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Events — 09 May 2023

How to Become a Growth Marketing Strategist

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  • Becoming a Growth Marketing Strategist: a Comprehensive Guide for Your Career

Becoming a Growth Marketing Strategist: a Comprehensive Guide for Your Career

Marketing is constantly adapting and changing based on consumer trends and customer needs. From using social media as some of your primary marketing channels, collaborating with influencers, to emphasizing ecommerce, marketing takes on a variety of forms to build relationships between brands and customers.

Growth marketing is a fairly new strategy, building commerce relationships between businesses and consumers. However, how growth marketing strategists approach this is slightly different from traditional marketing methods. By considering the business in its entirety and how it interacts with customers and presents its products, growth marketing aims for customer growth and retention with lifetime value instead of short-term bursts. 

What is growth marketing?

The purpose of growth marketing is to continually attract and engage new users, retain existing ones, and sustainably grow the customer base of a business. By acknowledging that there is no magic formula to suddenly gain thousands of customers, growth marketing takes its time to evaluate strategies and procedures, using data analytics to find what works. Instead of hopping on each new trend, growth marketing looks towards long-lasting strategies. 

Why is growth marketing important?

If you’re looking for your business to keep continually growing, marketing hacks aren’t going to cut it. Although they may reward you with short-term growth, those customers are unlikely to stick around and you’re going to have to constantly be keeping on top of the trends. This is an unsustainable model, taking up time and resources to see minimal growth year on year. 

Growth marketing resolves this problem, investing your marketing efforts and resources into methods and strategies that are based on your statistics to grow your business by not only adding to your customer base but also retaining – be it a startup or multinational – existing leads. This uses the most effective strategies which benefit your business far into the future.

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This style of marketing is also important for recognizing how different elements of the business interrelate and can influence customers and marketing. This makes growth marketing more powerful, as it can provide feedback based on the needs of a business’s customer base, ensuring the products and services on offer are marketable to the target audience.

Growth marketing vs. traditional marketing

The most noticeable difference between traditional and growth marketing can be seen when looking at marketing funnels. Traditional marketing places its focus on activation at the top of the funnel, attracting customers by raising brand awareness and interest in products and services. This works well with following trends, using hashtags, automatic dialer, and advertising to keep the products within view of potential customers.

Growth marketing, however, looks to engage with the whole funnel – from attracting customers to building loyalty within that customer base, nurturing advocates for the business. This leads to repeat purchases and draws in new leads via word of mouth, reducing the work your marketing teams have to do to attract new users. A partnership marketing platform is more likely to be used, automating the process of reaching new customers.

Naturally, the approach taken with growth marketing looks different from traditional marketing, as it aims to build long-lasting relationships with customers and gain their loyalty. Using affiliate schemes and rewarding customers for friend referrals or making multiple purchases tend to be used more, as these encourage bottom-of-the-funnel behavior. 

Growth marketing vs. traditional marketing

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What are the roles and responsibilities of a growth marketing manager?

Being a growth marketing manager requires you to implement strategies engaging with every stage of the marketing funnel, learning from available customer metrics, and building a consistent strategy to grow your business. This uses a variety of skills as well as foresight into how your business marketing strategy will pan out over significant periods.

  • Roles

A growth marketing manager has many roles and a full to-do list, largely centered around testing and trialing various methods of marketing and learning from the results. This isn’t restricted to making changes within marketing, as growth marketing managers are expected to notice challenges throughout the business and provide input into creating solutions with their marketing skills.

Growth marketing managers should be comfortable using A/B testing to isolate specific variables within business marketing that work and experimenting with multivariate testing (MVT) to find the most effective combination of elements and features in your campaigns. This looks into the minutia of color schemes, fonts, and images used alongside testing various elements of your landing pages including the layout and copywriting used to find the most appealing solution.

By evaluating these results from tests, growth marketing managers can improve their experimentation, identify new areas to test, as well as build a strategic procedure for marketing that will yield consistent results. The more experimentation and results available, the more nuanced and accurate the strategic procedure will be.

  • Responsibilities

Alongside these roles, growth marketing managers are responsible for product leadership, which involves partnering with other departments, such as product development and product management, to create a business-wide vision for products, making sure these fulfill customer wants and needs and address the customer journey. Using multichannel analytics can help identify areas of improvement and growth for products with reports and a variety of quantitative data breakdowns. 

growth marketing process

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Other responsibilities include understanding product growth and being able to adapt key metrics and product strategies based on analysis of customer behaviors. Being driven by data, growth marketing managers can use CPAPI to quickly adjust marketing campaigns in response to feedback from customers and users, providing offers and incentives where the data suggests they will be most effective.

Of course, this doesn’t mean growth marketing managers can forget product marketing altogether. They still have to recognize how business marketing strategies interact with customers and the messaging they send out, planning inter-departmentally to create marketable products which lead to customer base activation. 

How to become a growth marketing strategist?

Just because you already work in marketing, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re naturally going to make a brilliant growth marketing strategist. As highlighted previously, growth marketing takes quite a different stance from traditional marketing and involves roles and responsibilities that entail communicating using an IP phone system and consistent messaging throughout product management and the business’s departments.

  • Two paths to pursue growth in a company:

Successful businesses such as HubSpot, LinkedIn, or Dropbox tend to aim for growth in their customer base, product range, and profits over time. However, there’s more than one way of doing this. Both growth marketing and traditional marketing look to gain new customers and drive purchases, although they both take a different path in how they aim to achieve this. It also leads to different types of business growth. 

  • Seeking customer acquisition at all costs with short-term growth hacking tactics

This traditional marketing mindset leads to adopting trends that create spikes in customers. Although this engages and expands a business customer base quickly, it’s unlikely to last as there’s no strategy for ongoing engagement once the customer has made a purchase. Therefore, new hacks and tricks are constantly implemented to keep creating spikes of customers without considering customer retention strategies to reduce churn. 

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Short-term growth hacking tactics often include initiatives such as paying for subscribers or followers. Although this can boost the visibility and credibility of a business at first glance, this can often lead to email marketing lists filled with bots, unwilling subscribers, and social media followers that won’t engage with your content. 

  • Pursuing customer acquisition that has a foundation of longevity in the marketing strategy

Looking for longevity is a sign of a marketing strategy that looks at all stages of the marketing funnel. This uses a growth mindset, valuing customer retention and acquisition in increasing a business customer base with minimal churn. Fewer tricks are used, instead favoring researched and well-developed ecommerce marketing strategies that are known to work and grow loyal customer relations. 

This type of marketing strategy looks to consolidate relationships with customers through follow-up email marketing, consistently engaging them with your business and products, as well as encouraging advocacy through affiliate and Affise Reach partner networks. Over time, this builds up trust and leads to word-of-mouth generated referrals as well as increasing rates of repeat purchases.

  • Steps to Become a Growth Marketer

Becoming a growth marketer isn’t something that happens overnight and adopting a growth mindset can be challenging. Before you dive into strategizing and managing growth marketing teams, it’s wise to spend some time ensuring you have the right skillset and getting used to how a growth marketer thinks. Use the following five steps as guidance to make sure you’re ready for the role.

  • Understand Growth Marketing

If you don’t have a basic understanding of growth marketing, it’s going to be very difficult to put it into action. We’ve already covered some of the main points of growth marketing, how it differs from traditional marketing, and how it uses a foundation of quantitative data to inform decisions made to prompt lifetime value business growth. 

Understand Growth Marketing

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Nonetheless, growth marketing acts as a heading that incorporates different ways to experiment with marketing, including creative marketing methods, technical marketing strategies, and ecommerce partnerships. Each of these draws on elements like automation, using unconventional marketing channels of marketing, even employing behavioral psychology to develop a marketing strategy. Knowing specifics may not be essential, but an idea will be useful.

  • Build the mindset of a growth marketer

Don’t automatically accept the default or what has always been done as the right approach for a marketing strategy. With growth marketing, everything is open to experimentation and should prove its worth by providing the data and KPIs to validate why it should be a part of your strategy. New and unconventional marketing methods can be just as valuable as those often relied on and experimenting gives you a chance to see what other avenues are available. 

Having a focus or “north star” can keep you from getting caught up in perfectionism. This metric or KPI determines when your marketing is successful, helping to prioritize elements that achieve this goal. Remember that growth marketing strategies may not be instant successes and trusting in the process can see growth over longer periods. It takes time and consistent effort to build relationships with your customers before they will advocate for your business. 

Even so, keeping an agile and lean mindset helps to quickly identify areas of waste or unnecessary processes where marketing efforts could be used more effectively elsewhere. This is a great example of optimization of your processes and makes the best use of the resources available to your business, such as using partner networks like Affise Reach to increase customer impressions, investing your marketing efforts where they’re most needed.

  • Learn the growth marketing process

Growth marketing relies on a process that develops and tests ideas effectively, so that time isn’t wasted and information can be constantly gathered to improve strategies. This begins with research, using previously collected quantitative data, and from it starting to generate initiatives. These initiatives are then developed until they have a plan surrounding them for how to put them into action.

growth marketing process

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Experimentation tests these ideas to prove whether they affect growth or customer responses and to collect data that can be used either to generate more ideas or improve existing ones.

Moving your affiliate program to SaaS or using existing features for your marketing initiatives can bypass some of the testing processes, as they already have data proving their success. Once satisfied that an initiative will provide long-term growth, it can then be implemented. 

  • Master the growth funnel and metrics

Being able to target all areas of the marketing funnel with your initiatives will put you in good stead as a growth marketer. This means having marketing initiatives that not only target user acquisition and lead customers to make a purchase but also initiatives that target customers after the purchase, building their loyalty and advocacy. These areas of the marketing funnel increase long-lasting growth, as well as generate new users via your existing customers.

Looking at a variety of quantitative data can give you a complete image of how a business is engaging with customers at different stages of the funnel. Initial awareness is gauged in clicks, social media interactions, and website visits. However, other areas of data including the number of freemium customers, demo sign-ups, conversion rates, and social sharing can also indicate customers invested in your business for the long haul.

  • Develop your growth marketing skillsets

Building up your skillset is crucial as a growth marketing strategist, as you take in and interpret vast amounts of data, provide ideas and solutions, and work with departments across your business using online meeting software. Key skills include critical thinking to transform quantitative data and analytics into a plan of action, along with product skills to know how to engage customers in every area of the marketing funnel with your products. 

User acquisition skills can also be useful for devising methods to expand your customer base, knowing how elements such as SEO for content marketing, affiliate schemes, content, and digital marketing can drive this. 

Likewise, channel-specific expertise can adapt marketing materials to suit their platform and know what initiatives will work best where. Marketing your referral scheme suits email newsletters, whereas user-generated content is easier to share across social media platforms.

growth marketing skillsets

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Being a growth marketing strategist relies on having the skills for experimentation. The more experimentation you do, the better at it you’ll become. Learning from experience the best ways to accumulate data, streamlining them in your current mlops solutions, then identifying how your customers will respond to different marketing techniques. Similarly, some experiments are bound to fail, and being able to move on and use the data gathered in new projects is a useful ability to have.

What employers look for in a growth marketing manager

Whether looking to interview as a growth marketing manager or add to your business’s existing growth marketing team, it’s good to know what employers are looking for. Naturally, different businesses will have varying priorities for their growth marketing team, however, the following create an outline of what growth managers need to offer.

  • Outstanding analytical skills

As data analysis forms a significant part of a growth marketing manager’s role, having the analytical skills to cope is essential. Google Analytics can help measure quantitative data, whereas using KPIs measures success based on the user experience, and Affise BI integrations manage unstructured data from across marketing channels. Data is the driving force in building a long-lasting growth strategy with lifetime value, informing which initiatives get actioned. 

  • Creative Mind

The default option isn’t always the right one for your business’s marketing and creativity is constantly in demand with generating new ideas and finding solutions to customer problems. Thinking outside the box with how product development can make products more marketable to the target audience and trying out unconventional methods to acquiring and retaining customers is needed, taking a creative approach to growth.

  • Ability to prioritize

As with any role requiring management, being able to prioritize and delegate will help your growth marketing team to work effectively. It’s likely, as a growth marketing manager, you would be overseeing multiple projects simultaneously, testing and implementing different elements and features. Migrating your affiliate program to Affise and finding platforms that assist your marketing strategies make prioritization easier, so you can focus on other areas of growth.


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  • Experience in validating ideas

Growth marketing isn’t about finding one perfect solution to all your marketing challenges. Instead, it’s about being able to keep testing and adapting ideas, identifying which elements work best together and which are no longer necessary. This will lead to failed ideas at points but, by recognizing them as failed and using the data from them to assist in future decisions, the more important skill is how you deal with them.

  • Technical expertise

Knowing the background of growth marketing before you start a job can make onboarding and integrating you into an existing growth marketing team far easier. Rather than having to spend time getting you up to speed and constantly teaching you about specialized areas of growth marketing, you can jump straight in and get to work. Some amount of technical expertise is likely to be learned on the job, however, the more you have to begin with, the better.

  • Marketing automation experience

In making growth marketing lean and agile, automation features can be handy tools. Knowing how to use it and having experience of its capabilities can help with your customer engagement and retention, limiting churn and marketing efforts. Understanding how to set up notification systems or create bulk actions can help minimize human action risks in your processes, as well as save time for you and your team.

  • Paid advertising experience

As a significant part of business marketing, having background knowledge of paid advertising is vital as a growth marketing manager. As well as shaping your idea of what is possible within marketing, it also gives you an appreciation of how different strategies reach customers and their effects, whether through location-based ads, personalized ads, or ad sequencing. 


Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what a growth marketing strategist is, their role in a business, and how their approach differs from traditional marketing. By taking a holistic view of a business and how that impacts customer engagement and growth, growth marketing strategists can suggest improvements within other departments to make products more marketable throughout the marketing funnel.

This entails a specific skillset and experiences to succeed in the role. With elements of data analysis, experimentation, and implementing marketing strategies, the expertise of various areas of marketing can help. Likewise, capabilities in reacting to data and being able to adapt initiatives accordingly can be crucial. Like growth marketing itself, preparing for the role may seem to have no immediate results, but has longer-lasting results for you and your business. 

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Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Written by

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Check out his <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbaconn/">LinkedIn</a>.

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