If you work in a startup or a company that wants to improve its growth, you surely have already heard about growth marketing. Considered by many as the magic ingredient for business success, its contours remain unclear for a majority of marketing professionals.

What is growth marketing? How do you implement it? What are the essential steps of an effective growth strategy? What are the best success stories in the Growth world?

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Growth Marketing!

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth Marketing encompasses all the techniques intrinsic to web marketing that combine data exploitation and acquisition methods inherited from the tech and sales worlds.

It is the exploitation of this data that will allow the company that implements a Growth strategy to improve its growth quickly and sustainably.

The term Growth marketing was born in 2010 under the impulse of Sean Ellis and in the first form of “Growth Hacking” when he was working for Dropbox. Most of his activities were developing the customer base.

Feeling too locked in by the generic term “marketing”, he decided to totally rebrand his business. The term Growth Hacker was born.

As soon as he left Dropbox, Silicon Valley was in a frenzy over his audacity and how Sean Ellis multiplied the contracts of his former employer. Today, Growth Hacking still enjoys the same mystical aura.

Some people see it as a magical recipe to develop their business in no time. Others see it as a borderline legal activity, consisting in exploiting thousands of email addresses collected without agreement.

In the following article, we’ll explain what it really is.

What is the difference between Growth Marketing and Growth Hacking?

While there is a fine line between the two terms, there are some small differences between Growth Hacker and Growth Marketer.

As the years go by, it is simply a logical evolution of the term shaped by the years and the business specification. In the 2010s, the phrases were just born and still confined to a niche of marketing gurus. Its definition remained obscure.

Nowadays, Growth Hacking has become one of the most important jobs for any startup looking for growth. The term now preferred is Growth Marketing, a more global name.

To simplify things a bit, we can note the following differences:

  • A growth hacker advocates rapid growth using tricks that can be deployed quickly. They sometimes use unconventional techniques like wild data scrapping.
  • A growth marketer tends to rely on a long-term and scalable strategy, mixing inbound marketing and growth hacking. They combine quickly acquired results with advanced data analysis. All of the strategies are GDPR-friendly certified.
  • To accompany growth marketers and growth hackers, companies also hire growth engineers. They are at the border of IT and Marketing. Essentially their job is to code the most advanced requests from their marketing colleagues to avoid going through the technical department.

In any case, these three names come together under the same banner: Growth.

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What are the challenges of Growth Marketing?

Concretely, Growth Marketing contributes to accelerating the growth of your product or your company.

Here are the most common issues pursued by Growth:

  • To considerably increase the organic traffic on your website or a dedicated page (landing page).
  • Accelerate downloads of your ebooks or other key resources for your lead generation process.
  • Increase the number of subscriptions to your newsletter.
  • Develop your presence on your social networks.
  • Engage your visitors throughout your conversion funnel and develop your click-through rate.
  • Develop targeted partnerships to boost your brand awareness.

As you’ve probably noticed, Growth Marketing is far from stopping at these simple acquisition mechanisms.

To implement an effective growth marketing strategy, it is necessary to combine several actions. We detail them below.

How to do Growth Marketing?

Let’s be clear from the start: Growth Marketing is absolutely useless if you don’t know how to optimize it beforehand. Increasing the audience of your website without having quality content or a good conversion funnel to retain them is like a sword stabbing the water.

Indeed, the Growth business requires a precise methodology, borrowing methods, and tools from the world of sales prospecting and IT. To implement an effective strategy, it is therefore essential to rely on a proven framework. Without having first modeled the experience and behavior of your customers and leads on your platform, you are likely to run straight into a wall.

The easiest (and most common) way is to rely on the AARRR method (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referrals, Revenue).

Acquisition

It is imperative to identify all the entry points and channels that will allow you to gain awareness, traffic, downloads, or direct sales.

Some of these channels include:

  • social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…)
  • organic traffic acquisition (content marketing & SEO)
  • press relations
  • email prospecting
  • display ads
  • main referral sites (forum, comparator, etc…)
  • Search Engine Acquisition (SEA)

Beyond identifying the sources necessary to deploy your activity, you also need to set up some key performance indicators (the famous KPIs):

  • Acquisition cost per channel: This is the amount you will spend to accomplish a specific action (a purchase, a visit to your site, a video view, an ebook, or an app download…). Don’t forget to include the time spent by your teams (in creative, copywriting, development) and technical costs.
  • Conversion rate: As the most important statistic, knowing and tracking it is key to your success. The lower it is, the less adapted your lead generation strategy is.

Once you’ve managed to define your channels and dedicated expenses, it’s time to move on to the second phase: activation.

Activation

This is the time to showcase the work you have done to sell your product. This phase must induce your prospect to take action. If you have put all the necessary efforts into content marketing, user experience, and web development, it’s already nearly done.

Your potential customer will find it easier to click on your call-to-action and convert. According to a Zendesk study, 75% of customers say they are willing to spend more on the same product if a company provides a quality experience.

The happier a customer is, the more likely they are to trust and return to your site or product. This is called retention.

Retention

A good prospect is one who stays on your site for a long time and comes back frequently.

To constantly renew their interest, growth marketers must find the best way to stimulate their curiosity. There are several possibilities including:

  • Exclusive promotions or content.
  • New features.
  • Site updates.
  • A loyalty system.

The recommendation

Many growth or web marketing agencies have probably already tried to convince you to get brand ambassadors. They are right.

ambassador

Be careful though, we’re not talking about a celebrity or an influencer who is paid a lot of money. Often, your best ambassador is one of your customers.

The more a customer talks about you, the more credibility your company or your product will gain. To develop it, there are some basic solutions:

  • Sponsorship offers: Who has never opened a bank account just to benefit from X€ offered from its activation?
  • Competitions: Invite 3 friends and multiply your chances by 945 to win (although this is rarely verifiable).
  • User reviews (Google, Trustpilot…): Most often these days we choose a restaurant or activity based on its reviews rather than its menu or content.
  • Social networks: User-Generated Content is a free and valuable source of visibility.

To measure the success of your business, you can rely on its virality potential, also called K-factor. The higher its coefficient, the more profitable your product will be.

Revenue

When we talk about income, we are not necessarily talking about money (well, mostly we do, I can assure you).

The income expresses all the indicators that you will use to evaluate the performance of your campaign. It can be the turnover, obviously, but also the growth of a social media account, the number of subscriptions to a newsletter, the number of app downloads, etc.

To exponentially increase your results, it is essential to:

  • Lower your acquisition costs.
  • Improve the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The longer a customer stays on your site, the more business you will easily generate. On average, retaining an existing customer costs 6 to 7 times less than acquiring a new one.
  • Optimize your pricing: Surprisingly, increasing the cost of your products can sometimes bring you more customers. Not least because you will have succeeded in justifying your added value vis-à-vis the competition. It’s up to you to find the right balance in your business model, between free, freemium, or premium.


With the AARRR method, there is nothing to stop you from being a successful growth hacker. Except maybe the lack of inspiration.

As mentioned, growth marketing is not new. Some companies, today indisputable, have even distinguished themselves in the field. If they were able to perform so quickly, it’s thanks to their ability to find extremely simple hacks that no one had thought of.

That’s the beauty of growth marketing: finding the idea before anyone else.

Spotify

This is one of my favorite hacks, as it is very user experience-focused. Every year, around Christmas time, Spotify offers its users to browse their music retrospective. It’s become a staple for audiophiles around the world who flock to Instagram to share their music roundup of the year.

By accurately mining user data (number of minutes spent on the app, favorite artist, % listening to an artist, etc.), Spotify has managed to significantly enrich the user experience.

The effect is undeniable. In 2020, the number of downloads of the app jumped by 20% in December. The Swedish giant’s data-driven strategy has also led to some excellent international poster campaigns like this one.

Campagne d’affichage Spotify - ©Medium
Spotify poster campaign – ©Medium

Dropbox

Of course, the company where the inventor of Growth Hacking worked had to be part of our article.

Dropbox relied on gamification by adding a playful aspect to its referral mechanism. For each action performed, the user unlocked an additional free storage capacity.

Stratégie Growth Hacking de Dropbox © GrowForce
Dropbox’s Growth Hacking strategy © GrowForce

Airbnb

Rather than engage in a no-holds-barred war with their main competitor in the US market, Craigslist, they decided to take advantage of it.

With a one-click button, users had the opportunity to list their accommodations on both Airbnb and Craigslist. At the same time, their teams contacted the top accommodations on Craigslist to offer them a listing on their platform.

Stratégie Growth Hacking de Airbnb - ©GrowForce
Airbnb’s Growth Hacking strategy – ©GrowForce

Extra hack: To boost the credibility and attractiveness of the proposed accommodations, the booking platform simply sent professional photographers to some of their customers’ homes.

Twitter

Originally, Twitter was not the success story we all know today. When the platform’s attractiveness was important, its retention rate was almost null.

This was due to the fact that the users’ news feed was almost empty. Nobody wanted to stay on an application that offered no content or interaction. So the growth teams thought of a radical but effective solution: Encourage their users to follow several accounts and interests as soon as they sign up.

Growth technique by Twitter – ©Twitter

As you can see, the growth marketing methods are endless, as long as you find the spark that will set the world on fire.

However, some well-established techniques continue to prove themselves. Whether it’s by prospecting on LinkedIn, by email, or via Twitter, you can still stand out from the competition, as long as you do it right.

LGM: The perfect tool to automate your Growth process

Once you have identified your prospects and figured out how to set up your AARRR framework, you just have to launch the machine. Doing it blindly is a very dangerous operation that will cost you more time and money than equipping yourself with the right tools.

LaGrowthMachine is a platform that allows you to optimize your lead generation strategy.

After collecting enough data, you can create your multi-channel and automated campaigns and then analyze their results. Program your prospecting scenarios, boost your response rate, and let the machine run while you focus on what matters: closing deals.

The results are clear. By using LaGrowthMachine:

  • you will multiply by 3.5 the response rate of your prospects vs a classic outreach strategy.
  • you will save 40% of your time usually spent on repetitive tasks.

It’s that simple. A company that does not automate its prospecting tasks is a company that does not give itself the means to succeed.

Get 3.5X more leads!

Are you looking to improve your sales department’s efficiency? LaGrowthMachine allows you to generate an average of 3.5x more leads, while saving an incredible amount of time on all your processes. By signing up today, you get a free 14-day trial period to test our tool!

Try LGM for free