What is Growth Marketing?

By Drift

Over the last few years, growth marketing has helped re-define the goal of marketing.

Successful marketing is no longer only about the top of the funnel and acquiring customers – it’s about acquiring customers who are going to stick around.

Growth without retention isn’t growth after all. And growth is more important than ever:

A SaaS business starting at $100K MRR with a 3% monthly churn rate, must add $167k in New MRR in order to grow by 100% YOY. One with a 6% churn rate, must add $227,500.

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But what does growth marketing actually mean? And what does the role actually entail? How is it different from “regular” marketing?

A Definition For Growth Marketing

Growth marketing isn’t about fixating on one part of your funnel. It’s about looking at your entire customer lifecycle and using those insights to create compounding returns that drive more engaged customers.

Let’s take a closer look at what growth marketing is – and what it is not.

Traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel, often with activities that drive short-term wins. And account-based marketing focuses on key accounts. Makes sense, right?

But the growth marketing job description requires you to focus on the funnel. Growth marketers are data-driven pros who work tirelessly to find innovative ways to drive user acquisition, keep customers engaged, retain them, and ultimately turn them into brand champions.

In other words, growth marketers are master experimenters at every stage of the funnel. And they work closely with the whole business to gain better insights.

As renowned growth expert Andy Johns said: “If finance owns the flow of cash in and out of a company, growth owns the flow of customers in and out of a product.”

But to take things a step further, we pulled together this SlideShare deck to help explain growth marketing even further, featuring quotes from today’s top marketers – from Andy Johns to Mike Volpe, Chamath Palihapitaya, Sean Ellis, and more.

Quotes From Growth Marketing Experts

1) Mike Volpe | CEO, Lola.com: “Growth marketing is removing the boundaries of marketing to enable every aspect of the customer experience to focus on attracting more engaged customers.”

2) Sean Ellis | Founder & Chief Evangelist, GrowthHackers.com: “For meaningful growth, startups must completely change the rules of traditional channels or innovate outside of those growth channels. They are too desperate and disadvantaged to adapt to the old rules of marketing. They have to dig deep creatively, and relentlessly test new ideas. If they don’t figure it out quickly, they will go out of business.”

3) Andy Johns | Partner, Unusual Ventures: “Finance owns the flow of cash in and out of a company. Growth owns the flow of customers in and out of a product.”

4) Chamath Palihapitiya | CEO, Social Capital: “Growth starts with a deep understanding of product value and is about moving new users to the Aha! moment as quickly as possible, measurable in seconds.”

Hungry For More Growth Marketing Content?

We even have our own podcast dedicated to Growth. You’ll learn how to run and optimize experiments, approach your funnel with a growth mindset, step by step plays for product onboarding and more. Plus we’ll bring you exclusive interviews with the best growth leaders out there – so you can get hands-on advice for running your own growth program. Past guests include growth leaders from Facebook, Adobe Creative Cloud, Indigo, and more.

Growth Marketing Case Studies

Here are some of our most popular growth case studies so you can continue your growth marketing journey.

  1. The 3 Secrets Behind Zoom’s Triple-Digit Growth
  2. How WeWork Grew into the Second Most Valuable Private Company in the US: 4 Key Secrets to Unlocking Extraordinary Growth
  3. How Glossier and Its Army of 1.8 Million Instagram Followers Are Conquering the Beauty Industry
  4. From Weekend Project to $50 Million in ARR and 3 Million Users: 4 Key Secrets Behind Zapier’s Extraordinary Growth
  5. Eventbrite’s Remarkable Journey From $0 to $10 Billion in Ticket Sales: 4 Crucial Growth Secrets Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
  6. From Breakthrough Idea to Billion-Dollar Empire: 4 Secrets Behind Squarespace’s Extraordinary Growth
  7. These Are the 4 Secrets to Replicating Stripe’s Billion Dollar Growth

Editors Note: This was originally posted on December 17, 2015 and was updated on June 17, 2019.