The top 7 things people won’t tell you about Growth Marketing [A Review]


“Growth marketer at XYZ”

“I lead growth marketing at XYZ”

“growth marketer enthusiast”

When I first came across the term growth marketing I was confused. It felt as though it was one of those cheesy terms that is coined up to make something mundane sound great. But I was intrigued and more than that one of my most admired companies in the world Shopify has an entire team dedicated to it – so that’s when I knew I had to know everything there is about growth marketing.

I quickly researched it online and signed up for a growth marketing mini-degree program at CXL. So you’ll be seeing a series of review of some of the key lessons that I’ve been learning in the class. You’ll learn 10 key things about growth marketing in this post:

#1 What in the world is growth marketing?

Growth marketing is a series of mini experimentation that you do that will eventually lead you to achieve your business goals e.g customer acquisition, retention or referrals. In some ways, you could say it’s “growth hacking” or  “marketing science”.

Another way to look at growth marketing is applying “lean methodology” to marketing. Where we create a hypothesis, design an experiment, and repeat the process till we achieve a desired goal

#2 How is growth marketing different than traditional marketing?

There are two key differences between growth marketing and traditional marketing:

  • Focus
  • Philosophy

comparison growth marketing and traditional marketing

Traditional marketing focuses on the top of funnel process e.g. generating leads or awareness while growth marketing focuses on everything end to end throughout the funnel. Traditional marketing emphasizes the “get it right as close as possible” attitude while growth marketing emphasizes “get it experimented quickly” mentality to marketing.


#3 Growth marketing is all about experimenting

Growth marketing takes incremental approach to solving a problem.

There are three levels of experimentation:

  1. Level 1: Action
  2. Level 2: Fine tuning
  3. Level 3: Customizing

For example, say you want to increase customer purchase rate by sending them email every two days. Your hypothesis is: if send customer emails, then purchase rate goes up.


This is how your experimentation design will look like:


stages of experimentation and design


Notice there are three stages of experimentation:

  1. Level 1: If sending an email will even increase purchase
  2. Level 2: If yes it increases, then will sending specific messages improve further conversion
  3. Level 3: If yes it does, then does specific messages to specific people further increases conversion


#4: Successful growth marketers are T shaped

There are three key skills any growth marketers will need to excel in this field:

  1. Channel specific specialty
  2. Analytical skills
  3. Strategic thinking

Channel specific specialty – do you know how channels e.g Facebook, Instagram, google search, paid ads, SEO or etc work? If so do you understand what products fits which product? Do you know how to use these channels to make your product or services visible?

Analytical skills – do you understand how numbers connect to a narrative? Can you ask the right questions and use data to answer them? Also, are you a pivot guru?

Strategic thinking -  can you think of the “big picture” of the project you’re working on? And work across team and see how their inputs fit into the big narrative?


#5 To Drive Growth you need to know your metric

To drive meaningful growth you need to pick metrics that make sense and can guide you to begin experimenting. In summary, look at the AARRR model for inspiration:

AARRR framework

Here are examples of metrics you could use:

Acquisition – cost per acquisition or cost per click when you run an Instagram ad

Activation – percentage of people who sign up for your newsletter and actually buy your product from it

Retention – percentage of people who come back after buying from you

Referral – percentage of people who refer you to other people once they’ve bought from you

Revenue – average purchase size, average revenue per-customer


#6 Prioritization is key to drive results

When you’re a growth marketer, you’ll start developing tons of hypothesis but truth to be told you’ll likely not be able to test and try all of them. Resources and time is limited, so how do you pick what you should focus on?

Use the I-C-E framework to rank and prioritize your experiments:


ICE Framework for growth marketing

I: Impact – how big is the impact of this project? Will it affect 10% of the population of subscribers or will it impact 100% of the population?

C: Confidence – how confident are you this experiment will yield results? Has it been done before? Will it work? Has anyone else done it?

E: Ease of implementation – how much man hour will this take? How much will it cost? Is it going to be worth it?

Ranking your hypothesis through these prioritization will help you pick high value projects that will drive return on investments on your projects


# 7 Nail your experimentation process

There are essentially 7 steps to designing your experiment to test possible growth hypothesis:


  1. Define a goal – what is going to be your goal? Increase in customer acquisition? Increase in sales? Increase in new visits to your site?
  2. Develop a series of hypothesis – what are some possible drivers to achieve your goals? Will sending emails every week increase sales? Will using video ads increase conversion? Will writing a blog every week increase SEO ranking?
  3. Prioritize your hypothesis using ICE framework - of all your hypothesis what is likely to be impactful, probable, and easy to implement. Ranking them by this method will help you gain some clarify and focus your effort
  4. Design the experiment: As any other experiment, you’ll need a dependent variable, and independent variable to test. For example, if you’re going to test for emails increase sales then split your customers into two groups one that will receive emails vs one that doesn’t. This technique is called “A/B testing”
  5. Measure results – once your experiment has been done, collect results and analyze it. Did it achieve it’s intended objective?
  6. Repeat – well the reality is, you won’t, and shouldn’t it get right the first time. Repeat, repeat and repeat your experimentation until your satisfied with your results

That’s all for now, remember growth marketing is being a mini scientist who wants to apply a structured experimentation mindset to marketing to yield results like no other.

It’s not about getting it right the first time, it’s getting it right as you go along – which in turn gives you opportunity to test and try things outside of the conventional thinking. So what are you waiting for? Time to hack the life out your marketing!


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