Growth marketing may be a trendy topic, but what does it really mean? The obvious element here is the emphasis on growth. (It’s in the name, after all.)
What does growth-focused marketing look like, though? Just to clear one thing up, it isn’t a glamorous way to refer to normal promotional marketing. Growth marketing is a thoughtful, sustainable, long-term approach to marketing that, when done well, can build momentum over time and turn any brand into a customer-focused industry powerhouse.
What Is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is a customer-centric approach to marketing. Traditional marketing tends to focus on a business and how it can promote its products and services. In contrast, a growth marketer starts with the consumer and keeps them in focus at all times.
This may sound like a minor difference (both approaches to marketing are trying to promote a brand to close sales, after all). However, the simple act of approaching your marketing by putting all of your attention onto your customer can be a game-changer.
Tactics like crazy sales and referral programs tend to be flashy and exciting. Known as growth hacking, each tactic could result in rapid growth, but it won’t last long. Focus more on creating a better customer experience to increase organic growth opportunities and overall customer retention.
With the customer always in mind, growth marketing takes on a new sense of purpose and mission. Growth marketers use Google Analytics and other data analysis tools to observe the customer journey, their interests, and their reception (or lack thereof) of a brand’s offerings. They use this information to adapt and make agile and evidence-based decision-making over time.
Growth marketing doesn’t stop with customer acquisition, either. While that’s an important first step, the art of growth marketing focuses on the entire customer lifecycle. From demand generation through to conversion and on to client retention, growth marketing considers the entire sales funnel from top to bottom to create sustainable growth.
The Three Pillars of Growth Marketing
At Relevance, we find that you can generally split your growth marketing activities up into three primary areas:
- Credibility uses Digital PR to gain third-party credibility, establish brand awareness, and boost your marketing effort.
- Authority harnesses the power of a good content strategy to showcase knowledge in topical areas and provide helpful content.
- Visibility utilizes an SEO strategy to optimize content and make it easier for your content to rank in search engines and answer searchers questions.
Together, these three focal points allow you to use digital marketing to own your industry.
The Synergy of Cross-Channel Marketing
Growth marketing uses a variety of different marketing channels — especially digital marketing channels. Growth marketers incorporate onsite content, social media, emails, influencers, guest posts, technical SEO, and more to execute their growth strategy. These aren’t utilized individually but woven together into a single, cohesive strategy designed to optimize the effect of one other.
For instance, consider a scenario where you create a piece of content for your blog. As you write, you make sure to focus on certain keywords, links, and other back-end technical SEO techniques. Once complete, you link to that in a guest post that you write for a popular industry publication. By taking a holistic approach, you have simultaneously tapped into all three growth marketing pillars by:
- Improving your brand authority through quality content (content strategy)
- Increasing visibility by optimizing your content for search engines and their users (SEO strategy)
- Growing your credibility by connecting your brand to a well-known publication (digital PR).
For a growth marketing strategy to work, you must invest in a sustainable, long-term plan. This is called a growth marketing strategy framework, and it is the growth-oriented blueprint, philosophy, and methodology that you return to every time you go to create a new growth marketing campaign or strategy.
What Is the Most Important Aspect of Growth Marketing?
There are many elements that go into a healthy growth marketing strategy. However, there is one aspect that stands head and shoulders above everything else: data.
Data is a growth marketer’s North Star. It provides them with a path to follow and then helps them stay on course throughout their journey.
By properly tracking and analyzing data, you can make sure your growth marketing decisions are working. As you go along, you’ll find that some things are a hit. Others will be less inspiring or even a downright failure. That’s perfectly normal, but when it happens, you want to know as quickly as possible so that you can tweak your strategy.
A Pair of Examples of Growth Marketing
Rather than use hypotheticals, let’s consider a couple of real-world growth marketing examples.
Nurx Enhances Authority and Visibility
When Nurx came to the Relevance team, they asked our growth marketing agency to help them expand their influence in the telehealth industry. Using a holistic growth marketing approach, we created a search engine optimization strategy that helped Nurx rank for popular search terms related to their target market.
At the same time, we used the effort to enhance their content strategy. The result turned Nurx into an industry-leading brand that was both more visible and exuded greater authority through its content creation.
Gabb Wireless Builds Brand Credibility and Authority
When Gabb Wireless asked Relevance to help with Digital PR, we immediately knew there was more we could do to help. The kids cellphone brand was as impressive as it was relatively unknown.
Through a multi-faceted strategy, our growth marketing team got a wide variety of brand mentions across several different online publications. This was coupled with a concerted push to expand the brand’s content. In the end, Gabb’s online authority and credibility were both boosted, leading to a 279% increase in MRR (monthly recurring revenue).
Using Growth Marketing to Own Your Industry
When you see the growth marketing vs marketing debate, remember that you’re talking about two very different things. Marketing is an umbrella term that vaguely applies to companies selling a good, service, or skill to the public.
Unlike traditional marketers or growth hackers, growth marketers take a customer-centric, data-driven approach to promotion. It considers the entire marketing funnel and uses data to watch results, make adjustments, and make sure you reach (and often exceed) your marketing goals over time.