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What is Growth Marketing? (Campaign Examples and Strategies)

Learn all about growth marketing and get inspired from some great examples of campaigns you should be using in your business.

Craig Dennis.

Craig Dennis

May 10, 2023

12 minutes

What is growth marketing.

Every business is after one thing: customers. The more customers you have, the more revenue you make. However, the whole process of acquiring and turning leads into paying customers can be complex.

This article will cover what the goal of growth marketing is, the most common growth marketing campaigns, and key metrics you can leverage to measure performance.

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a scientific approach to engaging, acquiring, and retaining customers using data and analytics gained from rapid experimentation. Growth marketing aims to personalize every step in the customer journey, marketing channel, and campaign toward your customers’ unique preferences and behavior.

Growth marketing is all about testing different strategies and tactics to continually improve and optimize your existing campaigns and messaging toward the wants and needs of your customers so they are more likely to convert.

Growth Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Traditional digital marketing focuses on spreading awareness and acquiring new customers. This top-of-funnel approach to marketing casts a wide net to reach as many customers as possible with a message that resonates with them. A traditional marketer uses tried-and-true techniques such as promotions, email marketing, or ad campaigns to acquire new customers.

Growth marketing looks at your entire customer journey and applies a full-funnel approach. Instead of just focusing on acquiring customers, growth marketing aims to optimize every touchpoint to new and existing customers by analyzing your data to see which channels and campaigns are underperforming and which are most effective. It tends to be about testing strategies fast and pivoting if necessary, unlike traditional marketing, which is slow to adopt new strategies due to being untested.

CriteriaGrowth MarketingTraditional Marketing
SpeedFastSlow
Funnel FocusFull FunnelAwareness and Acquisition only
Data DrivenUses data heavily to measure performanceTends to be based more on intuition and experience
ChannelsUses any channels a customer is present onUses proven channels such as TV and radio
BudgetFlexibleLarge

The Five Components of Growth Marketing

Because growth marketing covers the entire marketing funnel, there are many different components to growth marketing. However, you can break everything down into five core stages:

  • New channel identification: Finding and experimenting with new channels to reach your target audience. Examples range from common channels like Google Search Ads and email marketing to more creative channels like podcast sponsorships and influencer marketing.
  • Channel and campaign optimization: Analyzing your current marketing channels and campaigns to see where you can improve to increase conversion and retention. Examples include altering your target audience on paid media, testing new ad copy, or running an A-B test on your email user onboarding sequence.
  • User experience optimization: Reviewing the various stages in your customer journey to streamline and mitigate dropoff potential and improve the overall experience. For example, maybe you’ve noticed that one of your custom landing pages has a high bounce rate, or perhaps a subset of users are getting stuck at a particular stage in your onboarding process.
  • Upsell optimization: Utilizing historical and behavioral data to identify common user trends for potential upsells. Examples include making product recommendations to users while checking out or notifying existing customers of a new feature.
  • Retention: Managing existing customers and preventing them from churning. Examples include proactive customer support by giving customers real-time support via Slack or creating a churn rate model to indicate which accounts are at risk.

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Examples of Growth Marketing Campaigns

To fully maximize and accelerate your growth marketing strategy, you need to experiment with many different campaign types. The most common growth marketing campaigns include referral, winback, loyalty, nurture, upsell, abandon cart, exit capture, and retargeting.

Referral

A referral campaign aims to acquire new customers through word-of-mouth. It incentivizes customers to refer their friends or colleagues to use the company’s service.

American Express runs a successful referral program. They offer Avios points for each friend you refer, and your friends get points for signing you up using the referral link.

A screenshot of American Express's referral campaign as a growth marketing example

Americian Express referral campaign

Win-back

A win-back campaign reengages customers who have stopped using your service or product. You can base your campaign on attributes like when was the customer’s last purchase or the last time they logged on to your app. These campaigns happen through various channels, such as app notifications, adverts, or email. They tend to offer incentives to reengage users via special promotions or discounts.

Spotify uses a win-back campaign to entice users who haven’t used their product. They offer three months of their premium subscription as an incentive to get them back.

A screenshot of Spotify's win-back growth marketing example

Spotify's win-back campaign Image source

Loyalty

A loyalty campaign is a strategy to help retain existing customers and build long-term loyalty. Some elements of a loyalty campaign include offering points for continuous use when they purchase, which customers can use to get rewards or special discounts.

Starbucks has a successful loyalty program where customers earn stars for each purchase. The more stars they collect, unlock access to rewards, such as a free drink or extra espresso shots or syrups.

A screenshot of the Starbucks loyalty program growth marketing example

Starbuck's loyalty program

Nurture

A nurture campaign focuses on building and maintaining a relationship with customers. It helps to guide customers through the customer journey with the ultimate goal of them becoming brand advocates.

You can use segmentation to target customers with personalized content to nurture your relationship. Educational content helps customers to understand their challenges and potential solutions. You can also use automated email sequences to deliver timely and relevant messages to nurture your relationship with them.

Hubspot offers free education courses and certifications to help marketers improve their skills. They weave in how to use Hubspot within their courses, teaching users the value it can provide, building trust in their company, and offering free information that takes them through the customer journey.

A screenshot of Hubspot's nurture campaign

Hubspot's nuture campaign

Upsell

An upsell campaign is a method of increasing the lifetime value of a customer by offering additional features, upgrading them to a higher tier, or encouraging users to purchase additional products based on their preferences. A upsell campaign helps to maximize the revenue from each customer while also delivering extra value.

You can offer webinars or video tutorials to teach users the value of upgrading their accounts to a higher tier. Or you can use email campaigns to inform customers of additional services that interest them.

Amazon uses a “frequently bought together” section in its upsell campaign. They highlight other items that might interest you based on what you’re looking to buy.

A screenshot of Amazon's upsell strategy

Amazon's upsell strategy

Retargeting

A retargeting campaign targets potential customers who have interacted with your website but haven’t made a purchase or converted. For a retargeting campaign to be successful, you can take an audience segment based on an action, such as leaving an item in the cart, then show the user relevant messaging that will likely convert them. You can also use social media ads or emails to show customers what they have left in their cart and bring them back to complete their purchase.

Casper sends users a cart abandonment email when customers leave the website with something in their cart. They use a simple and clean email with an image of the item and a clear call to action to entice a user back to complete their purchase.

A screenshot of Casper retargeting email as a growth marketing example

Casper's cart abandonment email Image source

Exit Capture

An exit capture campaign is a strategy to capture the attention of a website visitor who is about to leave the website without taking an intended action. It helps to engage visitors at the last moment and encourage them to take action.

You can trigger a popup on your website when a user moves close to the close or back button and deliver a targeted message or offer to capture the visitor’s attention. Neil Patel uses an exit capture on this website. He targets a user’s pain points of wanting more SEO traffic and offers an action plan as an incentive to complete the survey.

A screenshot of Neil Patel's exit capture

Neil Patel's exit capture pop up

Key Metrics for Growth Marketing

They are a few important growth metrics that your growth marketing team should be tracking. These can help you to see how well your growth strategy is performing.

Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate shows the total percentage of traffic or impressions that convert to your business goal. For example, to calculate the website conversion rate, you divide your total visitors by the total number you converted. If you had 1,000 visitors and 50 of them converted, your conversion rate would be five percent. This metric is crucial in growth marketing because it shows how your campaigns and channels impact your conversion rate.

CAC

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the average cost to acquire a new customer. You can calculate the cost per acquisition by taking the total marketing and sales expenses and dividing it by the number of new customers acquired.

If you spent $10,000 on marketing and sales activities in a month and acquired 100 new customers during that period, your CAC would be $10,000 / 100 = $100 per customer. CAC is important to track because it can help you see the most cost-effective marketing channels and campaigns, which can let you reallocate the budget from less successful ones.

LTV

Lifetime value (LTV) is the total value of a customer for the entire duration of the relationship with your company. Simply put, the average customer value is multiplied by the average customer lifetime. For example, if customers purchase a subscription for $10 per month and they keep that subscription for an average of 12 months, the LTV of those customers is $120.

LTV is important because it helps you determine how much you can afford to require a customer based on the average lifetime value of a customer. It can also help you to segment those customers with high LTV and work on a campaign to retain them as a customer.

Retention Rate

The customer retention rate measures the percentage of customers that you retain over a period of time. You can calculate the retention rate with the formula below.

Retention Rate = ((Number of Customers at the End of a Period - Number of New Customers Acquired During the Period) / Number of Customers at the Start of the Period) x 100.

If you started with 1,000 customers and acquired 200 new customers during a specific period, then ended that period with 900 customers, the retention rate would be (900 - 200) / 1,000) x 100 = 70%. Retention rate is important for showing how well your retention campaigns perform and can help you understand why customers leave.

Benefits of Growth Marketing

While growth marketing is all about helping you understand which marketing channels and campaigns are most effective, it also has several positive downstream implications.

  • Better customer experience: As a growth marketer, part of the role is to look at the entire funnel, from the first touch to the post-sale experience. Because of this, the messaging can be more personalized to create a more cohesive customer experience.
  • Greater ROI: You can reallocate resources and make changes faster by constantly reviewing data on how different campaigns and strategies are performing. Finding leaks in your funnel that you can patch strengthens every top-of-funnel marketing channel.
  • More scalability: Growth marketing lets you compound results so you can apply the same successful marketing techniques across different channels and campaigns as you get feedback from your experimentation.

What is the AARRR framework?

If you’re a startup or product-led growth business, the AARRR framework, also known as Pirate Metrics or the Pirate Framework, is one of the most popular frameworks to measure business growth and success. It turns your customer lifecycle into five phases, starting with the first touch point with a customer until they become a paying customer.

The five stages of the AARRR framework are:

  • Acquisition: This stage focuses on acquiring new customers by identifying the right audience on the right marketing channel and driving them to a desired action.
  • Activation: Once a customer is acquired, you look to help them achieve the aha moment and provide them with a positive experience so they understand the value of your product.
  • Retention: This stage is about building relationships with your users so they continue using your product and become loyal customers.
  • Referral: Referral is where you turn customers into brand advocates. When your product experience is so great, customers must share it with others. Incentives encourage users to share your product.
  • Revenue: In this stage, you look to generate revenue from your customers. It could be offering them additional features or upselling or cross-selling them.

AARRR is a great framework for successful growth marketers as they can focus on strategies for each stage and track their progress by measuring specific metrics.

Conclusion

Growth marketing is a data-backed approach that can help your company's growth by running experiments. One of the challenges that growth marketers face is getting access to the right customer data to power their campaigns. Speed is a critical aspect of growth marketing, and success is linked to your ability to experiment and iterate at a moment’s notice.

Hightouch can help you sync rich audience cohorts or first-party attributes to any of your marketing tools in minutes.

Intelycare successfully used Hightouch to run an experiment that saved them $1,000,000. If you want to know more about how Hightouch can help power your growth marketing, book a demo or create a free workspace.

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Hightouch offers a suite of purpose-built, no-code features that unleash the power of the data warehouse for every team within your organization.

Check out this one pager to about:

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