The term “growth marketing” may seem, at first glance, redundant. After all, why do companies market if not for growth? What is the difference between “growth marketing” and “just marketing?” Confusion is understandable.
Think about it almost like being married. On a wedding day, two people get married: the event happens, their identity is affected, and their lives are changed. But marriage, while it starts there, is about so much more.
You will spend a lifetime learning the other person’s needs and desires. You will invest time in building a relationship with them. You will change and they will change.
Now, all analogies fall apart at some point, so don’t take it too seriously, but with that framework, you can see why growth marketing is so crucial for businesses in 2022. In crowded markets, it’s important to make the best of every asset you have—including a loyal customer base. Growth marketing is how you do that.
Let’s dig in.
Growth Marketing and The Funnel
The marketing funnel is a concept that allows marketers to envision their audience in a series of narrowing qualifiers.
#1 Top of funnel (TOF/ToFu)
At the very top of the funnel are people who aren’t yet customers. Your marketing is making them aware of your business’ existence and niche in the market. This is where your audience is the widest: there will always be people who don’t know much about you.
Traditional marketing focuses nearly exclusively on audiences at this level of the funnel. Displays in shop windows, billboards off the highway, magazine ads, and mailings direct to your house are all intended to grab the attention of potential customers and convert that attention into a visit to their website, for example. Traditional, TOF-focused marketing doesn’t necessarily concern itself with what happens to customers after this point.
#2 Middle of funnel (MOF/MoFu)
Growth marketing really differentiates itself from traditional marketing as you move through the funnel. MOF marketing is targeted to audiences who have shown interest in you.
In this region of the marketing funnel, brands would use growth marketing strategies to educate and nurture the leads toward an informed sale. You already have your audience’s attention from TOF, so this is where you work to make sure you don’t lose it. The MOF is where the actual sale takes place!
#3 Bottom of funnel (BOF/BoFu)
The ultimate goal of growth marketing is getting down to the BOF. Not only do you have the attention of your audience, you’ve converted the clicks into an informed customer, and now you want that customer to come back to purchase from you again.
Even better, you want them to become their own sort of walking, talking TOF advertisement through word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations. Fealty is probably the key indicator of any relationship: if you’ve built a solid relationship with your customer, they will be loyal to you and talk you up to their friends.
The role of growth marketing
So how does growth marketing work when it comes to the product marketing funnel? A growth strategy in marketing is focused on moving the audience through the funnel using both responsive and proactive techniques.
Sometimes, these techniques might seem like throwing a bunch of paint against the wall and hoping it sticks. It might be like throwing stuff against a wall, but maybe more like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it’s done: it still looks chaotic, but at least it’s purposeful.
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Growth Marketing Techniques
We all know that having a purpose isn’t enough. You can want to accomplish something and go about it entirely in the wrong way. That’s why it’s super important to take a look at your goals and attack them with the right technique for the job. In this blog, we’ll talk about the top ones.
#1 A/B/even C testing
Have no fear: this is not some kind of weird spelling test. Instead, it’s when you run ads that are similar in most, but not all ways, to compare stats and then draw conclusions. For example, the same copy but a different graphic, or the same ad but different geographic locations.
Comparing the data with each variable change allows you to fine-tune a strategy that works best for your leads at any given point in the funnel. This experimentation is a perfect example of that spaghetti-throwing we were talking about: it might seem strange, but you gotta get that marketing strategy perfectly al dente. And what better way to do that than testing and comparing what works??
#2 Research and adaptation
Research doesn’t have to stay limited to your own company’s marketing. Taking notes on competitor strategies, industry trends, and general customer preferences—and then acting on those observations—is a good way to make sure you’re not losing your touch.
For example, maybe your industry is finding a lot of success with influencer marketing. If you’re not paying attention, by the time you’re bringing on an influencer, the rest of your market may have moved on. Staying engaged with what’s going on in your corner of the market will help you be an innovative leader.
#3 Cross-channel marketing
You might currently only be marketing on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok or…you get the point. Instead, create campaigns for each platform that develops holistic profiles of your customer base.
What works on one channel might not work on another, so create a plan for each that meets your goals based on the data you collect. Also keep in mind that different channels tend to work better at different points in that funnel. For example, Facebook Ads is perfect for TOF marketing, but when you’re working on your folks in the MOF, email or even a SMS/texting service might capture them better.
How to Be a Good Growth Marketer
Whether you’re looking to take this on yourself, hire a staff member to head up efforts, or even bring in a social media agency like Sociallyin, you want to make sure you’ve got the right person for the job.
Being willing to try new things, experiment, and admit when something isn’t working is a lot harder than it sounds. It often ties into humility. As you work on your growth marketing strategy, you need your team to be adaptive and flexible.
That’s not to say that if you have a good strategy underway you should always be second-guessing yourself. Feel free to be confident in the attack you’re taking, but always be willing to hear other ideas and test them in the future.
Growth marketers need to make decisions from an informed place. Even as you are testing different ideas and trying new things, remember that “gut feelings” aren’t your benchmarks—you need data.
Use your analytics tools to gauge the results of every digital marketing decision you make (like click-through rate, engagements, email sign-ups, etc.) and compare them against your goals for that campaign and what part of the funnel you’re targeting.
The primary job of someone in growth marketing is to be creative and then measure the results. We’ve just talked about that results piece, but we can’t underplay the importance of creativity and expertise when it comes to growth marketing.
A growth marketing lead may not be the ones spending hours in the Adobe Creative Suite or wrestling over phrasing—if you’re in a position to have a full marketing department, you probably have designers and copywriters for that. But growth marketers need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of principles at every level of the marketing process.
For example, growth marketers need to know if what they want to try is possible. If they envision some sort of elaborate photo shoot for creatives and it’s just not feasible, the whole team could become frustrated. They also need to be able to step in and help with last-minute changes. If the copy says something that suddenly becomes inappropriate due to a newsworthy event, for example, the growth marketer may need to step in and be the one to immediately redirect without missing a beat…or a comma.
What are growth marketing strategies?
A: Growth marketing strategies are the tactics you implement to market to everyone in your marketing funnel. Think of it like a road map or a blueprint, almost: it’s the plan you set for how to market and remarket to the same people as they progress from the awareness stage to the sale and then to the loyalty and referral stages of their relationship with your business.
I need to know how to calculate market growth rate. Can you help me?
Market growth rate and growth marketing are two different areas of marketing. The market growth rate is how much more of the market your business is capturing now than in the past, expressed as a percentage. There’s a lot more to be said about this, but here’s a quick formula to get you started:
Subtract the market size for year one from the market size for year two. Divide the result by the market size for year one and multiply by 100 to convert it to a percentage.
I need to know how to be a growth marketer. Where do I start?
This article is a great place to start. Working on developing the personal skills you need to be a good growth marketer like open-mindedness, creativity, and being driven by data is a good idea, too. Research what other growth marketers are up to, take some design classes, dust off that old writing textbook from college, and learn how to interpret insights and analytics. You got this!
Neither marriage nor growth marketing is a Crock Pot dinner—you can’t “set it and forget it.” Building relationships with people in any capacity requires involvement, and that remains true when those relationships are with customers you’ll never meet or see in person.
But just like all the best things in life, that investment will pay off.
If you would like to get started with growth marketing but aren’t completely sure where to start, our team here at Sociallyin would love to help. Our paid ads, community management, and creative teams get results. Send us an inquiry today!