Marketing is a Part of Growth

“What is growth?” is one of the most frequent questions I’m confronted with. “Is it just another term for marketing?”

Especially clients from more traditional companies try to fit the term into a silo they are familiar with. Given that it shares more elements with marketing than with other departments, it’s readily placed into the marketing drawer.

While marketing and growth go hand-in-hand, they are not identical and therefore not synonymous.

Traditional Marketing

If we consider traditional marketing, it serves two primary purposes:

  1. Raise awareness
  2. Acquire potential buyers

Subsequently, the focus of these activities is external. It’s about attracting individuals to you, but once they’ve arrived, they’re not part of marketing’s responsibility anymore.

Now it’s usually up to the product to convince users, or for sales to close the deal.

In growth, awareness and acquisition are externally focused

Growth goes beyond this external focus and augments it with an internal view.

How do your users behave when they’re on your site? How do they engage with your product? What actions do they take? When do they leave and why might they be leaving?

Growth looks at ways to activate and retain the users that visit your page. As such, it considers user engagement and seeks to continually improve their experience.

This is where roles become less clear and different departments begin overlapping.

Whose responsibility is this user experience (UX)? Product? Design? Marketing? Maybe disengaged users simply indicate a lacking product/market fit?

User Experience lies at the intersection between product marketing and design

The Need for Growth

Because user experience intersects product, design, and marketing, it needs to be coordinated. And given that growth focuses on activating and retaining previously acquired users, it’s in an ideal position to do so.

In Growth, activation and retention are internally focused

Growth doesn’t end at retention though. The final piece of the puzzle aims for users to become advocates and refer the product.

Primarily, this referral is likelier to happen if the entire funnel process was consistent and positive, which it should be as part of a holistic growth strategy.

Then, by facilitating various methods of sharing (and potentially incentivizing users to do so), viral loops form.

When users promote your product on your behalf, they start executing externally focused marketing and drive user acquisition.

Except that instead of a company trying to promote their product, now friends and family are advocates. This leads to better awareness, higher acquisition,  and ideally greater activation and retention rates, further driving the viral loop.

Viral loops drive awareness and acquisition anew

Ultimately, growth goes beyond driving awareness and acquiring users, by connecting the external activity to the internal focus of user activation, retention, and referral.

Users that experience a positive and consistent experience are more likely to refer others, thereby contributing to organic growth.