Growth marketing is used by some of the fastest growing startups in the world. Learn what it is and how you can apply the principles to grow your own small business.
Have you ever wondered how some of those Silicon Valley startups can grow their businesses so fast? The answer is – in part – growth marketing.
To dig deeper, let’s look at what growth marketing is, how to know which ideas are worth pursuing, and why it’s a strategy that can help your business improve its results.
What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing is becoming more and more popular – but what exactly is it? The best way to answer this is to look at how it differs from traditional marketing.
Growth marketing doesn’t just focus on specific marketing channels – it involves strategies and tactics all the way through the sales funnel. It’s about breaking down and removing the boundaries of marketing in order to attract more engaged customers.
It’s best to think of growth marketing as a longer-term strategy that incorporates elements of growth hacking – such as quick experimentation across marketing channels and other areas (e.g. web design, product development, and sales) – in order to find more effective ways to grow a business.
Unlike traditional marketing, growth marketing focuses on (and prioritises) the metrics and tasks that truly matter – at all stages of a product’s lifecycle. It’s about making specific and data-driven decisions, instead of just focusing on brand awareness and reputation.
Growth marketing also uses low-cost channels, as opposed to conventional media such as paid advertising. With clearly defined funnels and objectives, it takes out a lot of the guesswork inherent in traditional marketing.
Ultimately, growth marketing is about focusing on what customers actually want – not what you want them to want.
The ICE spreadsheet
Let’s say your team has come up with a list of growth ideas. You’ve broken these down into how they’ll work, as well as the data you’ll need to show this. But how do you narrow this list down to test just one or two ideas?
This is where the ICE spreadsheet comes in. ICE stands for impact, confidence and ease. Let’s take a closer look.
If the idea works, what is the impact it could have on your business? Give a ranking from zero to 10, using your best judgement and quantitative metrics.
How confident are you that this idea will work? If other companies have had success with your idea – rank it highly. If it’s an idea that hasn’t been tested before, rank its confidence score lower.
This is about what you’ll need to implement the idea. What resources and tools will you need? What professionals will have to come on board? The more complicated an idea is to implement, the lower it should score.
Ultimately, ICE is a simple and handy method to use for ranking your growth ideas – and prioritising the few that are actually worth running.
A growth marketing example
A good example of growth marketing is something called a viral loop. It’s a strategy that has helped big names such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Uber achieve incredible success. But how do they work?
A viral loop is a marketing method in which your current users/customers invite your next set of users/customers. Effectively, it’s a way of turning your app or product into its own user/customer-generator.
For example, Dropbox’s “refer a friend, and you both get free space” promotion is a solid example of a viral loop in practice. To break it down, here’s how it works:
- A new user tries out Dropbox.
- In turn, Dropbox offers an incentive to share the product.
- The new user sees value in this and decides to share the product with others.
- The loop repeats itself and Dropbox grows significantly – with very little effort.
Different loops serve different purposes. Generally speaking, they fall into two categories – intended-action loops and incentive-driven loops (e.g. the user gets a saving for sharing).
The type of viral loop you choose for your business will depend on what your goals are. Either way, it’s a cheap, smart and alternative growth marketing method in which your customers will do most of the heavy lifting for you.
Over to you
If your business isn’t growing as fast as it should be, perhaps it’s time to make a change and embrace growth marketing.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, but take inspiration from the above points, get the right strategy behind you, and you could start seeing results sooner than might think.
Questions? Comments? Let me know and I’ll be happy to answer.