What the heck is Growth Marketing?
Is “growth marketing” radically new, or is it just a rebrand of essential marketing practices in modern times?
Growth marketing has become a buzzword in the marketing world, with many considering it the latest fad after digital marketing, which itself was merely a rebrand of traditional marketing for the digital age. This begs the question: is growth marketing just another term for a long-established practice, or is it a unique approach deserving of its own label?
Let’s explore the concept of growth marketing and how it is viewed and practiced by today's top marketing professionals.
What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing refers to a marketing approach that prioritizes fast growth, often by emphasizing experimentation and innovation with new tactics. The goal of growth marketing is to find ways to attract, engage, and retain customers rapidly while contributing to an organization's bottom line. It blends digital marketing with product methodologies, often incorporating non-revenue and revenue-adjacent metrics to drive growth.
Examples of growth marketing strategies include offering incentives such as discounts or rewards for signing up, sharing on social media or referring new customers, and optimizing the user experience to drive conversions and reduce churn.
Growth marketing vs. digital marketing:
While it is true that growth marketing often incorporates digital marketing strategies, it is a misconception to assume that growth marketing is simply a rebrand of digital marketing. In fact, growth marketing goes beyond the realm of traditional digital marketing to encompass the entire customer journey, factoring in elements such as user experience, product development, and customer retention.
One significant difference between growth marketing and digital marketing lies in their objectives. While digital marketing often focuses on short-term revenue generation and KPIs associated with specific channels, growth marketing is often concerned with scaling a business rapidly, even if doing so requires sacrificing short-term profits. This means that growth marketing teams may prioritize metrics like user acquisition, customer lifetime value, and churn reduction, rather than immediate revenue generation.
Growth marketing doesn't just "exist" in today's digital world but fully acknowledges and capitalizes on digital platforms to continually experiment, iterate, and adapt campaigns to best reach and retain their target audiences.
Examples of successful growth marketing campaigns:
Several well-known brands have leveraged growth marketing strategies to achieve rapid growth and market dominance. Some noteworthy examples include:
1. Netflix’s Bird Box campaign: Netflix achieved massive success with the release of the film Bird Box by implementing a short, but well-targeted campaign, which contributed to the film's popularity and, subsequently, the platform’s growth.
2. Uber: The ride-sharing company has focused on rapid expansion and user acquisition, often operating at a loss in new markets to establish a strong presence before pivoting to profitability.
3. PayPal: The payment provider offered cash incentives for new users to sign up, footing the upfront costs in exchange for acquiring a large user base that made their platform more attractive to investors.
4. Dropbox: The file-sharing service encouraged users to sign up by offering free storage space, thereby rapidly growing its user base and attracting investors.
While it is easy to dismiss growth marketing as simply a rebrand of digital marketing, it is essential to recognize that growth marketing is a distinct approach with a clear focus on rapid business expansion. By combining innovative strategies across digital platforms and product development, growth marketers can drive meaningful results for their organizations.
As marketing technology and tools continue to evolve, growth marketing will only become more critical in understanding and adopting strategies that focus on long-term growth and success. As a result, growth marketing is not just a fad or a fleeting trend but an important marketing approach that will continue to shape how businesses expand and thrive in the digital age.
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