What Is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing involves creating and performing experiments to attract, engage, and retain customers in your target area. No matter what metric you’re looking to improve, growth marketing is a strategy that can help you achieve your goals.

Growth marketers look for business areas to test and improve upon, conducting experiments to optimize these processes. After completing an experiment, the results are analyzed, and more experiments are carried out if necessary.

As it uses the scientific method, growth marketing is an analytic and data-focused function, making it less creative than a traditional marketing strategy. As many experiments tend to fail, growth marketers need to have a high tolerance for failure and be ready to try other options quickly.

In the last few years, growth marketing has redefined how the marketing function is perceived in many organizations. Instead of focusing on the top of the sales funnel, growth marketing goes beyond acquiring customers in the short term by engaging and retaining those customers well into the future.

Looking at the entire customer life cycle gives growth marketers deeper insight into their customers, paving the way for higher customer engagement and greater returns. It is the next generation of marketing, taking the traditional model and adding processes such as A/B testing, email marketing, SEO optimization, and value-adding blog posts.

When it comes to growing your business, retaining existing customers is just as important as acquiring new ones. Growth marketers take the insights from their experiments and develop robust and sustainable growth for your company.

What Makes Growth Marketing Different From Traditional Marketing?




Traditional Marketing

  • Uses media to deliver results
  • Focuses on the top of the funnel (short-term)
  • Often will “maintain” a channel (i.e., social media accounts)
  • Cares more about polish than impact

Growth Marketing

  • Looks at the entire customer life cycle
  • Measurable results
  • Ability to incrementally learn & improve
  • Lots of failed experiments / trial & error

Traditional marketing looks at the top of the sales funnel, usually relying on activities that result in short-term wins. On the other hand, growth marketing focuses on the whole funnel from top to bottom, following customers through the entire life cycle.

While traditional marketing can deliver results through media and creative campaigns, these “set it and forget it” strategies can only go so far. Once the marketing budget has been spent, businesses can only hope for the best as they wait for customers to come to them.

Traditional marketing strategies such as displays, Google Adwords, and basic ad copy can help build brand awareness and user acquisition, but this is where the value typically ends. Growth marketing can be used to create ongoing connections with customers, creating opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible before.

By looking at the bigger picture, growth marketers add value by attracting, engaging, and retaining valuable customers. When done correctly, these customers will become brand ambassadors who recommend your products and services to others.

Growth marketers carry out experiments at every stage of the sales funnel, working closely with other departments in order to gain better insights. They take advantage of data to shape strategy, try new experiments, and quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.

Growth marketing can often feel like a random and unpredictable process, similar to throwing things at a wall to see what sticks. However, it is worth it for the measurable results it offers, allowing your business to learn and improve incrementally towards sustainable growth.

What Makes Growth Marketing Different From Growth Hacking?




Growth Marketing

  • Thinks in growth loops
  • Builds systems
  • Works across & with other teams
  • Larger budget
  • More time-consuming

Growth Hacking

  • Smaller budget
  • Focus on speed and quick results
  • Frail, short-term
  • Doesn’t think in systems
  • Can be customer hostile

You may be familiar with the buzzword “growth hacking,” which has become popular in recent years. In reality, growth hacking doesn’t involve any real “hacking” but instead focuses on data-driven optimization. While “growth hacking” and “growth marketing” are often used interchangeably, there are some important differences between these roles that are worth mentioning. 

Growth hackers are similar to consultants who are tasked with solving a specific problem as quickly as possible. They are brought in - usually on a small budget - to discover creative solutions to difficult problems. When it comes to growth hacking, speed is the most important factor, as businesses often need problems solved fast.

On the other hand, growth marketers take a longer-term, more sustainable approach. They strategize how to scale growth metrics across all business areas in a sustainable way. An effective growth marketing strategy takes the best aspects of growth hacking and builds it into a sustainable process for the long term.

In this way, growth hacking is similar to day trading on the stock market. While money can be made this way, it is certainly not a sustainable income source for the long term. Growth marketing is more like long-term investing, as it’s based on data and metrics that are constantly being optimized for future growth.

What Makes A Successful Growth Marketer?


In the world of marketing, decision-making based on gut feeling is now a thing of the past. So are decisions based on the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) strategy.

Growth marketers dive deep into data to determine what strategies work and which need to be left behind. They are also comfortable with the variety of tools required to perform detailed data analysis.


The most successful growth marketers are able to think on their feet in creative ways. They are willing to try things that have never been done before and aren’t deterred by the fact that they might fail.

For example, when Airbnb was first starting out, they came up with the idea to offer professional photography services to every listing free of charge. While some thought this was absurd, it turned out to be a successful strategy for driving early growth in the service.


In the sales world, it is commonly said that you can’t sell a product if you don’t understand it. This rule also applies to growth marketers as they too are in the business of selling and converting customers.

While growth marketers shouldn’t aim to trick people into buying a product or service, they should be able to communicate the benefits and value of your brand clearly and honestly believe that it will help people.

Hacker Mindset

Growth marketers need to have a varied skill set in order to be successful. A typical day could include creating video content, optimizing ad copy, conducting A/B testing, and even basic coding.

The more skills that growth marketers have, the more clever and creative ways they have to add value to an organization. This is similar to the hacker mindset, where thinking outside the box can help solve everyday problems.

High Risk Tolerance

The most successful growth marketers understand that failure is a good thing. In fact, failed experiments often lead to discovering valuable information that leads to future success.

The truth is that no one can see the future, so growth marketers have to be open to trying anything and everything to see what works and what doesn’t. Having a high tolerance for failure means growth marketers will stumble upon things that succeed more quickly.

Knows How to Tell a Story

While growth marketers know how to gather and analyze useful and actionable data, it won’t matter unless it leads to meaningful connections with users. This is done by turning that data into a compelling story that resonates with potential customers.

One of the most famous examples of this is Nike, with their long-running “Just Do It” campaign extending beyond their products and into a motivating message for their entire brand. 

Can Juggle Multiple Responsibilities

Effective growth marketers need to be able to handle multiple responsibilities that often seem contradictory. They need to focus on details while also looking at the big picture. They also need to be results-driven but be comfortable when experiments fail to deliver results.

What Tools Do Successful Growth Marketers Use?


Even if you are collecting data from different touchpoints on your website, marketing campaigns, and mobile apps, it won’t do you any good unless you can gain valuable insights from it. Amplitude gives you the ability to connect your data with real people, helping you gain valuable customer knowledge.

It also contains growth tools for setting product strategy, improving user engagement, driving revenue, and optimizing customer conversations. You can also see who is in each step of your sales funnel, allowing you to reach out in more meaningful and engaging ways.


CrazyEgg is an A/B testing and heatmap application developed by marketing influencer Neil Patel. Its set of tools allow you to quickly test what works and doesn’t work well on your web pages.

It also shows you how users are behaving on your website, including what links they’re clicking, when they stop reading, and how different market segments behave differently. This saves you the time of having to run dozens of A/B tests to determine similar information.


Optimizely is an A/B testing tool that helps you determine which version of your website converts more users. It is the world’s leading experimentation platform which is trusted by large companies such as IBM and American Express.

Their testing engine allows you to run experiments, verify hypotheses, and implement changes that lead to measurable and sustainable growth. By making A/B testing easier, Optimizely helps you increase engagement and customer conversations on your website, all while tracking key metrics so you know how your changes are performing.

VWO (Visual Website Optimizer)

Similar to Optimizely, VWO simplifies the A/B testing process so you can run tests on your website without coding knowledge. You can set conversion goals for each A/B test, so you know which version of your website performs best, and split URL testing allows you to test different versions of your landing page.

It is a fully-featured, enterprise-grade solution that can help growth marketers with A/B tests and conversion rate experiments on company websites. It is used by over 4,500 brands, including eBay, Target, and Virgin.


Zapier is an essential tool for any growth marketer, helping you connect over 1,000 marketing tools with powerful automation. The ability to connect normally unrelated services can easily automate functions that may have seemed impossible before.

For example, you can set Zapier to create a new Salesforce lead when a user fills out a form on your website or automatically add them to your email list with Mailchimp. This allows you to automate tasks that would typically require a developer, all within a matter of minutes.


Typeform is an online survey tool that makes it easy to launch well-design forms and surveys for gathering information from your users. You can add Typeforms to any page on your website and use them to gather anything from NPS to product feedback.

Their online surveys are modern, intuitive, and engaging, providing a fun and interactive way for customers to answer your questions. They can help turn customers into brand ambassadors, gain valuable customer insights, and discover hidden trends and patterns.


Customer.io is an automated messaging platform designed for sending targeted emails, SMS messages, and push notifications to your customers. These targeted messages can be sent to current or potential customers based on what they do or don’t do on your website or mobile app.

It is a powerful automation tool with an intuitive, rules-based workflow builder and a drag-and-drop HTML editor. It also offers detailed reporting and A/B testing capabilities, allowing you to track conversions that are triggered by your messages.


HubSpot is a popular marketing software application for managing your inbound marketing strategy. With a wide array of features such as CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing, it helps your business get real results by bringing your entire marketing funnel together in one place.

Having so many tools in one location can be useful as it reduces the number of touchpoints required to get a clear picture of your marketing strategy. HubSpot can manage your company blog, social media, landing pages, and more, all while providing great customer support when needed.

Sumo List Builder

Sumo List Builder, previously known as SumoMe, is one of the most recognized tools in the growth marketing space. It allows you to insert banners, pop-ups, or toolbars on your website in order to capture more email subscribers.

As a growth marketer, one of your main concerns is driving traffic to your website and making sure it converts. Sumo List Builder helps you achieve this goal by capturing emails in an unobtrusive way, ensuring your hard-earned traffic isn’t going to waste.


There are times when you want to contact someone, but you can’t find that person’s email address. Fortunately, Hunter.io is one of the many tools available online to retrieve someone’s email.

Whether you’re looking to contact someone at a company for a sales pitch or think someone might be receptive to your sales email, Hunter.io can help you identify their email address in a matter of seconds. Even if it can’t find the specific email you’re looking for, it will let you know the email pattern most common for that company (i.e., firstname.lastname@company.com).


Whenever you have tasks that you can’t automate with other growth marketing tools, you can use freelancing websites like Fiverr to get them done for you. Fiverr connects you with freelancers from around the world for pretty much anything you need to be done.

As a growth marketer, you already have a lot on your plate, so it’s important you spend your time where it’s most valuable. Outsourcing with Fiverr can be an effective way to cross tasks off your to-do list, taking advantage of freelancers to handle certain work systems and templates.


Clearbit provides a way to “de-anonimize” your user data, allowing you to learn more about your leads and current customers. With this information, you can enrich the content on your website to meet your customers’ wants and needs better.

When you provide Clearbit’s API with an email or IP address, it gives you a wide array of demographic and firmographic data related to the business. It can also pipe this data to your website in real-time.


Hotjar is a heat-mapping tool that provides insights into user behavior on your website. It offers a plethora of growth tools so you can gather quantitative and qualitative data on how users are interacting with your brand.

Hotjar’s features include heatmaps, surveys, feedback polls, conversion funnels, and session recordings. These tools allow growth marketers to gather and analyze data for any experiments they may be running.


Drift is one of the pioneers when it comes to conversation-based marketing, with over 100,000 customers around the world. It is a revenue acceleration platform designed to help convert traffic on your website. Tools include account-based marketing campaigns, email sequences, videos, and meeting scheduling.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager gives growth marketers the capabilities of a developer without the need for coding skills. After installing GTM, you can install tools into the code of your website or send user data automatically to Google Analytics.

Even if you have some technical knowledge, you may run into situations where you have to launch a script on a webpage but don’t know how to do so quickly. GTM allows you to add scripts you want to test on your page with ease, and if you make a mistake, you can quickly revert to a previous version.

What Metrics Matter To Growth Marketers?

Organic traffic

This refers to visitors of your website that arrive “organically” through a link in their search results. The best way to maximize organic traffic is to share quality content with other websites and produce search engine optimized (SEO) content.

Paid traffic

This is any traffic that arrives at your website via your advertising channels. This can be optimized by monitoring how much you spend on advertising, the number of impressions your ads generate, and your cost per acquisition (CPA).

Referral traffic

These are the users that do not arrive at your website from a major search engine or advertisement. This can include traffic from social media and other websites that are linking to your content.

Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is an important metric to monitor as it lets you know how relevant your content or landing page is to your visitors. Reducing your bounce rate involves knowing where your users are coming from, what they’re clicking on, and how long they’re spending on your website.

Conversion rate

Not only should you be paying attention to your overall conversion rate, but those of your individual channels as well. Extra attention should be spent on any pages with significantly lower conversion rates than other parts of your website.

Landing page conversion rate

The conversion rate of your landing page is especially important as this is where visitors create their first impression of your brand. This can be optimized by tinkering with the design, copy, and layout of your landing page. Short, punchy headlines have been proven to work best here.

Blog/email subscribers

The best way to gain subscribers is to produce compelling, quality content that your users will actually want to read. When your content starts grabbing people’s attention, make sure it drives your audience towards desirable outcomes.


Your churn rate is the percentage of customers who enroll in your service and then stop using it. This is a particularly important metric for SaaS companies as a high churn rate is the enemy of sustainable growth.

Average order value

When your users decide to make a purchase, you want the order to be as large as possible. The best ways to increase average order value include bundling, upselling, and recommending products based on previous purchases.

Lifetime value

Once your business starts to develop regular customers, you can work to maximize their value for the long term. Strategies include conducting user surveys, adding requested features to your service, or offering a premium tier of customer support.