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What is Growth Marketing

Tips & Guides — 29 Apr 2022

What is Growth Marketing

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  • Growth Marketing Strategies and Why You Need them For Business Growth

Growth Marketing Strategies and Why You Need them For Business Growth

Over 500,000 new businesses are started every year in the US. With so many hopeful entrepreneurs working from the same playbook, it can be hard to get ahead of the game.

The key is breaking away from the crowd with a creative digital marketing strategy. Thinking outside the box creates a compelling brand story, helping with customer acquisition and retention, as well as giving you a competitive edge.

Growth marketing is the name given to these strategies that break away from the norm. Read on to discover trending growth marketing tactics that will help you build a loyal user base and grow your business to the next level.

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What Is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing refers to a whole host of marketing strategies that attract and retain customers, helping businesses grow efficiently and sustainably. These tactics often break away from mainstream business practices, employing creative thinking and powerful partnerships.

The process of growth marketing often involves testing and adjusting advertising in real-time according to data analysis in order to fine-tune the sales process and convert more customers. Not every tactic will work for every company, and most growth marketers find that they’re constantly adapting their approach to match an ever-shifting marketplace.

The key to growth marketing is therefore agility, being able to preempt market trends and adjust accordingly while drawing from a host of tools and tactics.

Growth Marketing Vs. Growth Hacking

Growth marketing and growth hacking are terms often used interchangeably, with the latter giving a more exciting and youthful spin to the traditional concept of growth marketing. However, there are subtle differences to watch out for with these two ecommerce trends.

Growth hacking usually refers to the immediate solution of a particular problem, employing divergent thinking to get fast and specific results. Growth hacks have also become synonymous with SaaS startup companies on a small budget, and often involve ingenious ways to solve problems without stretching budgets.

Growth marketing is more commonly used to refer to a long-term approach, taking on issues such as sustainable scaling of a company, its customers, and its growth metrics. An effective growth marketing process takes on aspects of growth hacking and turns them into a sustainable long-term practice.

Business Benefits of Growth Marketing

Growth marketing encourages players at every level of your organization to think big, reaching beyond tried-and-tested methods for something that will make you stand out amongst the crowd. It also promotes a new level of retailing insight and in-depth analysis, and this understanding forms the bedrock for firmly-rooted decisions throughout your business.

Here are just a few of the ways that a growth mindset can transform your business from the inside.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Growth marketing begins and ends with quality data. When you adopt a growth mindset within your organization, you will place a solid emphasis on gathering, compiling, and analyzing data from social media, PPC, and your website.

This in itself will provide rich resources of information that can be used to increase your SEO rankings, including all-important insight into your highest-ranking keywords. These can be used across web and social media content to boost your visibility and increase paid, social, and organic traffic.

Brand Recognition

Data is not only quantitative but also qualitative. This allows growth hackers to analyze comments and communications amongst your target audience to identify needs and pain points beyond what other brands are providing.

Get your name out there and become trusted and relatable by engaging in these conversations with open questions about what your audience is looking for. Not only will this reveal new competitive opportunities, but it will also make your brand instantly recognizable to the potential customers you’ve interacted with.

It’s not only shoppers who are looking to connect with brands. Advertising networks, agencies, and fellow compatible brands are all seeking mutually beneficial marketing partnerships. Drive brand awareness across a wider market by seeking out partnership marketing opportunities.

Campaign Enhancements

Growth hackers don’t settle for the conventional ways of following up on lead generation. Get more from your existing campaigns by connecting with new leads via branded social media pages and email newsletters. Consider using creative tools to find out more about their buying habits.

For example, an interactive quiz with eye-catching graphics and an element of fun could become a way to gather data about your target audience’s interests and aesthetics. This data can then be fed back into existing campaigns to improve targeting and messaging.

PPC Overload Prevention

PPC (Pay-per-Click) for adaptive ad-buying involves investing more heavily in specific campaigns to attract inbound leads. This can be a bankable move when it comes to narrowing down your target audience and speaking to them directly. However, it can quickly become a bidding war with larger competitors increasing their PPC funding at a similar rate.

Competing at this level isn’t always an option for startup companies and growth hackers. Instead, diversify your marketing campaigns to cast your budget net wider, focusing on the areas where increased ROI is likely and seeking out organic platforms where competitors can’t outbid you.

Attract New Customers

Data analysis can build better brand awareness by allowing you to identify the specifics of new customers’ journeys through the sales funnel. By analyzing where most of your customers enter the top of the funnel, what convinces them to click through to your site, and where any pain points might be on the way, you can alter your content marketing strategy to resonate better with the right audience.

For example, if data shows that a large number of past customers have seen multiple PPC ads but only clicked through from a social media message, you can adjust your spending to focus more on social channels, and focus on a more personal style of messaging. This will cut acquisition costs by removing paid channels that aren’t performing.

Core Components of a Growth Marketing Strategy

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So where should your organization begin? Your startup growth strategy should be based on several metrics, which you can monitor ongoingly via marketing automation software. Here are some KPIs to look out for:

  • Customer acquisition rates – this compares the number of new customers you’ve acquired over various timeframes, allowing you to see how effectively campaigns are working.
  • Conversion rates – this measures the percentage of people who complete a desired action, for example completing a purchase or signing up to a mailing list.
  • Customer lifetime value – this measures the total worth to your business of a customer over the whole period of your relationship with them. It costs less to keep existing customers than it does to acquire new ones, so increasing this metric is an affordable way to drive early-stage growth.

Growth hacks and marketing strategies work together to increase these metrics, often using the core components below.

Cross-Channel Marketing

This tactic focuses on building a single strategic plan across multiple marketing channels to reach customers wherever they are on the web. This can cover email marketing, social media marketing, SMS and push notifications, apps, and your site.

When building a cross-channel marketing strategy, you need to understand which of these channels your target audience is using, and in what ways. Use A/B testing across your channels to understand your audience’s communication preferences on a molecular level, customizing future campaigns to different sub-types within your audience.

This strategy calls for strong technological support, as you’ll need to manage campaign data across channels. Investing in the right software early on can save you money in the long term, allowing you to build contextual campaigns in real-time and waste less funding on channels that aren’t pulling their weight.

Customer Lifecycle

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Understanding your customer lifecycle is crucial to growing your business’s potential. This is the interactive journey your customers embark on from their first awareness of your brand to several purchases over time. 

This relationship can be broken down into three stages: 

  • Activation – where companies seek customers’ attention and interest with messaging, onboarding, and free trials. At this stage, it’s most important to build familiarity and credibility.
  • Nurture – where companies strengthen their relationships with consumers. This hangs on engaging cross-channel messaging, including sales, promotions, and newsletters. 
  • Reactivation – where companies focus on loyalty and retention. Campaigns can include post-purchase email marketing, cart abandonment messaging, referral campaigns, or loyalty programs.

Your customers will progress through this journey at their own speed, but it’s important to ensure that the lifecycle doesn’t stagnate at any particular point. Focus on the changing needs of the customer as they move from activation to reactivation, and adapt your messaging accordingly.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is the name commonly given to multivariate testing, which pitches two variants of a campaign against one another to understand which yields the best results. This can be a significant money-saver, ensuring that you pump your funds into the right messaging and channels rather than wasting them on less-successful variants.

A/B testing can be used at all stages of a campaign’s development, helping you decide on the right graphics, copy, design, and placement of each message. Keep track of the results of each test, as these can be used as a benchmark to optimize future marketing campaigns and even product development. 

The result is a marketing strategy that continually enhances itself, based on historic results.

Growth Marketing Hacks for Your Business

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Now you have a toolkit of core components in your belt, it’s time to take the leap. Growth hacking can be a risk, stepping off the beaten path and focusing on more creative strategies but for a small business, traditional marketing can be even riskier.

Instead of engaging in a lengthy, expensive process without a guaranteed ROI, customize your growth marketing strategy to match your business needs. Choose a few of the growth hacks below and blend them into a powerful and multifaceted strategy.

Disruptive Marketing

Disruption is all about breaking the traditional flow of accessibility, taking products, experiences, and information that was once only available to a select few, and distributing it to the masses. 

Disruptive marketing follows the same cues by taking brands out of their comfort zones and spreading the message to markets beyond the expected demographic. This often calls for innovations that may seem shocking at first – after all, these are the factors that get brands noticed beyond the board room.

Optimized Customer Onboarding Process

Onboarding is the process by which new customers are welcomed to the family, and reactivated for future purchases. Without considering this, companies risk losing existing customers to competitors and having to work twice as hard to acquire new customers.

Pay attention to your purchase confirmation page and email, your packaging, and your ongoing email marketing efforts to promote loyalty from the very first purchase.

Customer Retention

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A 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%. So how can you keep your customer base on board?

First impressions count. We’re not just talking about landing pages here, but the physical product that consumers receive at the end of their customer journey. The details post-sale matter all the more, as they can reduce churn, improve retention and increase referrals.

Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing has exploded over the past decade, growing to $13.8 billion in 2021. With businesses making $5.78 ROI for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, you can see why.

Yet influencer marketing isn’t without risks: some influencers can be difficult to work with, as they’re often unused to formal business relationships. The best collaborations are between brands and agencies, ensuring quality influencer content at a consistent rate.

Introductory Deals

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Introductory offers are everywhere, from first-purchase discount codes in your email inbox to the giveaways that require follows and likes to enter. These campaigns not only tilt the balance in favor of conversion for deliberating consumers but also establish early relationships with buyers.

The principle of reciprocity states that when someone is given something for free, they pick up on a social contract to offer something in return. This is the basis of all relationships, not least those with consumers. A customer who’s benefitted from a hefty discount code on their first purchase will feel more compelled to return to the same brand for their next purchase.

A leading fitness service provider found that businesses with introductory offers attract an average of 45% more clients each month than those without. That’s a significant ROI in itself, but infinitely more so when you consider customer lifetime value.

Identify Business Weak Links 

Before you reach out into the world, make sure you check your own business for growth inhibitors. Use a step-by-step analysis of your entire structure, starting with concrete performance factors such as conversions, ROI, pricing, and outgoing costs. 

Here you’ll find places where your business isn’t performing as well as it should be. These are the areas that could benefit from some disruptive innovation. You should also unearth a few ways you can cut unnecessary costs, such as updating your internet and phone service.

Continue to more subjective criteria, like employee evaluations. Growth is dependent on everyone involved being behind it, so if some of your employees are unmotivated it may be time to explore internal messaging and company culture.

Use the Right Marketing Tools

Before you put your marketing plan into action, make sure you have a detailed list of the tools your marketing team will require throughout the process. 

Growth hackers rely on marketing tools and AI software to provide themselves with a nuanced overview of their campaign success. You may also benefit from a powerful data transfer platform for your marketing campaigns. It’s worth finding the internal budget allowance for these tools early, as they’ll soon begin to pay for themselves.

This is also time to consider any skills that might be missing within your team. Whether through upskilling existing employees or bringing on specialist consultants, designers or planners, you need to fill the gaps before embarking on your growth mission.

Planning and Execution

Just because growth marketing hacks are disruptive doesn’t mean they’re not carefully planned. 

Create and share a detailed growth marketing strategy, including end goals, broken down into measurable targets with deadlines, action items, teams responsible, and resources available.

Discuss your plan with your team via a sit-down meeting or a voice teams call and ensure everyone’s understanding and buy-in. Emphasize the importance of each role to ensure your employees feel valued and excited by the change, rather than unsettled.

Growth Marketing Campaign Examples

Each growth marketing campaign is as individual as the brand it works for, combining many smaller growth hacks into an optimized strategy. Let’s take a look at a few examples of campaigns that can be adapted to work for your business.

Referral Programs

Over 90% of consumers trust advice from family and friends over advertising. This makes your existing customer base your most powerful marketing tool – and in true growth hacking style, a freebie. 

Referral marketing relies on social proof such as word-of-mouth recommendations or written reviews. However, marketers can boost the power of social proof by encouraging existing customers to engage with target audiences on their behalf.

Subject these offers to A/B testing and discover which offers the maximum conversions for the lowest cost. The winning deal could become the foundation of a longer-term referral program, with customers bringing their friends and followers on board via a personal code which wins them further rewards.

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Onboarding 

The onboarding process is as crucial to your data collection as it is to your customer’s experience of your brand. This can and should be a transparent process; openly asking for your customers’ opinions and gaining their trust as the customer journey progresses.

Follow up purchases with a simple welcome email, followed by a message asking customers to help you customize their user experience. Instead of a lengthy questionnaire, questions can be sent via a drip campaign, calling for just a single click per email over several days or weeks.

With AI tools on board, this process can be customized and automated based on each new user’s preferences, resulting in fully optimized offers that speak directly to individuals and maximize their engagement going forward.

Loyalty Programs

In the era of Amazon, customers can easily shop around if an online retail experience isn’t the best fit. However, the amount of choice online can often feel like a burden, with seemingly endless options to explore. If they find a brand that fits their needs, they’re likely to return there.

Show your customers that they’re more than just numbers on a spreadsheet to elicit genuine loyalty. Consider a membership program with points toward purchase incentivizing different actions, or a mailing list with exclusive offers and early access to new products.

These touches keep customers feeling valued as patrons, which boosts engagement and increases the likelihood of further sales. Use data from previous purchases to customize your campaign and create the sense of a two-way relationship with buyers.

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Conclusion: Make Business Growth Sustainable

With the right tools, technologies, and skills in place, growth marketing should become the basis for business decisions across the board. However, a few growth hacks aren’t going to keep an organization growing indefinitely.

You need to formulate a long-term growth plan, incorporating various hacks along the way, and testing regularly for optimized engagement and customer experience throughout the life cycle. Customization is key to this, disrupting the traditional marketing flow by building campaigns around your customers as individuals.

While these strategies are a great launching point for your growth journey, the heart of growth marketing is change. Make sure your team stays agile, ready to adjust strategies according to data trends, and experiment with innovations as they come to light.

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Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

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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.