The Complete Growth Marketing Guide with Strategies & Examples for 2022

The Complete Growth Marketing Guide with Strategies & Examples for 2022

We've read dozens of growth marketing blogs and felt none of them properly answered the question of, "WTF is Growth Marketing!?" So we did.

What is Growth Marketing?

While many may think that growth marketing is what happens when marketing eats all its vegetables (thanks, Scott), Growth marketing is actually a long-term strategy that focuses on utilizing a holistic set of data-driven mechanisms to build and maintain relationships between brand and customer at every stage of the funnel with the goal of turning audiences into advocates. These efforts are driven by growth marketers who are data-driven experts who develop customized strategies to increase user acquisition, maintain customer engagement, retain consumers, and convert them into said brand advocates.

How do Growth Marketers Work?

Growth marketers are experts in optimizing and experimenting with variety of strategies and tactics at every level of the funnel — working cross-functionally to ensure that each step of the customer journey is optimized and without bottlenecks. This shifts the focus from “How can we win new customers?” to “How can we keep our customers longer?” by constantly optimizing down-funnel experiences with precise targeting based on campaign data and other insights. This approach allows brands to reach their target audience based on data-driven decisions in order to achieve long-term and sustainable growth.

As an example, a growth marketer may run a content campaign to drive awareness through a series of SEO-optimized blog posts, which then lead the user through a quiz once they’ve been engaged, which drives them down the funnel with some UGC mixed in for social validation purposes and a post-purchase email flow to encourage feedback and advocacy. 

While all of these pieces are working in tandem, our growth marketer will make observations and incremental adjustments to each step of the funnel as the campaigns run their courses. They may observe that, while the blog posts are getting substantial traffic which is driving high levels of conversions, they are not receiving a high volume of responses to their post-purchase email flow. 

Quick quiz, which of the following would a growth marketer implement as a solution:

1. Optimize the blog for SEO
2. Optimize the quiz for greater insights
3. Optimize their UGC strategy to drive conversions
4. Optimize the post-purchase email flow to increase feedback
5. All of the above

If you answered all of the above, you’re correct! While a growth marketer would absolutely implement strategies like A/B testing CTAs in the email flow, changing button colors, or trying new preview text to find better outcomes for their email flow, they would simultaneously be optimizing for the rest of the customer journey to continue to drive results once they cleared the bottleneck within their email flow.

This is the essence of growth marketing, and these are the tools that are used:

  • A/B testing 
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • SEO/SEM/PPC 
  • Social Ads
  • CRO
  • SEO
  • Performance Branding
  • Video Marketing
  • SMS Marketing

Traditional Marketing vs. Growth Marketing 

One of the critical advantages of growth marketing over traditional marketing is that all decisions are based on data, not gut feelings and assumptions. Tests are run in order to capture data that is measured and analyzed so you know exactly where your marketing efforts are best leveraged and how well they are performing in order to drive the following results:

1. Building brand awareness

2. Increasing engagement

3. Increasing referrals

4. Enhancing existing campaigns 

5. Attracting a new audiences

Unlike traditional marketing, which seeks to convert a lead into a customer as quickly as possible, growth marketing strives to take your audience through each stage of the growth loop and ultimately create a brand ambassador. Growth loops can be used to provide value in a variety of ways, including attracting new users, retaining existing ones, building engagement, building awareness, or building advocacy. Selling to a current customer increases your chances of conversion by 60–70% — significantly higher than the 5-20% seen in converting new customers. New customers can cost up to seven times more to attract than to keep, something that growth marketing recognizes as an opportunity to increase customer LTV by focusing on customer retention rather than customer acquisition.

But what does it means to focus on the customer? Businesses of all sizes are analyzing their marketing strategies more closely than ever to satisfy increasing public demands for authenticity, transparency, and quality. When a business decides to operate at the speed of its customers, it is putting its customers first. Growth marketing plays a significant role in this because it allows brands to obtain valuable data through testing in order to determine the trends, preferences, and tastes of their target audience — building relationships through highly targeted campaigns focused on the individual.

This process of building relationships is built into every campaign with each campaign having a “north star” to test and optimize for.  Your “north star” does not necessarily have to do with money, and can be tied to the previous list of KPIs to gain insights into potential practical product impact or future business results.
While traditionally growth marketing was based on the principles of the scientific method: replicating problem-solving patterns, conducting controlled tests, deriving relevant insights from data, and improving trials and goods, in recent history the model has shifted slightly towards what is known as the “racecar” framework — marketers love sports analogies. 

What this framework essential builds for is a sustainable model for accelerated growth by implementing the following infrastructure:

1. The Engine:

In true fashion, your ‘growth engine’ acts as the main driver of your growth through the utilization of growth loops that build audiences into customers and then advocates who generate new customers. Most growth engines are built through traditional growth mechanisms of testing, measuring, and iterating your marketing stack to determine which strategies are performing best at each stage of the funnel to ultimately build your ‘engine.’ Important to note, that like a real engine, your growth engine will need regular monitoring and maintenance to maintain performance. 

2. Turbo Boost:

We’re not sure if turbo boosts are a real thing in cars, or if that’s just something that video games made up, but we’ll consider them to be real for the sake of this framework since it works on a spiritual level. 

Turbo Boosts are exactly what they sound like, little jolts in speed that will help drive your growth but are maybe not part of the typical engine function.

These may come in the form of creating a pop-up shop or experiential event that people can interact with and share to reach large swathes of audiences quickly. While these events may not be sustainable, like having Kim K do a TikTok takeover of your account, they should still be done with intent and have a clear goal behind them — like breaking the internet, or at least gaining a few thousand TikTok followers courtesy of Kim K. 

3. Lubricants:

This is the most traditional growth mechanism out of all of these growth factors, in that, this process serves as the means to optimize your engine. 
If we were to look at the growth engine as an actual engine, with each of its 8 pistons (yeah, we got a V8) as an individual component of our growth strategy, then the overall performance is dependent upon each of those pistons firing smoothly and efficiently — which requires oil.

Referring back to our previous example, this would be the testing and optimization of each piston while giving extra attention to our post-purchase email flow if that piston happens to be underperforming. 

4. Fuel:

Someone is going to have revisit this section once electric vehicles take over, but for now, fuel is everything that keeps your growth engine running. Getting back to our piston analogy, if you know anything about cars, you’ll know that the pistons fire when fuel is mixed with air which is then ignited by a sparkplug which then causes a little explosion that pushes the piston which turns the driveshaft, which causes the axels to spin, which turns your wheels and propels your vehicle forward. 

The fuel in this case, which causes the explosion, is a number of things ranging from capital to fund paid media campaigns or hire content creators, or otherwise cover marketing spending, to content that feeds the social media and SEO pistons of our motor, to the users who help to propel the audience and community pistons of our motor.

Growth Marketing Tactics: 

Growth marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, but rather one of experimentation that is done in order to determine which tools and tactics work best for a particular brand or project. Through rapid experimentation with the below tactics, it is possible to determine which tactics are performing best for a particular brand or project, and shift your focus to optimize those strategies. 

Here’s a brief breakdown of each tactic: 

PPC/SEM Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a form of advertising in which marketers pay for consumers to click on their ads. Advertisers bid on the perceived value of a click based on keywords, platforms, and the type of audience. 

PPC is used for a variety of campaign objectives, including: 

Increasing sales 

Generating leads 

Increasing brand awareness

PPC is all about relevance. Users search for specific products, services, and information at any time. Advertisers can present a tailored ad when that search occurs. If a user searches for “red lipstick,” an advertiser can show an ad about “red lipstick.”

Community-Led Growth:

As brands continue to focus more so on building longstanding relationships with users, community-led growth is becoming a primary focus of many growth marketing strategies as brands seek to connect directly with audiences, through meaningful interactions and the leveraging of content creators who drive authority within niche communities. 

Product-Led Growth:

Brands are discovering now more than ever that growth can be built directly into their products as a means of encouraging user interaction, sharing, and advocacy as an extension of the product itself. As a component of your growth strategy, for a product-first brand, the same processes can be practiced to optimize the onboarding process, as well as the referral loops that are built into the product, to encourage the sustainable acquisition of new users.

Paid Social

What is the best way to spend money on social media ads? Although you may think that the solution lies in knowing which social network has the most extensive user base, there is no perfect answer. The truth is that it all depends on the circumstances. When choosing, consider where you can find your target audience on social media, what type of campaign you want to run, and how you can best use your advertising budget. Below is a brief overview of the most common forms of social media advertising options.

Meta / Instagram:

Meta is the largest social networking platform in the world and has a stable and reliable advertising platform. Meta for Business is very visual and offers various segmentation options ranging from demographics to Lookalike Audiences. Regarding Instagram, find examples of Instagram ads you want to emulate and work on optimizing your photos and videos to take full advantage of Instagram’s potential.

Twitter:

With Twitter ads, advertisers can design campaigns tailored to different goals, such as conversions, leads, and app installs. Combine it with artificial intelligence to make the most of it.

TikTok:

The process of using TikTok to advertise a company, good, or service is known as “TikTok marketing.” It may involve a variety of strategies, including UGC marketing, TikTok advertising, and the production of naturally viral content.

Pinterest:

Since Pinterest is a visual medium, creating eye-catching visual content to post is essential for leveraging it for business. Thus, Pinterest marketing is a collection of strategies that integrate Pinterest into your company’s overall social media marketing plan in order to reach out to new audiences and increase brand and product exposure.

CRO

The goal of CRO marketing (also known as conversion rate optimization) is to increase the number of website visitors who convert. These are incentives for consumers to perform the desired activity (e.g., download a video, sign up for a subscription, place an order, etc.). Any company that wants to achieve tangible results from its marketing and sales efforts needs a plan for CRO. It not only promotes the company but also encourages people to take action. These actions help to increase the popularity and revenue of the company. 

In order to have a successful CRO strategy, the website design must first inspire confidence in visitors. It should be easy to navigate and use in order to ensure your efforts to capture paid or organic traffic isn’t lost once the user reaches your site. The last step is perhaps the most challenging. All those visitors are useless to your business if they are not driven to take action. Therefore, your website needs to be able to convert some of those visitors into leads, subscribers, and customers. 

SEO

SEO marketing is digital marketing that involves optimizing websites and web landing pages for search engines like Google. Since search engines are the primary means of finding almost anything, various strategies have been developed to help businesses increase the visibility of their digital resources. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term that refers to a combination of internal and external strategies. For ranking pages in search results, each of the leading search engines has its method or “secret sauce.” These formulas, known in the trade as algorithms, are closely guarded techniques that are kept as trade secrets by the major search engines. 

Through trial and error, marketing SEO specialists reverse-engineer parts of these algorithms over time to find optimal search engine marketing strategies using proven methods.

SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is essentially a paid approach to SEO in which brands can pay for preferred placement in search results for specific keywords. This can be extremely helpful as a companion to SEO strategies while building authority and working to get pages to rank for specific terms, or as a companion to your SEO strategy once you’ve organically identified which terms your content is ranking for to ensure you’re capturing as many eyes as possible with your content. 

Content marketing 

Content marketing is a process to engage your audience and grow your community by developing relevant, high-quality content. That’s precisely what we are doing with this blog right now!

This approach can attract, engage, and add value to a brand’s audience by improving brand trust and recognition through organic relationship building. 

It’s no longer a fad but a strategic investment in the future of your business. A brand can achieve greater relevance and visibility on the Internet and become better known by its customers through content marketing

In other words, a company can leave a positive and lasting impression on customers through meaningful content and interactions. It’s no longer enough to be online, the question now is how to stay visible and relevant to the audience in an increasingly crowded digital landscape.

Performance Branding

Performance branding is a cross-departmental approach that combines brand thinking in the areas where it can bring the most value. To optimize revenue potential and enhance brand lifetime value(LTV), the framework applies creative brand principles and fundamentals along a quantifiable performance funnel. In other words, you create brand equity through your digital media buys to deliver a consistent experience across all marketing touch-points.

Working on performance and branding requires creating content and creativity with business KPIs and audience data in mind so the performance team can provide feedback after delivery. 

The goal of performance marketing in digital media is to maximize return on marketing investment. Personalized communications, retargeting, and direct impact measurement at the individual user level are examples of actions at the bottom of the sales funnel that can lead to conversion and purchase.

Email Marketing 

An email marketing campaign is a collection of individual emails sent over a period of time with a specific goal. To achieve the campaign goal, each email must contain a well-worded subject line, targeted content, and a specific call to action. 

Like most digital material, email campaigns should balance value and entertainment — enticing visitors to click without revealing too much or too little about the content. 

Focused content is information that’s relevant to the overall concept of your email marketing campaign and your general audience. Marketers can choose to use dynamic content in multiple email messages to target different parts of their audience. 

Most email marketing campaigns use a primary CTA button with the option of a secondary CTA button. Your CTA buttons should be eye-catching and prominent without being intrusive or distracting from the text.

SMS Marketing

Short messaging service (SMS) marketing is a type of marketing that companies employ to text clients with promotions. In other words, SMS marketing and text message marketing are interchangeable terms. Text message marketing is quick in several ways. You don’t need to create any images for your content, unlike social media or email marketing. You don’t have to write a lot in text messages either because they have a small character restriction. They may be produced and sent quickly and easily. Lastly, SMS marketing is an easy approach to getting in touch with your customers and increasing ROI. 

Video Marketing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how valuable must video be? That’s the foundation of video marketing, a forward-thinking marketing strategy that incorporates compelling video into your campaigns. 

Video marketing can capitalize on customer leads to promote your brand, services, or goods through how-to videos, customer testimonials, live stream events, and organic content to connect directly with your audience and build trust.

Videos are a gold mine for search engine optimization, as they help build backlinks, increase likes and shares (which can impact search rankings), and drive traffic to your website.  While Google owns youtube, allowing content on the platform to be optimized with keywords and key phrases, TikTok has recently surpassed Google as the video search engine of choice — though that content will soon be indexed on Google as well.

TikTok Marketing

If you’re planning a social media strategy for 2022, it’ll be hard not to include TikTok. With over a billion monthly active users and over 173 million first-time installs in the app stores in the last quarter of 2021 alone, TikTok is as strong as any other “major” platform.

Authentic Content comes first in the TikTok universe. TikTok viewers prefer unadulterated and entertaining videos over heavily edited, curated posts – the kind of posts marketers typically create for sites like Instagram and Facebook – more than other social media platforms. 

TikTok videos have recently started to show up in search results, before Instagram and YouTube. Although it hasn’t yet surpassed YouTube or Instagram in terms of general popularity, it does appear to have stolen rankings and visibility, primarily from the image-sharing app Instagram. However, TikTok has become a site where people are actively looking. The app is both a search engine (making a user want to purchase a good or service in the first place) and a search facilitator.

People now look to it as a platform when they need a quick response or advice or information about a good or service. Since TikTok is quickly posing a threat to other social media platforms, search marketers should begin considering how to work more closely with social media terms to fully utilize them. How does Tiktok influence demand for the goods and services you offer, as well as what are people looking for? How can you produce content that answers such questions in order to promote sales of your goods and services?

Go from Marketer to Growth Marketer

When attracting new customers, pushing too hard for a quick sale can be a deterrent. Instead, take a long-term approach that allows people to become familiar with your brand so they can take the next step on their terms. A growth marketing plan can help your business become a thought leader and attract customers who’ll become advocates who will buy from you in the future, and refer your brand to their communities. 

Today’s tools and technologies enable any marketer to become a growth marketer through testing and optimizing for increased engagement and a better customer experience while implementing techniques to target consumers based on highly individualized preferences. As you experiment with different methods, ensure you’re collecting data along the way so you can design, test, and iterate your way to a better customer experience.


Maria Mathioudaki
Maria is a growth analyst intern studying Marketing at NYU with expertise in marketing analytics and diverse industry experience specifically rooted in diplomacy, sales, and marketing.

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