harry’s has also primarily targeted baby boomers, while their competition focuses on millenials.
Stripe: Simplification and Word of Mouth
The mid 2000s saw ecommerce come into its own. Shopify launched in 2006 and made it easier than ever for anyone to start an online business. Flexible and user friendly payment solutions, however, were nowhere to be found. Patrick and John Collison saw this and founded Stripe, which changed the online payment industry and secured impressive funding.
Traditional payment methods were confusing, complicated and not at all user friendly. Stripe focused on making their solution as simple and easy as possible. This included great UX design, both for the developers it targeted and the end user.
Stripe also relied heavily on word of mouth as their growth marketing tactic. Their target market is on developers and this community helped jumpstart their rapid growth. Stripe targeted a niche market, filled a definite need and by doing so allowed the product to almost sell itself.
HubSpot: Free Tools and Lead Nurturing
HubSpot is a leading marketing software provider that has built an empire based on the tools it sells. HubSpot is known for high quality products, which include their free tools. These free solutions are used to nurture leads towards eventually using paid software. Even though their CRM is free it’s one of the best on the market. Plus, other HubSpot marketing solutions that integrate with their CRM are paid products, meaning many customers make purchases at one point or another.
These free products, webinars and a solid email marketing strategy nurture leads towards becoming paying, long term clients. HubSpot has aced the art of growth marketing and helps others do the same.
Slack: Defining a New Market
Built by remote developers who needed a communication tool, Slack created a whole new market when it was launched. Instead of relying on emails as a productivity tool, Slack paved the way for instant messaging as a collaboration option for remote workers. This and resultant investment meant remarkably fast growth for Slack but they didn’t stop there. Instead of resting on their haunches, they take user feedback to consistently improve and refine their product. Additionally, like HubSpot, Slack offers free solutions that users get real value from and actually want to use.
The combination of these factors and growth marketing strategies have made Slack the fastest growing B2B software provider ever.
Growth marketing, as its name implies, prioritizes one thing: growth. And growth is essential for any business looking to stay competitive and relevant. Unlike growth hacking, growth marketing is all about sustainable long-term growth. For many successful brands this means not only attracting customers but keeping them onboard as loyal devotees.
Growth marketing requires patience and creativity, and it might not be suitable for some companies just starting out. That being said, growth marketing is a highly recommended strategy to build a lasting presence in any industry.