A Primer Guide To Growth Marketing

Are you starting out on a journey through the ever-changing world of growth marketing, where data isn’t just an input but the North Star that guides your every choice? Growth marketing is emerging as a beacon of innovation, using data-driven strategies to fuel sustained business growth for your business.


Defining Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is the strategic engine of modern businesses that propels them beyond the startup phase into sustained success. It’s a rounded and data-driven approach that focusses not just to the top of the marketing funnel for user acquisition but also optimises for engagement and retention and the entire customer journey.

It relies heavily on flexibility, timely feedback loops, and the capacity to pivot when (more often than if) necessary. Unlike traditional marketing, Growth marketing is not about big budget campaigns but is characterised by its continuous experimentation across channels, pulling on available ‘growth levers’ effectively at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Gavin Brogan (He/Him)

Managing Director @ Coorie Dug | Digital Analytics, Online Marketing


With over 2 decades of experience in digital analytics and marketing Gavin loves to help clients optimise their online presence, achieve their business goals and to talk about using data driven growth.

Traditional Marketing vs. Data-Driven Marketing

Traditional marketing has been the cornerstone of business promotion for decades. It is based on well-established techniques like print, television, and outbound mail, the stuff Don Draper would be familiar with. This has often been product-centric, focusing on broad appeal marketing comms designed to appeal to large swathes of the audience, with success measured by campaign reach and frequency, often under the guise of brand awareness.

On the other side is growth marketing, a methodology that is for the digital age. It is customer-centric and data-driven, focusing on tailored experiences and nurturing relationships with users across the customer lifecycle.


Components Traditional Marketing Growth Marketing
Focus Areas Acquisition & Conversion Entire Customer Funnel
Tactics Standard campaigns, mass media Experimentation across multiple channels
Data Utilization Basic, often vanity, performance metrics Comprehensive data for optimisation
Feedback Loop Post-campaign reviews Continuous feedback & iterative processes
Customer Engagement One-time transactional focus Long-term engagement & relationship focus
Channels Print, TV, Radio, email Digital platforms, social media, SEO/SEM
Measurement Impressions, Reach, Frequency Conversion rates, Customer Lifetime Value
Strategy Timeline Campaign-oriented, often quarterly, or annual Real-time, agile adjustments
Innovation Product-focused improvements Customer journey, personalisation, retention, and referral strategies

Growth marketing depends on a more a sustained continuous optimisation approach than traditional marketing. Qualifying assumptions about user experiences by utilising testing in a smaller, time-bound experiment, analyse the data, and use the insights to inform the next series of experiments are at the heart of data driven growth.


A key question might be “How can we improve each stage of the customer journey to increase overall lifetime value?” It’s a shift in perspective—from the sales-centric view to a rounder customer experience perspective that exemplifies the move from traditional to growth marketing.

The Advantages of Growth Marketing

  • End-to-End Customer Journeys – Not just focusing on acquiring customers but also retaining them, growth marketing enhances customer loyalty and advocacy, with engaged customers becoming brand advocates and providing valuable word-of-mouth marketing and social proof leading to a higher customer lifetime value (CLV).
  • Data-Driven Decision Making – Growth marketing thrives on data analysis, allowing for decisions based on current trends rather than historical data or gut feelings, allowing for sustained opportunity identification and response to market changes.
  • Agility and Flexibility – Test, learn, optimize, repeat ensures flexibility, allowing brands to quickly pivot based on experimental performance.
  • Enhanced ROI – Rigorously testing every tactic for its return on investment, continually optimizing cost-effective strategies to ensure efficient use of the marketing budget.
  • Customer-Centricity – Personalization and segmentation are key components of growth marketing strategies, fostering better customer experience and increasing the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration – Growth marketing encourages collaboration across business silos, strengthening innovation, creativity, and a deeper understanding of the customer experience.
  • Market Resilience – Continuous analysis of data and trends empowers growth marketers to anticipate and adapt to market shifts, enhancing the brand’s resilience to economic changes.
  • Feedback for Product Development – Insights from growth marketing initiatives inform product development, ensuring new products or features align closely with customer needs and preferences.


Nurturing a culture emphasizing growth businesses can ensure that they’re not just driving one-off interactions but are building a base of loyal and engaged customers who will contribute to the company’s success year after year.

Real-World Examples of Growth Marketing

Each example leverages both creativity and data to drive not just initial conversions but ongoing engagement and retention. It isn’t about one-off tactics but rather building a sustainable system that nurtures relationships with customers.

Referral Programs – Dropbox

Dropbox famously leveraged a referral program to drive user growth. By offering additional storage space for both the referrer and the referee, they created a win-win situation that encouraged users to spread the word, resulting in a viral growth loop.

Onboarding Tutorials – Duolingo & Canva

Duolingo & Canva both use engaging onboarding tutorials to help new users understand the app’s value proposition immediately. This early engagement is crucial in converting new users into regular ones, significantly improving both user conversion (from free accounts) and retention rates.

Testing - Booking.com & Argos

Booking.com conducts thousands of A/B tests annually. testing everything from button colours to page layouts, ensuring that the user experience is continuously optimized, leading to higher conversion rates. Argos have taken this to a new level utilising Causal Impact analysis to assess the value of SEO improvements.

Reengagement & Retention – Grammarly

Grammarly sends personalized weekly emails to users with a summary of their writing statistics and achievements. These emails not only re-engage users but also help in establishing a habit around the product’s use.

Gamification - Peloton

Peloton employs a clever gamification strategy through its engaging challenge programs. Users earn badges and achievements for meeting fitness goals or completing specific workout series.

Social Proof – Amazon

Amazon displays customer reviews and ratings prominently on product pages. This social proof can significantly influence purchasing decisions, as potential customers are more likely to trust peer recommendations.

Content Marketing – HubSpot & SEMRush

HubSpot and SEMRush are prime examples of using content marketing to drive growth. By providing valuable resources, such as blog posts, eBooks, and webinars, they attract leads and establish a reputation as industry thought leaders.

SEO Optimization – Canva

Canva has optimized its website for search engines, leading to high organic reach. By creating SEO-friendly content that ranks well, they attract users actively seeking design solutions.

Crafting a Robust Growth Marketing Strategy

A robust growth marketing strategy involves several key elements contributing to your marketing efforts.


In-depth Audience Understanding and Goal Setting

The foundation lies in an understanding of your ideal audience. Personas should include demographics, interests, pain points, and behavioural patterns. Having a clear picture of who you are marketing to, the next step is to set goals, that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. These goals could range from increasing user engagement, boosting conversion rates, to expanding into new markets. Your goals guide every tactic and campaign, ensuring that every effort directly or indirectly contributes to the broader objectives you have set out.


Experimentation and Optimization

Growth marketing thrives on deliberate and specific qualified learning. You should plan for continuous testing across all your channel and touchpoints. This can involve testing website elements, experimenting with content types, or testing different inbound marketing campaigns. It’s essential that you meticulously track you online user behaviour and having a testing methodology that gives you confidence in the results. Optimisation can mean tweaking your website’s design for better user experience, refining your messaging, or adjusting your channel strategy to focus on the methods that generate you the best results.


Leveraging Data and Technology

Data is the lifeblood of growth marketing. Your strategy should detail how data will be collected, analysed, and used. This includes setting up robust analytics tools to track user behaviour, conversion rates, audiences, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) both online and offline. It also involves using technology such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems to personalize interactions and marketing automation tools to automate and streamline your processes. The technology you choose must enable you to glean actionable insights from your data, automate repetitive tasks, and facilitate more better timely interactions with your audience.


Agile Approach and Keeping Up with Trends

A robust growth marketing strategy must be agile to be effective. The digital landscape is constantly changing, with new technologies (think about AI!), platforms, and consumer trends emerging regularly. You need to be flexible enough to adapt and flex to meet these changes. Be open to experimenting with new tools and tactics, and willing to change or adapt your approach if something isn’t working. This doesn’t happen naturally and requires the nurturing of a culture within your organization that values innovation, encourages creativity, and is not afraid to take qualified risks.


Integrating the above into your strategies can help ensure that your marketing efforts are not only systematic and data-driven but also flexible and adaptive enough to manage the ever-changing digital landscape attracting and converting new customers but also retaining them. Turn them into brand advocates and drive sustainable growth for your business!

Testing Your Company’s Growth Maturity

Start by evaluating your use of data. Is data being collected at all customer touchpoints? How effectively is this data being analysed? and actioned upon? Examine your organizational agility. How quickly can your company realign or pivot its approach in response to the data? Finally, consider the extent to which experimentation is embedded in your processes. A mature growth marketing operation will have a culture that embraces testing, learning, and iterating.


With definitions and frameworks for growth marketing clarified, you can embark on a journey of growth with a clear roadmap and the tools to navigate the path ahead. The essence of growth marketing lies in its data-driven and iterative nature and mastering it could mean the difference between a company that thrives and one that merely survives.

Summary (TLDR)

Growth marketing is an essential strategy for businesses focused on on-going success. Beyond traditional marketing’s broad, product-centric campaigns, growth marketing adopts rounded, agile approach centred around the complete, end-to-end customer journey. It emphasizes continuous experimentation, data-driven decision-making, and user-centric optimisation at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Key highlights include the contrast with traditional marketing, the myriad benefits such as increased ROI, scalability, and market resilience, and real-world implementations by leading companies. The guide also covers the critical aspects of crafting a growth marketing strategy, including audience understanding, SMART goal setting, and maintaining agility to adapt to digital trends, culminating in the necessity of growth marketing for achieving sustainable business growth and building a loyal customer base.


For further reading and a deeper understanding of growth marketing, the following resources are highly recommended:


“Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown – A comprehensive guide on how companies such as Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Dropbox use growth hacking techniques to grow faster and smarter. Read more here.

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries – This book provides insights into how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. It’s a foundational read for understanding the principles behind growth marketing. Available here.

The Growth Marketer’s Handbook by Jim Huffman – This handbook offers practical advice and strategies for implementing growth marketing techniques. Explore the handbook.