Growth marketing has played a quintessential role when it comes to effectively growing and scaling a company, but is it time to retire it?
Brands often look to their growth marketing team to drive their numbers up – everything from customer visits, in-store or online, to increasing checkout conversions. But to truly be successful in today’s competitive environment, brands and retailers need to dive deeper than simply finding the right distribution channel. They need to create brand community, brand affinity and perfect their art of storytelling.
But before we get into all that, let’s discuss growth marketing for a quick second.
What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing requires relentless experimentation and an intense focus on your customers’ unique, changing motives and preferences. This means not only attracting customers but also engaging and retaining them.
To do all the above, a growth marketer typically needs to be able to deliver highly tailored, individualized messaging that directly aligns with customers’ needs and wants. This person also has to be familiar with distribution channels and marketing tools, including email marketing, landing pages, SMS messaging, push notifications, in-app messaging, direct mail, and other channels based on your audience’s preferences.
And last but not least, this person should be able to meet your customers where they engage most and optimize your organization’s growth rapidly.
TL;DR: Successful growth marketers must be effective at growth hacking techniques to activate, nurture, and reactivate a customer through various channels and strategies. They must also know how to optimize and maximize their marketing spending.
The problem with growth marketing campaigns
Think loyalty programs, referral programs, and onboarding programs that allow for an acceleration in customer engagement with your brand and foster an opportunity to collect more data that can help build better experiences.
But this approach isn’t always enough. Why? Because customers’ needs and wants are constantly changing.
The pivot from transactional messaging to storytelling
Today, consumers show affinity and loyalty toward brands that make them feel positive. This requires brands to tap into the power of storytelling.
Through storytelling, brands should look to create and execute authentic narratives that align with their customers’ ethos.
We don’t have to look too far back to find some great examples.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, jewelry brand Mejuri looked to adjust its messaging to reflect the changing needs of its customers: simplistic jewelry pieces that are fitting for a work-from-home environment. For Mejuri, it meant making adjustments to their messaging while their product line stayed the same.
ASOS is another good example. The company asked its followers to name any couple who had to cancel their weddings so they could reach out to them and provide a pick-me-up treat.
Another initiative came from Lyft. The ride-hailing company launched an entire program to help those out of work or who need access to reliable transportation get free rides to job trainings, job interviews, or their job.
Consumers want more brand communities, not more ads
This is not to say that growth marketing is dead. It is definitely not.
Growth marketing will always have a role to play in effective customer engagement and providing the right message at the right time.
But instead of focusing on channel distribution, growth marketers should invest a chunk of their energy into creating content for places where their customers are most likely to find it.
For example, consumers today look up influencers, other customer reviews, creatives, and expert POVs before making a purchase.
When trying to understand if they really want a product a service, they are looking to see if influencers are genuinely using the product or service in their lives, if their advertisements seem authentic, and what other real-life customers are saying about it. They also consider if the product or service is styled or positioned well through creatives and just what experts in that space are saying about the product or service.
In fact, according to market research consultancy Alter Agents, 80% of shoppers now use online sources before making a purchase and shop based on values.
So, in order to create any sense of brand loyalty, focus on your story. How do you align with your ideal customer profile and what others are saying about your product or service? Also, look to meet your customers where they frequent most (engage most), whether it be TikTok, Snapchat, Discord, Reddit… you get the idea.