What is Growth Marketing?


Growth Marketing vs Growth Hacking

Growth marketing is the practice of using data and agility to scale revenue.

Growth Marketing is growth hacking grown up.

Born from the Software as a Service (SaaS) and startup space, the advent of growth hacking was the first time that marketers turned their attention en masse to the whole sales funnel. Their focus moved beyond the limits of awareness and acquisition, and extended to conversion, retention, and referral. Growth hackers developed a deeper understanding of how the whole sales cycle affects business growth and revenue.

Growth hacking took the word “hacking” from software developers who use workarounds, shortcuts, and clever code to solve problems in new ways. Marketers who found solutions to growth challenges adopted this term for themselves too.

Because growth hacking came from the SaaS and startup world, most of the writing, case studies, and practices evolved from that space. Growth hacking ignores product, company and sales cycle diversity. After all, not all sales cycles are completed online. Not all products have a SaaS business model. And, mature companies cannot be “scrappy” or take the same risks that startups can.

Growth marketing the best elements from growth hacking and traditional marketing to work for every company.

Growth Marketing Strategies

Focus on revenue, not vanity metrics
Growth means different things for different companies. Some want new users, some want to close more deals, some want better retention. But at the end of the day, all companies want to growth their revenue. For that reason, growth marketers prioritize optimizing for revenue over everything else.

Successful marketing teams track campaigns and sources that are producing the most revenue with full-funnel attribution. T Without this data, teams lose valuable information about how marketing drives revenue. They are forced to make a series of educated guesses rather than relying on hard data for marketing initiatives.

Without imperfect data, it’s difficult or near impossible to track revenue. Tracking aggregate revenue to campaign source is relatively easy for companies whose transactions are completed entirely online (like self-serve SaaS or ecommerce). Tracking revenue back to campaign source is a surprisingly difficult problem in the B2B space where the majority of revenue is collected offline with a sales team or SaaS products that have recurring revenue over time.

In lieu of 100% correct full-funnel tracking, growth marketers can get closer to optimizing for revenue by focusing on lower-funnel metrics. Rather than optimizing for site traffic or raw leads, optimize campaigns that deliver the most opportunities closed, lifetime value of a customer, or revenue. Studies show that the marketers who consistently optimize for lower funnel metrics see better results.

Be agile
Adopting agile creates velocity, removes barriers to productivity, and scales up production, which accelerates growth marketing work. All growth marketing teams should be agile, but not all of agile is focuses on marketing. Agile can also be applied to backend, product, and front-end development, among other disciplines.

Because there is not standardized, industry-wide agile marketing practice, there is a lot of confusion about agile marketing implementation.

There are practical ways to help marketing teams be more agile, like instituting weekly standups or developing hypothesis for marketing projects. At it’s core, agile is about streamlining processes to increase efficiency.

Think about the ways marketing teams spend the most time and how to optimize it. For example, can you eliminate or streamline approval processes? Can you think ways to be proactive rather than reactive? Can you develop repeatable processes for your marketing team? Can you create onboarding processes for new vendors?

World of agile illustration

Fail Fast
The more common error that causes growth to stagnate is not knowing which marketing is producing results. In truth, most marketing initiatives and experiments flatline. The danger is not a failed experiment, it’s not knowing whether or not an experiment failed.

Before delving into resource intensive projects, it’s important to have the whole team on the same page about what success looks like for every campaign and every experiment. Document this success metric to return to it later. Have a clear picture of success and failure and strategize to get there as quickly as possible.

Growth marketing is an iterative process. Unlike growth hacking, which usually attributes company growth to a singular success or hack, growth marketing is most often a series of small successes. While it is true that a single experiment can be a game changer for a company’s growth—like Dropbox’s now infamous referral program or AirBnB’s use of professional photographs—they surely did 10,000 mediocre experiments before hitting the one that changed their trajectory forever. Companies don’t find the one iteration that triggers explosive growth without slogging through a bunch of flat-line one’s first. More often than not, real growth is a result of lots of little iterations rather than one drastic change.

Iterating also allows teams to prove out large initiatives with small experiments before devoting a lot of time or resources to a project. What’s the smallest experiment we can run to see traction or definitive results?

Optimize the entire sales cycle

Growth hackers had it right when they started considering the whole sales cycle instead of just part of it. Conversion, retention, opportunity close, referral and advocacy are all critical to growing a business and driving revenue.

What demand generation and growth marketing have in common is the practice of optimizing the whole sales cycle and caring for the whole customer experience, not just one part. Even though each section of the sales cycle is owned by various departments (sales, product development, design, operations or customer success), it’s growth marketers who focus on the big picture and overall growth.

Growth marketing can be applied to all kinds of sales cycles, no matter the industry or type.


This is where the real growth happens.

Predictably scaling revenue should be calculated and systematic process. If growth marketers do the hard work of discovering from all data and attribution what works and what doesn’t, then the scale phase is rather simple. Without the initial steps, it’s difficult to know where growth is coming from.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around the first few steps.

As much as explosive customer growth may seem simple, not every channel can be scaled. Learn more about growth ceilings in the growth marketing guide below.

Democratic Growth Marketing

Scrappy and disruptive growth hacking is for startups. Growth marketing is for every company.

Growth marketing is for every company and industry that has found product/market fit, from SMB to enterprise, from app to e-commerce. Why? Growth marketing is the mindset and a practice of having singular focus on driving revenue, this can be done at at every company of every size. Growth marketers work agilely to simplify processes, scale successful channels and remove barriers to growth.

Growth Marketing Guide: Secrets for Fueling Bottom-Line Revenue

Download Below

This prescriptive guide solves the most pressing growth challenges with proven B2B marketing and demand generation strategies. With it, you will connect the dots from current reality to future company vision.

We give you the direction and context to optimize the marketing and sales funnel, and explain how to make incremental changes to uncover areas where your company is losing money. Next, we explore the strategies to scale programs that are producing the most leads in target and impacting bottom-line revenue.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

The reasons why growth stagnates

How to identify and fix the most costly growth marketing leaks

How to identify and scale the most profitable marketing programs

When growth dwindles, teams need to be more data-driven in their decision making.

Sign up to Download

Watch the Growth Marketing Slideshow