What Is a Growth Marketing Strategy and How Can You Implement It?

How to implement a growth marketing strategy

Growth marketing is a strategy for increasing engagement while gaining new customers or users. Learn how using it can add value throughout the marketing funnel.

Every business, from e-commerce startups to enterprises, is learning to see the practices of new digital marketing strategies as industry standards. Whether you’re familiar with the growth marketing strategy or new to the world of digital marketing in general, growth marketing approaches are a valuable tool to have in your arsenal. Using the methods outlined here in your marketing efforts can help you attack every part of the customer lifecycle for measurable results.

What Is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a holistic strategy that emphasizes increasing engagement, gaining new customers or users, and retaining those users through refined customer experience as it relates to other areas of business strategy. It’s a full-bodied approach intending to add value throughout the marketing funnel.

The innovation of growth marketing is similar to other strategies like performance marketing in that it relies on data-driven systems, creative approaches, and product-focused methods. A successful growth marketing team will understand how best to support your business, and it will enact a plan for doing so. That might be by applying marketing automation, suggesting changes to your copywriting process to better meet your target audience, or even giving attention to product development and how it connects to brand growth.

Growth Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Growth marketing enthusiasts often label it “traditional marketing 2.0,” and they’re not wrong. The novel marketing strategy uses the functional and well-studied elements of successful traditional marketing but implements several additional systems. Rather than acting as a replacement, growth marketing is an evolution of traditional marketing.

It does so by moving towards long-term success in building a user base and inspiring loyalty in said base, but also by giving brands valuable data on how those effects can be maintained. Adding the missing piece in traditional marketing – the measurement of engagement – gives growth marketing the opportunity to find and build on data. When we take a traditional marketing tactic – for example, magazine distribution – growth marketing benefits business owners by allowing them to measure engagement in ways they previously could not. That is not to say that traditional marketing strategies should disappear once you implement growth and other digital marketing approaches – instead, think of each strategy as a vital organ in your marketing system.

Growth Marketing vs. Growth Hacking

The difference between these two is about as slight as the discrepancy between the terms themselves, but it’s still notable. While growth marketing encompasses the entire marketing strategy used from beginning to end, growth hacking is a shade more precise. Both are equally valuable, each useful at different points in the marketing process. 

Growth hacking, first coined by entrepreneur Sean Ellis, refers to the problem-specific tasks that require intentional work. A brand hires a growth hacker to find possible innovative solutions to distinct problems, often ones that are time-bound. In that regard, growth marketing is more long-term and development-focused, while growth hacking is quick, intentional, and problem-based.

Core Elements of a Growth Marketing Strategy

The key to growth marketing strategies is that each element focuses on the whole customer lifecycle. Instead of centering only on top-of-the-funnel practices like broadening brand awareness, growth marketing approaches have diverse marketing focuses.

Take referral programs, a popular growth marketing tactic. A growth team designs these programs to lift the lifetime value of a user. Rather than ceasing strategy after acquiring new users, they push these new customers forward to garner other potential customers through their referrals. This exemplifies the intention of every core piece of growth marketing: to attend to each part of the customer lifecycle.

That lifecycle extends all the way from acquisition to referral, as noted in Dave McClure’s popular AARRR Framework. Though there are numerous growth marketing frameworks to practice, McClure’s is helpful here for its specific analysis of each part of the funnel. For the sake of this guide, you’ll see mentions of the framework’s categories, specifically acquisition, activation, and retention.

As you explore the core elements of a growth strategy described below, you’ll notice its connection to performance marketing and other digital marketing strategies. Consider the tangible examples of our approaches at First Media and how you may implement each core element into your marketing efforts for the most benefit to your business – or delegate an external team to do so. Remember: the best marketing strategies encompass the most successful ingredients of multiple approaches.

A/B Testing

A/B testing evaluates two or more variables in a given circumstance. Marketers use A/B testing to experiment with two different landing pages, apps, platform usages, etc., to determine which version offers the most effective results. This isn’t exclusive to growth marketing. However, the application of A/B testing in growth marketing works seamlessly with the other strategy elements and stands as a core ingredient in the results it offers.

In growth marketing, A/B testing becomes particularly crucial for assessing the function of user experience designs and approaches that attempt to garner new users. It can also give other insights in real time. As you’ll read next, growth marketing strategy is based on data, and A/B testing offers a way to assess hypotheses and build on their discoveries.

Data Analytics

Like any studied approach to marketing, growth marketing emphasizes the use of data analytics. The process itself is extensively data-driven, so the methods used should be equally informed by data. This includes using metrics for conversion rate optimization (CRO), revenue or pricing metrics, customer data, and ones related to the return on investment of customer acquisition cost (CAC). Because growth marketing is also a constantly developing strategy, using data analytics to educate the next move is a staple. There is no successful growth marketing without well-executed analysis and thoughtful use of data to tweak efforts for better results in the next iteration. 

See it exemplified in First Media’s success in social content: our brands Blossom and So Yummy each outperform all other DIY and food and drink publishers on Facebook (respectively) with fewer posts. Though we don’t accomplish this with data alone (we employ the production expertise and captivating content capabilities of performance strategists), creating content that converts needs to attend to the metrics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Valuable not just for growth marketing but for other strategies like performance marketing, SEO is a requisite. Almost every growth marketing framework references SEO in the acquisition stage, as it is an industry-standard for high-performing organic traffic. Any growth marketer you hire should have a plan for either thoughtfully incorporating SEO or designating a team to do so.

SEO should inform performance marketing tactics, but it should not be the main focus insofar as other elements of the marketing strategy are lacking. An essential part of growth marketing is creating content that converts, which means the focus isn’t just producing content. It’s producing content that users relate to and engage with. A skilled growth marketing team knows that SEO is vital for informing content but can also produce said optimized content without sacrificing quality or the potential for user engagement.

Our marketing strategy epitomizes the importance of SEO while seamlessly weaving it into engaging content without losing any piece of media clarity or quality. Take a look at how we maintain an emphasis on creative content next.

Creative Content

The most successful growth marketers implement highly creative content into their plans. The reason? It aids not just in developing brand personality and awareness – creative content can also help reach the main focus of growth marketing: user acquisition, customer retention, and revenue. In the modern era, purchase can’t happen without engaging the user’s interest.

Producing creative content is not just vital for the overarching goals of growth marketing, but for specific growth marketing approaches brands should use. For example, shoppable content, a focus of our work at First Media, is successful only when creative content is emphasized. Shoppable content means nothing if users aren’t engaged. Similarly, branded content is most profitable when its related content is generated with creativity, uniqueness, and user interest in mind.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Nowadays, it’s not enough to focus on one channel, one platform, or one space alone. There are numerous formats to attend to, from email marketing and onboarding to in-app messages and push notifications. With so many areas, developing a plan that incorporates and lifts each track individually and the multi-channel space as a whole is an essential part of an effective marketing strategy. It should include more than just multiple social media platforms, or the collective set of notifications users get on their phones.

At First Media, we use a performance marketing omni-channel approach that offers the advantage of cross-channel marketing more extensively than others. It connects all across the digital world, including social media, but also extends to things like television, radio, and out-of-home content. Multi-channel marketing is also the best space for one of our favorite marketing tips: shoppable content. Implementing shoppable content into the broad expanse of your marketing channels helps seamlessly push users from acquisition to activation and beyond.

First Media’s Marketing Approach

Growth marketing isn’t the be-all-end-all solution to brand success. It needs to be done effectively, with all the necessary core elements and any additional benefit it can add. It’s also best used in conjunction with other marketing approaches that consider your brand’s objectives. At First Media, we’ve seen time and time again how thoughtful digital marketing strategies can lead brands to the solutions and gains they seek. The marketing campaigns described here aren’t just pay-as-you-go opportunities for your brand to throw things at the wall and hope for the best. They are robust, quantifiable, and well-executed opportunities to envision areas where your brand can grow.

Our strategy integrates the benefits of modern marketing with tools and resources you don’t have access to elsewhere. We design, create, and execute conversion-driven content led by a specialized media team with access to AI and other proprietary tools. Combining expert knowledge, industry-leading production abilities, and an understanding of the entire customer, we don’t just churn out content. A complete in-house process focusing on delivering on objectives lets you spend more time dedicated to the customer experience or customer journey rather than spending all your efforts fixating on the “how.” Explore First Media’s marketing strategy and learn how to partner with us to find your brand’s growth.

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