3 minute read

What is a Growth Marketing Approach?

Written by Jim Perren

When we as marketers put together our buyer personas, we make our best estimates about where our key personas hang out online. Then when we want to get marketing messages to them, we know where to find them and which channels to use.

That is a fantastic starting point. But it is a model of what we think our customers’ behaviour will be.

Because traditional tactics like SEO and PPC are increasingly competitive, it is harder to win those battles and therefore new audience share.

What growth marketing offers is a way to go about finding new audiences, by creatively considering all possible channels for marketing.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also be carrying out the proven methods of blogging and optimising your content for the search engines – far from it!

It’s just that Growth Marketing provides a low-cost way for you to find more potential customers online who may be interested in content like yours.

It is also a little bit like British Cycling’s accumulation or marginal gains. In that, if you can improve a lot of things by 1%, then the accumulation of all those small changes can mean you winning big (like Olympic gold medals and the Tour de France).

The Growth Marketing Approach

First you need to understand your marketing funnel. Then you can think about the current best performing channels for bringing leads and new business to you.

As an example, for Intergage that is word of mouth referral, networking and Inbound Marketing (although not necessarily in that order).

Then you need to look for weaknesses in that funnel. Most commonly this will be either:

  • Top of funnel – not generating enough leads
  • Conversion rates – Converting visitors into leads and leads into customers

The Biggest Impact

Growth marketing looks at ways of improving your marketing. So here you can focus on a better Inbound Marketing strategy, or tactics to generate more leads for the top of the funnel.

Have you developed rich customer personas?

Are you producing content through blogs that address your buyers pain points and helps them?

Similarly, you can examine what might be causing low conversion rates.

No clear calls to action?

Poorly formed landing pages?

The current three best channels for business give us the best chance to make the most impact.

Biggest Chance of Improvement

Right after our top performing channels there will be several other tactics or channels that we could apply. The idea is to make a hitlist of these, and from that hitlist choose six or seven channels that have the biggest potential for improvement.

Hitlist of other potential channels:

  • Podcast Marketing
  • PR
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Offline Ads
  • Webinars
  • Seminars
  • Speaking engagements
  • Trade shows
  • Viral Marketing
  • Networking
  • Social ads
  • Display ads
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay Per Click

Once we have chosen the ones that will give us the best “bang for our buck”, then we need a way to evaluate them:

  1. How much does it cost to acquire a customer through this channel?
  2. How many customers are available through this channel?
  3. Do we want them – are they the right audience?

Coming up with tests for each of these channels to answer these questions is what growth marketing is all about.

Sujan Patel of Content.io uses a spreadsheet to log all his ideas with column headings like:

Experiment name,                           Place/Platform,               Potential Impact,            Metric,                

Nurture emails to expired clients,    HubSpot, …


A growth marketing mindset is all about coming up with ideas and testing them.

And it’s OK if the tests fail - a large proportion of them will.

But those that you are left with are your marginal (or sometimes massive) gains.

Keep trying new channels (there are new digital ones all the time) and keep looking for ways to improve your current marketing.

You may not win the Tour de France, but you should win your colleagues’ respect for a job well done.

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Orginally published on Monday 27 March, 2017 | Last updated Saturday 14 September, 2019

Tags: For Marketeers