Blog / Growth Marketing: What it is and how you can do it

Growth Marketing: What it is and how you can do it

Maurice – August 8, 2023 – 10 min read

Our Growth Marketing approach is built on a single principle:

Nobody likes advertising!

Unfortunately, advertising has dominated the marketing landscape over the last 100 years. But those days are over.

Fortunately for all of us!

After all, who likes to watch 30 uninspired clips a day from some big car manufacturer that incessantly suggests that without its new model we belong to a worse group of people.

The world of marketing is in a constant state of flux and new trends often disappear just as quickly as they appeared. But growth marketing is more than a trend; it’s a marketing approach that promises to stay.

But what actually is growth marketing and why is it so different?

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a holistic approach in modern marketing to attract, retain and retain customers.

Growth marketing is a holistic approach in modern marketing to attract (attract), engage (engage) and retain (retain) customers. Here, Growth Marketing is based on relentless experimentation and an intense focus, the changing motives and preferences of customers.

In other words:

Growth marketers focus on the entire marketing funnel, constantly testing new tactics and following a previously developed strategy to figure out how to attract and retain more customers.

But what is the difference between growth marketing and classic marketing?

What distinguishes growth marketing from classic marketing?

Growth marketing focuses on the entire marketing funnel and is based on hard evidence in the form of data. Traditional marketing and online marketing, on the other hand, focus only on individual aspects of the marketing funnel and are usually based on opinions and surveys.

So let’s take a closer look at the two funnels to make the differences clear.

The classic marketing funnel

The classic marketing funnel

A marketing funnel in the classical understanding includes the six, following phases and these phases have different goals:

Phase 1 Awareness:

In phase 1, the goal is to gain attention for the product or service.

To assist in this phase, the following things are used:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Interviews
  • Events
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Mails
  • Social media
  • SEO

Phase 2 Interest:

Phase 2 is all about generating direct interest in the product or service on the part of the customer.

The following things are used for support:

  • Mails
  • Specific content
  • ROI driven blog article
  • Newsletters
  • Courses

Phase 3 Intent:

Phase 3 is about converting interest in the product or service into a concrete purchase intention.

The following is used to assist in this phase:

  • Mail campaigns
  • Product information
  • Case Studies
  • Free Trials

Phase 4 Consideration (Recital):

Phase 4 is about anchoring the benefits of the product or service in the customer’s mind.

To assist in this phase, the following things are used:

  • Demos
  • Shopping cart
  • Sales Ads

Phase 5 Evaluation (comparison):

Phase 5 is about enabling the customer to make a comparison with other products and thus bring about a purchase decision.

The following is used for support:

  • Marketing work
  • Sales

Phase 6 Purchase (purchase decision):

In phase 6, only the purchase decision is brought about.

The Growth Marketing Funnel

Now you have gained an impression of the classic funnel. In contrast, a growth marketing funnel is more holistic.

As you can see, the classic marketing funnel only takes into account the individual phases up to the conclusion of the purchase, so that the funnel ends with the purchase. Classic marketing thus focuses marketing activities exclusively on the purchase as the goal.

But this couldn’t be more wrong, because this is where real growth starts. That’s why we need to expand the classic marketing funnel to include additional phases in order to find a holistic marketing approach.

So let’s take a look at the Growth Marketing Funnel:

Growth Marketing Funnel

Phase 1 Awareness:

The growth marketing funnel also has an awareness phase and in this phase, too, the focus is on reaching as many people as possible.

To assist in this phase, the following things are used:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Interviews
  • Events
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • Mails
  • Social media
  • SEO

Phase 2 Acquisition:

Phase 2 includes the acquisition and initial qualification of leads.

To assist in this phase, the following things are used:

  • Specific content
  • ROI driven blog article
  • Newsletters
  • Courses
  • Mail campaigns
  • Product information
  • Case Studies
  • Free Trials
  • Sales Ads

Phase 3 Activation:

This phase is all about the respective customers signing up, buying something or performing some other action that will finally bring them into the growth marketing funnel.

Phase 4 Retention (Advocacy):

Phase 4 is about making the customer so satisfied by the product that they will buy it again.

Phase 5 Referral:

The aim of this phase is to encourage the customer to actively recommend the product in his environment.

Phase 6 Revenue:

In the end, this phase is all about maximizing yield.

Comparison of growth marketing funnel and classic marketing funnel

The holistic approach to growth marketing

In summary, growth marketing takes a holistic or holistic approach that is not just about acquiring or exchanging customers, but also about retention and retention. Growth marketing therefore accompanies the entire life cycle of the customer.

The focus here is on customer retention, cross-selling, upselling and other things that increase customer loyalty and maximize customer lifetime value.

“It’s five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.”

So don’t let your new customer acquisition costs ebb away as sunk costs. But use this right and important investment to satisfy your customers in the long run, turn them into loyal brand ambassadors and thus achieve sustainable growth.

And this is what you achieve with your growth marketing approach.

Why does Growth Marketing place so much emphasis on experimentation?

Well, over the years we have learned that surveys and opinion only convey half-truths and that people in themselves do not know very much about their own needs, desires and dreams.

In other words, growth marketing deals with the most complex being of all – people.

This complex human being also lives in a world that is becoming more and more complex, and therefore as much experimentation as possible is necessary.

In addition, thanks to the power of the Internet, there are now more ways than ever to reach potential customers and collect data. At the same time, however, competition has also increased exponentially, making it more important than ever to find creative ways to stand out from the crowd.

Because let’s face it, before we take our first sip of alcohol, before we are legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle, before we are even legally competent, we have already consumed over 10,000 advertisements.

We are all tired of bad marketing and therefore nobody likes marketing. Because it is used synonymously with miserable advertising.

But this is exactly the problem that growth marketing is trying to solve. Because by constantly testing new ideas and strategies, growth marketers can quickly find out what still works today and what doesn’t.

And because growth marketers are also constantly monitoring customer behavior, they can quickly adapt their tactics and strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

So if you decide to enter the modern world of marketing or just want to learn how to do your own marketing better, Growth Marketing is a good place to start.

Because a growth marketing approach makes the customer and his needs the starting point of all efforts.

But what goals do growth marketers pursue with their type of marketing?

What are the goals of growth marketing?

The main goal of growth marketing is to attract new customers through a variety of channels, thereby growing a business as quickly and sustainably as possible.

Growth Marketing Goals

As briefly mentioned earlier, growth marketing rests on three pillars:

  • Customer acquisition:
    This is about finding creative ways to reach potential customers and get them excited about your product or service.
  • The commitment:
    Once new users have been acquired, it is important to keep them loyal to your brand. This can be achieved, for example, through e-mail marketing or content marketing measures.
  • Retention:
    The final pillar is customer retention, which is about satisfying the customer so that they keep coming back. This can be achieved through the following things: Excellent customer service, loyalty programs or discounts and coupons.

Therefore applies:

No matter what your marketing goals are, Growth Marketing can help you achieve them. This is mainly due to the unique core areas that each growth marketing approach brings to the table.

So let’s take a closer look at these.

The 3 core areas of growth marketing

Growth Marketing is a multi-faceted discipline that focuses on different areas to help grow a business. That said, there are specifically 3 core areas that should be considered as part of any strategy: conversion optimization, iteration and experimentation, and the content aspect.

3 Core areas of growth marketing

1 – Conversion optimization

Conversion optimization is an essential aspect of growth marketing. It involves using data-driven techniques to increase the number of visitors who take a desired action on your website or app. This could be purchasing a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

In other words, conversion optimization helps ensure that your visitors do exactly what you want them to do, ultimately becoming loyal customers. Because any marketing operation is useless if you don’t manage to convert traffic into paying customers.

But what are the best practices of conversion optimization?

Some conversion optimization techniques include:

  • A/B testing: this involves testing two versions of a web page or a particular element on the page to see which performs better.
  • User Experience (Customer Experience) Optimization: This involves improving the usability and design of your website or app to increase user engagement and satisfaction.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA) Optimization: This is about creating compelling and clear CTAs that encourage users to take a desired action.

So you can already see, conversion optimization includes everything that makes your customer’s journey go smoother and that’s why the possibilities of conversion optimization are endless. Just retrace your client’s journey and keep asking yourself:

Which section, process step or design could I make clearer, simpler or more appealing?

GMM Tip: Use heat maps and user behavior tools to understand how users interact with your website and where potential barriers to higher conversion might lie.

2 – Iteration and experimentation

Another key area of growth marketing is continuous iteration and experimentation. Growth marketers rely on data-driven experiments to test hypotheses, improve performance, and drive growth.

Such experiments include:

  • Conduct A/B testing to compare different marketing strategies and see which is most effective.
  • Implement new features or changes and measure their impact on user engagement and conversion.
  • Use data analytics to gain insights into user behavior and identify areas for improvement.

The latest technologies allow creative marketers to be crazy and try new things without putting much at stake. Because each idea can be tested with a small cohort and step by step this test can be extended before you change whole campaigns or websites.

The art of growth marketing is taking big risks with little money, rather than taking incremental risks with lots of money.

GMM Tip: Never be discouraged if an experiment fails. Every experiment, successful or not, provides valuable insights that help you improve your product or strategy.

3 – Content

Content is probably the most powerful tool in a growth marketer’s arsenal. That’s because high-quality, relevant content can help increase your brand’s visibility, drive engagement, and strengthen user loyalty over the long term.

A holistic content strategy includes:

  • Creating blog posts, e-books, videos, and other types of content that are of interest and use to your target audience.
  • Using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to increase the visibility of your content in search engine results.
  • Creating content that encourages your users to use your products or services and interact with your brand.

Content can map the entire marketing funnel, attract your customers to you, draw them into your sphere of influence, convince them of your offering, turn them into buyers, and ultimately even turn them into marketing ambassadors.

Content will be the front where the big market shares of the future will be distributed. Here, true moats can be dug and defended in the long term, against emerging and existing competitors.

GMM Tip: Use tools like Google Analytics and Social Media Analytics to understand what types of content resonate best with your audience and what topics or formats you should prioritize in the future.

In summary, all that can really be said now is that the three core areas of growth marketing are closely interlinked and should mesh like cogs to promote a company’s growth. Indeed, by applying data-driven techniques, best-in-class content, and continuous experimentation, growth marketers can improve the performance of their entire business, increase user engagement, and ultimately drive growth.

All well and good, but how do you actually implement a growth marketing concept in your own company?

Formulate a growth marketing strategy

Implementing growth marketing in your business can be a challenging task, especially if you don’t know exactly where to start. But don’t worry, we are here to help you.

At Growth Marketing Map, we believe that this requires a holistic process that looks at all aspects of a business. This process should include aspects such as establishing KPIs and growth metrics, defining your target audience, developing a pricing strategy, to determining your growth channels and developing a retention strategy.

Formulate image strategy

Of course, there are many more aspects to it than that. Basically, a growth marketing strategy can be achieved by performing the following steps:

  1. Set KPIs and growth marketing metrics
  2. Define target group and work out a persona
  3. Positioning and USP
  4. Formulate pricing strategy and offer
  5. Elaborate the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle
  6. Determine Growth Channels
  7. Develop funnel strategy (social media p. content marketing p., mail marketing p.)
  8. Develop retention strategy (recommendation, positive feedback loop)
  9. Leave room for creativity, testing and experimentation
  10. Scale growth strategy
  11. Use technology and tools correctly
  12. Growth Marketing iterate

These 12 steps are quickly written down as bullet points, but there is an incredible amount behind the concrete elaboration of an appropriate growth marketing strategy for your company. Therefore, we will show you clearly and tangibly how to do these steps and what is important: Article/E-Book: XXX

Now we’ve talked a lot about Growth Marketing, but not yet about what makes someone who can execute good Growth Marketing holistically.

What makes a Growth Marketing Manager?

A Growth Marketing Manager or Growth Manager is a professional who focuses on driving the growth of a business through the development and implementation of marketing strategies and tactics. But what exactly makes a good growth marketer?

What makes a Growth Marketing Manager

The skills and attributes of a growth marketer include the following:

  • Data-oriented:
    A good growth marketer is able to analyze data and draw conclusions from it. He uses data to test and optimize his strategies.
  • Experimental:
    Growth marketers are willing to try new things and experiment. They are not reluctant to take risks and learn from their mistakes.
  • Creative:
    Although they are data-driven, growth marketers are also creative. They are able to develop innovative and unique marketing strategies that stand out from the competition.
  • Versatile:
    Growth marketers are well-versed in many different areas of marketing, from SEO and content marketing to social media and email marketing.
  • Results-oriented:
    Above all, growth marketers are focused on results. They focus on delivering tangible, measurable results that drive business growth.

GMM Tip: If you’re looking to hire a growth marketer or become one yourself, keep these skills and traits in mind. After all, a good growth marketer can make all the difference when it comes to the sustainable growth and therefore success of your business.

Growth hacking versus growth marketing?

Growth hacking versus growth marketing

You’ve stumbled across the term growth hacking and wonder how it differs from growth marketing?

Well, growth hacking is one aspect of growth marketing. Like traditional marketing, it focuses on the awareness and acquisition phases of the funnel.

Thus, growth hacking combines aspects of traditional marketing with analytical data to accelerate growth and rapidly increase user numbers.

Growth hackers use innovative, low-cost strategies to do this and are constantly experimenting with new ideas, no matter how crazy or absurd they may sound at first. Because it’s often these crazy ideas that end up giving them the highest sales.

Consider the example of Red Bull, which initially aimed to launch a soft drink that would knock Coca Cola off its throne as the most popular non-alcoholic beverage.

Classic marketers would have proceeded as follows with this goal in mind:

They would have conducted surveys and done market research, in those surveys it would have come out that people would like a drink that is bigger than Coke, cheaper and tastes better (such results are unfortunately common when you ask people about their needs and wants because unfortunately we have no idea what we really want).

Red Bull’s growth hackers, however, took a completely different approach, producing the exact opposite. They presented the market with a product that is sold in a smaller can, is more expensive, and also tastes much worse.

Significantly worse? Yes. Rory Sutherland describes this very impressively in his book Alchemy:

“When I say that Red Bull tastes kind of disgusting, this is not a subjective opinion. No, that was the opinion of a wide cross-section of the public. Before Red Bull launched outside of Thailand, where it had originated, it’s widely rumored that the licensee approached a research agency to see what the international consumer reaction would be to the drink’s taste; the agency, a specialist in researching the flavoring of carbonated drinks, had never seen a worse reaction to any proposed new product.”

And most people probably know how this story ends: Red Bull now sells over 6 billion cans a year.

But how do you find such growth hacks?

By using our Growth Marketing Framework and meticulously documenting the results, and only then, you may strike gold one day.

Nevertheless, this section is meant to provide inspiration, not disillusionment, so I will briefly share three well-known or lesser-known growth hacks that have been successfully used by large companies or brands.

3 Growth Hacks

Growth Hack #1: The PayPal Pay-Your-Costumer Program

PayPal is always cited as the archetype example of a growth hacking campaign, and absolutely rightly so.

Because through a relatively simple growth hack, PayPal made sure that it grew by 7% to 10% every day and reached 5 million users in just a few months.

And PayPal managed to do this through a very simple tactic, they paid users to use their service and refer their friends.

Admittedly, this is a very cost-intensive tactic, but as we all know, the results speak for themselves.

Growth Hack #2: “The Critical Drinker” Stand out from the crowd

Many critics of movies, books, artwork, and the like are concerned with being as serious as possible and writing from a realm of words about a realm of physical experience.

“The Critical Drinker,” a YouTuber who can probably best be described as a film critic, has a completely different approach, however.

He turns his entire review into a spectacle, a story that entertains and thus brings criticism, or praise, to the man.

But what is his approach?

Well, we all avoid the all-round waffling drunk whose regular place is the corner seat in the rancidest pub in the entire city. But far from it, because we probably only thought so, because we find him just as amusing.

After all, “The Critical Drinker” has managed to find an audience of millions for itself with just this authentic or rather memorable style.

In fact, he found his own voice in a slightly drunken parody of this very man. Slightly slurring his words, he authentically analyzes the latest movies and series and you really have fun listening to this spectacle.

The “Drinker” is a successful author himself, which adds a certain depth and insight to his critique that makes the content even more interesting. In addition, he addresses socially controversial topics and thus remains in everyone’s memory.

Humor meets relentless candor in “Drinker” and enters into a torrid affair with the uncomfortable truth about the modern state of our entertainment industry in general and our grand narratives in particular.

He is honest and authentic and this makes him an absolute internet celebrity who has gained over a million subscribers on YouTube in just a few months.

Growth Hack #3: Dropbox referral program

Cloud provider Dropbox also developed a referral program to attract new customers.

For example, existing customers received more storage space in their Dropbox account in exchange for a customer referral. Those who used Dropbox Basic can and could earn 500 megabytes per referral. For Dropbox Plus & Professional members, the reward was even 1 GB per referral.

So Dropbox effectively gets its subscribers to invite new people by offering more storage.

Conclusion – Growth Marketing is a holistic marketing approach

If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this:

Growth marketing is a holistic approach that takes into account the needs, desires, characteristics and user experience of its own target group during each stage of the customer journey and tries to satisfy them as best as possible.

In doing so, Growth Marketing places critical importance on good strategy and encourages numerous tactical experiments under the umbrella of that strategy.

For these experiments to be successful, however, the company’s own strategy must first be aligned with the respective target group, and this is best achieved by thinking holistically about this strategy.


8+ years of Growth Marketing
Published August 8, 2023


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