February 17, 2020

Josh Fechter says that “Growth marketing is the practice of analyzing a business’s customer experience and lifecycle in order to propose strategies designed to optimize a target area.”

I am MC and I want to welcome you to the the Art of Growth Marketing.

The Art of Growth Marketing was built with the following in mind: promoting growth as part of the Vision and the DNA of each and every company, no matter the size, regardless of the industry, whether you build a Saas software, niches websites or sell Sales funnels.

I am a digital marketer and growth hacker based in Shanghai, China.

I come from an agency background working with brands such as Disney, Nike, Porsche, Tiffany, Beats by Dre, Mercedes, BMW, Fendi, Costa, Audi as well as entrepreneurs, startups, inventors…

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth Marketing is a qualitative and quantitative, 360 degree approach, used to grow businesses and maximize revenue by getting and retaining as many users as possible, increasing user Life Time Value and using efficiently every single dollar spent.

Keywords to remember:

  1. Qualitative (intuition) by using psychology, design, UX, viral content, social media, etc.
  2. Quantitative (logic) by using data, metrics, KPIs, conversion goals, surveys, studies, etc.
  3. 360 degree by using a varied mix of tactics and strategies that affect all teams from Marketing, Development, UX, Sales, Product, etc.
  4. High MRR, low Churn Rate, high LTV, high upsells/cross-sells and low CAC

4 Metrics of Growth Marketing

Growth Marketing has 4 important metrics, which are the same as any Saas software:

  1. MRR: Increasing the acquisition of new users (to increase “MRR” aka Monthly Recurring Revenue)
  2. Churn Rate: Improving the retention of current users (to lower the “Churn Rate” aka people cancelling)
  3. LTV: Increasing duration of subscription and boost upsell/cross-sell of other services (to increase Lifetime Value and thus, revenue)
  4. CAC: Reducing the customer acquisition cost and rise retention of users (to maximise efficiency of every dollar spent, which affects the strategies and tactics of the growth marketer)

The principles apply to all different types of businesses, whether you have a Saas, a coaching business, sell eBooks, a medium-sized business, etc.

Straight off the bat we need to say that although “Growth Marketing” and “Growth Hacking” sound similar, they are not the same.

We will have a separate post about their differences, but to oversimplify we could say that “Growth Hacking” is about making short-term gains, hence the emphasis on the word “hack.”

Let’s continue with Growth Marketing for now.

5 Pillars of Growth Marketing

Growth Marketing stand on 5 pillars:

  • Product: What you sell.
  • Users: Who you sell the product to.
  • Channels: Where you reach audiences to promote your product.
  • Data Metrics: How you get insights to improve performance before, during and after the purchase.
  • Intuition: The trends, human nature, the “soft” element of business based in emotions, intuition and the non-tangible.

Growth Marketers are aware of the advantages of their product and know every single tiny details about it. 

The first priority for a Growth Marketer is to achieve product-market fit. They can then leverage small details to win over the competition, whether it is the color of a Call-to-action on the website or an extra step in the onboarding process (e.g. generating a link for affiliates commission.,)

Growth Marketers know who their audience is, they understand the needs and wants of their prospects and can categorize them into clear user personas. They know how to talk to their prospects, how to build and audience and convert visitors into buyers. They also understand pricing points and which 20% of prospect brings 80% of profits.

Growth Marketers understand the structure of sales funnels as well as in which channels they should be implemented. This comes with an understanding of markets as well.

Growth Marketers make data-driven decisions as much as possible, they run experiments, take insights from data and readjusts experiments.

Growth Marketers understand that human nature is based on the subconscious, emotions and intuition. They “see through” the trends, they have a vision that cannot necessarily be proven by data and metrics, it is rather proven by using their “gut feeling.”

Growth Marketers understand what makes products and content viral, they understand the stickiness of what they create

Growth Marketers get that a lot of traffic means a lot of leads, and that a lot of leads means a lot of sales

They build growth as part of the DNA of their service, product, communications, design and tech.

Why is Growth Marketing so Important?

Everybody that has a business wants to see the business grow and develop itself into a healthy, rich and successful entity.

Growth Marketing is important because growth is the key to success. If you do not move forward, you move backward. If you are an entrepreneur, a small business or a startup, growth will ensure your survival.

In the specific case of startups, Growth Marketing helps achieving either product/market-fit in an efficient manner or rapid growth soon after the launch of the product.

From there you can get more investment.

If you are an entrepreneur, Growth Marketing helps you grow your brand, your audience and helps you convert more people. This can help you build a small team of people that you can leverage to deliver more value to your audience.

If you are a medium-sized business or a well established corporation, growth will ensure that you provide results for the stakeholders. It can bring you a promotion and a big bonus at the end of the year if you are a Marketer, an Engineer, a Coder or a Product-person. It can also bring an acquisition of the company by a competitors that is keeping an eye on you.

Cool right?

Growth Marketing is not a one-time thing, it is a mindset that affects every action taken, every day, by pretty much everybody in the company.

The big advantage of the internet is that scaling businesses is much easier than back in the days when everything was done via brick-and-mortar stores or in offices using fax machines and landlines to communicate.

The Growth Marketing mindset means that you focus on getting as much as you can from every dollar, every minute and every action given to you.

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Growth Marketing Constraints

There are a few constraints in which Growth Marketers (and people who have a Growth Mindset) operate:

  • Limited budget
  • Short amount of time
  • Small teams
  • Low brand awareness
  • Insufficient data

Growth Marketing Strategies

Like traditional marketing, the frontlines of Growth Marketing Strategies are relatively simple:

  1. Organic (free): Content Creation and Social Media
  2. Referrals (paid in time, effort or cash): Paid referral commissions or free exposure
  3. Paid (paid in cash): Advertising

There is a vast array of strategies used by Growth Marketers:

  • Creativity, new innovative ways to promote, convert and scale
  • A/B testing, experimentation, constant iterations
  • Storytelling, virality, word-of-mouth, organic traffic
  • Affiliates and referrals programs
  • Boosting organic traffic to lower acquisition cost
  • Converting trials into paying customers
  • Upsells, cross-sells, increasing order value and lifetime value
  • Activating dormant users, reactivating old customers
  • And so on.

Growth Marketing Tactics

There are many many different tactics in Growth Marketing.

The most creative and the first to use a tactic are usually the winners when it comes to reaping the rewards.  

Examples of Growth Marketing Tactics:

  • Content-based: webinars, eBooks, podcasting, blog posts, videos, emails, SMS, etc.
  • Psychology: Social proof with NPS Scores, reviews, testimonials, gamification, fear-of-missing-out, time limit, low stock, etc.
  • Monetary: referrals commissions, discounts, free features, partnerships, resellers, etc.
  • Exposure: viral collaborations, social media exposure, guest blog posts, SEO link exchange, etc.
  • UseProof, a Social Proof software, says that ”Growth marketing is marketing 2.0. It takes the traditional marketing model and adds layers such as A/B testing, value-additive blog posts, data-driven email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization, creative ad copy, and technical analysis of every aspect of a user’s experience.”

All those elements are part of a melting pot that helps take the right decisions to bring growth.

Where does Growth Marketing come from?

The term “Growth Marketing” appeared in 2010 when Sean Ellis built the platform GrowthHackers.

The concept of Growth Marketing began when startups needed to deliver fast growth results under short timelines, limited budgets and resources. This ensured the survival of the startup and the continuity of the business.

As startups grew bigger in numbers, and some startups grew beyond their startup stage to become well-established companies, the term Growth Marketing sticked around.

Growth Marketing came to include bigger organizations that are focused on smart ways to grow fast and deliver outstanding results.

Traditional vs. Growth Marketing (hint: AAARRR)

The difference between Traditional Marketing and Growth Marketing is that the former is focused on Awareness and Acquisition and the latter includes all the “AAARRR touch-points” during the whole consumer journey: Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention and Referral.

The acronym AAARRR is also known as the “AAARRR Pirate Metrics” as we all know that pirates say “AAARRR all the time.”

  • Awareness: Data you gather before knowing who the visitor is.
  • Acquisition: The Visitor is acquired and is now a Lead.
  • Activation: The Lead is now activated and transformed into a User (paying or not.)
  • Revenue: The User pays for the service or the product and is converted into a Customer.
  • Retention: How long the Customer is “retained” by your company.
  • Referral: The referrals, paid or not, made by your Customer sharing their experience with your product/service. We could replace the word “Customer” by “Ambassador” in this case.

New Breed Marketing made a great list of all the metrics that can be used to calculate your performance at each step of the funnel. It is a good read.

Conclusion about Growth Marketing

Everybody in the organization should be into the Growth Mindset

  • PR, Product, Development, Marketing, Sales, etc.
  • CEO, CTO, CFO, CMO, etc. 


The Growth Mindset should be part of the company’s DNA right at the beginning of the business, even at the ideation stage!

Growth Marketing should be part of the company's Vision.
Do you think that our definition of Growth Marketing is accurate?

Do you have good examples of successful Growth Marketing?

What is the most efficient Growth Marketing tactical implementation you have witnessed?

Did we miss anything? Let us know below in the comments!



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About the author 

Martin Couture

I help people just like you start, grow and future-proof their online business. After years of creating digital experiences for brands like Disney, Nike, Tiffany, Fendi, BMW, Mercedes... I decided to start blogging and making niche websites. Now, I want to help you achieve what I have achieved. I worked at the 2 biggest independent agencies in the world: Wieden+Kennedy and Serviceplan. Martin Couture is Content Marketing Consultant at the Art of Growth Marketing.

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