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Building The Growth Marketing Team Of Your Dreams

A growth marketing team requires a diverse pool of skills. They come from different aspects of an organization.  Even when you have all the right skills, forming a team can be a daunting task. Here’s a look at the skill needed and the primary ways to build your growth marketing team.

Skills

The approach to creating your winning growth team starts with, quite simply, an inventory of the skills needed. These skills are often shared by many people across a number of departments. The key is to understand the importance of these skills for the long term success of your growth marketing efforts.

Product Management Know How: 
This individual has to have a comprehensive understanding of key elements of the product experience, the essential product metrics, and a basic understanding of technologies like tag management and API’s to integrate the product experience into marketing channels.

Familiarity with Data Science: 
This team member has to know the basic concepts around data science and statistics to ensure that recommendations and testing are based on sound principles.

Development of Creative:
Every team needs a designer to create templates for emails, push notifications etc, and coding the templates with the right variables.

Expertise in Marketing Channels: 
A guru of marketing channels is essential for a growth marketing team. They have to know the mechanics and metrics for each of the marketing channels being used in the marketing strategy.

Teams:

With these different cross-functional skill set needed at one table, organizing such a team is a big challenge. Do we have the budget for it? Can we find the talent in-house rather than hire? Should it be organized under marketing or product? Who do they report back to? Should there be a stand alone team? Every business has varying requirements and depending on the stage the business is in and how mature their many organizations are, there can be multiple ways of structuring a growth marketing team. Here are some of the most popular options in organizing your team.

Marketing Oriented Growth Team:
Mature organizations with significant expertise and infrastructure for multiple marketing channels often choose to staff the growth team under the digital marketing organization. The strength of this model is the strong alignment with marketing and brand messages, but the challenges are around staffing the team with the right data science and product skills.

Product Oriented Growth Team:
Startups and product centric companies often choose to build a growth team within their product (or merchandising) teams. The biggest advantage in this model is the strong product knowledge delivering a personalized experience. The key thing to watch for in this setup is to ensure that the team is delivering brand experience while keeping true to their brand design and look.

Integrated Growth Team:
Reporting to the CEO – e.g. Facebook. Led by a versatile leader who has both the product, data, and marketing skills, this team brings together all the various growth skills into one integrated team. This is potentially the strongest model for driving growth, provided you can find that rare leading who can manage such a multi-function integrated team.

Distributed Growth Team:
In this structure, the growth team consists of members from different functional teams like data science, marketing and product, who come together around projects. This configuration is not a good long-term option, but might help you get off the ground with a few early wins in growth marketing.

Once you have the people with the right skills, it’s time to lay out the plan to bring everything together. From my experience, a growth team will evolve over time. The beauty of the growth marketer mentality is around striving for excellence based on results. Not only does this apply to campaigns, it also builds a center of excellence within an organization that drives results and change.


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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The 4 Best Growth Marketing Campaigns That Delight Travelers

This series of blogs goes into detailed campaigns that growth marketers can run for specific industries. These campaigns are tailored towards goals and revenue that growth marketers are responsible for. Our third industry deep dive takes a look at the digital travel booking industry and campaigns specifically tailored for growth marketers to move users along the buying cycle fast and keep them coming back for more purchases.

The digital travel industry has come a long way in the past decade. What started from a handful of booking sites has grown into thousands of websites all fighting for attention through price comparisons, user experience, loyalty benefits, convenience, etc. Everyone is working hard to differentiate themselves from their competition. What they all have in common is thousands of people coming to their site everyday, ever changing inventory and prices, and millions of unique searches of what people are looking for. This creates the perfect recipe for growth marketers to cook up something new in digital engagement campaigns.

Below are 4 personalized email and notification campaigns growth marketers at digital travel companies launch to reduce churn. 

Abandoned Search

For your known users who make a search on your site and do not make a purchase, you can recommend fares based on their recent search with the dates and location from the search. This has to be sent out 1, 3, & 7 days after the search since it is a time sensitive search.

Add a Hotel/Car

A great up-sell campaign for customers who have recently booked a flight on your site is a personalized offer to add a hotel or car to their booking on those same dates based on the flight location/dates. This has to be executed immediately or between 1 and 3 days of the customer booking the flight.

Trending Getaway Deals

This is a great evergreen campaign for all your users to send them the latest and trending weekend getaway deals personalized based on their specific location. It can be sent on a weekly or monthly recurring basis. below is an example using a visitors location to deliver weekend getaways within relatively close distance to them.

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Location based recommendations

 

Promotions

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Promotional Sale

Another great evergreen campaign that requires little work on the marketers part is a promotions campaign. Airlines and hotels put out promotional offers every now and then and those can be used to send personalized offers of deals from nearby airports/locations based on the user’s location to your active customers on a weekly or monthly basis.

 

 

 

 

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Top 4 Campaigns that Reduce Churn for Subscription Service Companies

This series of blogs goes into detailed campaigns that growth marketers can run for specific industries. These campaigns are tailored towards goals and revenue that growth marketers are responsible for. Our second industry deep dive takes a look at the subscription service industry and campaigns for growth marketers to reduce churn and increase customer loyalty.

The subscription service model is unique compared to the conventional retail sales cycle. They measure their business with different metrics and have different goals. Some metrics that growth marketers at subscription companies are held accountable for are churn, up-sell, and win-backs. Much can be done to impact each of these metrics at different stages of the customer lifecycle. Here is a breakdown of personalized emails and push notification campaigns to use for reducing churn and increasing revenue for a subscription service company.

Churn Intervention: Marketing teams can use churn score rates to create a segment of at-risk customers based on their behavior or low engagement with the product. These customers can be sent personalized offers or incentives based on their purchase or browse history to continue the subscription on day 1, 7, and 30 days after they qualify for the churn list.

Subscription Upsell

Subscription upsell example from Birchbox. Prompting customers to gift a box for valentine’s day.

Subscription Up-sell: AI driven scoring can highlight customers with high up-sell propensity based on high engagement volume with the product. These highly engaged customers are great for incentivizing to switch to the next subscription tier since they are satisfied with their current tier. These messages can be sent out 1, 7, and 30 days after they show behavior of high up-sell propensity.

Abandoned Cart Email

Sense of urgency for customers who have not signed up.

 

 

 

 

Abandoned Cart: For the visitors on your site who have shared their email address but not made their first purchase or were in the middle of making a purchase but abandoned the session can be reached out to with very specific product they were looking at. Since these customers have not yet made a purchase it is imperative that the outreach be fast and timely (1, 3, 7 days after abandonment) or else they lose their intent to make a purchase or reason for considering the product in the first place.

Win Back Email

Offering a free snack and discount to churned customers

 

 

Win-back: For those hard to convince churned customers, growth marketers can offer personalized promotions based on an uplift strategy. The cadence can be 1, 2, and 3 months after churn since you don’t want to annoy these customers who are already out of the buying cycle. They no longer see the value in the service and it’s very hard to change their mindset while not putting them off.

 

 

 

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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5 Must-Have Campaigns for Media and Publishing Marketers to Drive Growth

In this series of blogs I go into detailed campaigns that growth marketers can run for specific industries. These campaigns are tailored towards goals and revenue that growth marketers are responsible for. Our first industry deep dive is taking a look at the media and publishing industry.

Weekly digest email

Weekly Digest by grow by Acorns

The media and publishing industry is very content heavy and always changing. This high volume of time sensitive content gives growth marketers an opportunity to serve users fresh 1:1 content in many creative ways. With new content being added continuously and hundreds of thousands of people interacting with their content every hour, growth marketers have a huge amount of data at their disposal for engaging their readers and keep them coming back everyday. Below are the 5 top programs growth marketers in media and publishing industry use to drive higher customer engagement.

Personalized weekly digest: Recommend the best content of the week based on a user’s browsing history and attributes like location to all active users on a weekly basis.

 

Developing story alert

Developing Story Alert by Huffington Post

 

 

Developing story alerts: For news publications, updates to stories that users have previously expressed an interest or interacted with. This can be indicated by their browsing history or previous searches. Because of the news being time sensitive, the update should be sent within 15 min of the update.

 

Category affinity

Category Affinity Email by Flipboard

Category Affinity: Many media companies ask users about what topics they are interested in and want to see more of. Users can also show their affinity with a strong browsing and buying preference for a few categories. Recommend trending content from the categories preferred by the user on a weekly recurring basis.

 

Subscription Upsell: Convert freemium users to paid subscribers with relevant offers who have shown high purchase intent based on predictive scores. The cadence can be 1, 7, and 30 days after customer’s behavior indicates that they have a high intent.

 

Trending Content: Push out messages to highly active users recommending content that’s trending now in terms of views as soon as some new content becomes trending or newsworthy.

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Lifecycle Stages for Growth Marketers Part 3 – Win-Backs

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our series “Lifecycle Stages for the Growth Marketer”.


Customer lifecycle is a term used to describe the progress of a customer as they go through consideration, engagement, purchasing, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. It starts from the first time you get a user’s attention to your product and then keeping them as loyal customer. The customer lifecycle is often depicted a a circular cycle because the goal of customer retention is to get them to move through the cycle again and again.

A growth marketer’s prime objective is to drive user engagement with the product. The key to driving engagement is understanding the customer’s lifecycle stage and messaging them accordingly over time to keep them as an active customer. Unfortunately, customers churn. Churn is a natural part of the process, however, as a growth marketer, you are responsible for bringing users and customers back.

Enter the Win-Back Campaign

Win-back campaigns are about re-activating churned customers or those who are at risk of churning. It is the typical customer lifecycle to become inactive due to the product losing its charm or relevance for the user. These tend to be the hardest to gain back but that’s the challenge growth marketers have signed up for. Growth marketers can deploy different strategies and campaigns to win-back churned customers and their effectiveness depends on how personal and creative you can be.Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 10.27.34 PM

Traditional win-back marketing campaigns like “We miss you” and “Psst! Come back for 25% Off Your Entire Order” lack any kind of real-time data and insight into the customer. In addition, they actually don;t do much for the long term retention of a customer. Growth marketers have the ability to get more creative by providing actual value to users to get them to come back. (Don’t get us wrong, a discount/promotion code has a time and a place, but that strategy is often for short term gains.)

What is helpful about churned customers is that they are known users who have interacted with the product before in some form. This gives growth marketers large amount of data to use regarding the customer preferences to personalize all messages they send their way. This is an opportunity for growth marketers to think creatively on how to get a customer’s attention again.

 

An Example of a smart Win-Back Campaign

Here is a great example of Pinterest using known user attributes to suggest relevant people and topics to its churned customers to bring them back into the engagement lifecycle.

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Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our series “Lifecycle Stages for the Growth Marketer”.


 

Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Lifecycle Stages For Growth Marketers Part 2 – User Retention

Read Part 1 and Part 3 of our series “Lifecycle Stages for the Growth Marketer”.


Customer lifecycle is a term used to describe the progress of a customer as they go through consideration, engagement, purchasing, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. It starts from the first time you get a user’s attention to your product and then keeping them as loyal customer.The customer lifecycle is often depicted a a circular cycle because the goal of customer retention is to get them to move through the cycle again and again.

Once you have the customer, it’s time to keep the customer. For Growth Marketers, much of their time must be focused on this area, otherwise you risk churning higher than normal amounts of users. (what is “normal” depends on your industry and business model.) In this stage, the focus is on Retention.

 

Enter Retention Campaigns

The second stage of the customer lifecycle is retaining users you already activated with targeted content in the form of reminders or recommendations to reduce churn. Retention is a more effective way of growing revenue because companies aren’t stuck attracting, educating, convincing, and converting potential customers. Retention is also a more sustainable business model for sustained growth because you are marketing to customer who have already expressed an interest in the product and engaged with the brand. In studies by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention by 5% can result in an increase in profits of 25% – 95%, and the likelihood of converting an existing customer into a repeat customer is 60% – 70%.

User retention gives growth marketers a lot of opportunity to deliver targeted content through many channels and in many forms. They can impact retention by creating delightful customer experiences through all their marketing channels on a 1:1 level using powerful reminders and recommendations. Lets dive deeper into what these reminders and recommendations can look like for growth marketers.

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Here is an example of 1:1 content recommendations in an email sent by a Blueshift customer

Reminders: 

  • Status in the Product: This type of reminder can be related to any incomplete activity in their account (e.g. “complete your profile” or “turn on push notifications”).
  • Weekly Activity Digests: Recurring personalized emails are a great way to keep active users engaged and staying on top of mind. For retailers this could mean sending a weekly email of new and trending items in their “Liked” categories or for media companies it can be trending content in the topics users are interested in.
  • Abandoner Re-Targeting: These reminders can be related to user activity such as browsed items or wish-listed products. For content businesses this can take the form of recommended content related to last viewed article or video.

 

Recommendations:

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Here’s an example of a catalog update message sent as a rich mobile push. All messages MUST be personalized!

  • Recommendations based on the customer’s Interaction Graph: The way users interact with your catalogue of products or content makes up their persona. This information is great for recommendations based on graphs created by users and other users. For example Twitter email notifications that give you suggestions on who to follow uses this same logic. The same idea can be used by retailers by leveraging data about people and products they have interacted with.
  • Recommendations based on affinity: Retail/E-commerce & media companies have large product catalogs or content. They have an even bigger data set of all the interactions users have with their catalog. This data can provide insights into preferences of users to certain categories, brands, authors, artists, price-points and more. The key to detecting user affinities is to not only look at individual user’s behavior, but also to normalize the behavior relative to other users. Growth marketers use these affinities to tailor marketing messages to every user on every channel, driving 3-10X higher response rates.
  • Recommendations based on change/updates in the catalog or app: Changes in your catalog of products or content, e.g. new arrivals in relevant categories, price drops on items that the user engaged with the website and app. These triggers are especially good for mobile push notifications since they are “newsworthy”.

Read Part 1 and Part 3 of our series “Lifecycle Stages for the Growth Marketer”.


 

Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Lifecycle Stages for the Growth Marketer Part 1 – Activation

Customer lifecycle is a term used to describe the progress of a customer as they go through consideration, engagement, purchasing, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. It starts from the first time you get a user’s attention to your product and then keeping them as loyal customer. The customer lifecycle is often depicted by an ellipse because the goal of customer retention is to get them to move through the cycle again and again.

A growth marketer’s prime objective is to drive user engagement with the product. The key to driving engagement is understanding the customer’s lifecycle stage and messaging them accordingly over time to keep them as an active customer. The first form of engagement is activating new customers. Activation is a stage when the user completes an action that indicates them getting value out of a product. This goal can be different for different business models e.g. an app like twitter might consider a user activated when they follow a certain number of other users within a given time-period; a retailer might consider a user to be active when they make their first purchase, or on a rolling basis.

Activation is the first step of the customer lifecycle when they fully experience the product or derived value from it. It is important to get users to activate faster because they can experience the product and see the value it provides. Users who don’t get activated quickly might never return since they never derive any value from the product in the time you have their attention. The core product experience is key to higher activation rates and growth marketers can help increase activation rates by extending the experience into marketing channels.

 

Below we go into some detail about the 2 ways in which growth marketers drive activation.

Welcome Series:

Welcome series from Flipboard

Welcome series from Flipboard

Almost every company or app has a welcome series of messages for activating and educating new customers. Such on-boarding emails have a 3X higher click thru rate than batch and blast emails. Growth marketers can take this strategy one step further by including the elements of product or merchandising in their emails or push notifications. A good example of this strategy is the app Flipboard. Their on-boarding process includes asking users about their interest in order to know what they like and personalize their experience in the app accordingly. This way they are able to onboard a new customer, educate them, and deliver a product that is personalized specifically for them. The welcome series is drawing the user deeper into the product and turning them into engaged users.

 

Abandoner re-targeting:

Guiding customers along their journey is very effective to activate them. This can also take the shape of re-targeting the user with a piece of the product or content if they do not activate the first time. Bringing a user back once they have abandoned is comparatively harder than connecting with first time visitors. For growth marketers to be successful at re-targeting they have to engage customers with very meaningful and compelling content to bring them back in the cycle. Abandoned cart items is an easy example of that or in the case of Flipboard it is the reminder of signing up with them to save your preferences in order to access it from the web or a different device.

Here retargeting is not only acting as a trigger to bring them back into the customer journey but also improving loyalty to the brand, stickiness of the product, and their overall lifetime value.

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Winning at Cross Channel Marketing: Blueshift Chosen to Lead Discussion at India Digital Summit

This week, thousands of marketers converge upon New Delhi for India’s largest digital marketing event, the India Digital Summit. Market-leading companies from across the region, like OYO Rooms, Urban Ladder, and Koovs, attend the event to learn more about the top trends and top technologies that will empower them to remain market leaders.

The topics range from marketing automation and mobile to cross channel marketing and user adoption.

This year, Blueshift has been selected to discuss how marketers can win at Cross Channel Marketing. Vice President of APAC, Dhruv Shanker, will take the stage to lead a discussion around the changing environment of the consumer and the need for more effective cross channel marketing.

Gone are the days of simply sending batch and blast emails or push notifications – that was barely cross channel marketing anyway. Today’s marketers need to look at cross channel personalization within their marketing strategy and deliver relevant, consistent user experiences across all their channels. Power machine learning and predictive intelligence will drive the next generation of cross channel marketing.

Details for the event:
India Digital Summit
Feb. 9 – 9, 2017
New Delhi, India

Dhruv Shanker will be joining the panel discussion on Thursday, February 9th at 11:20am.
Contact us if you would like to talk while at the India Digital Summit!

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Top Metrics Growth Marketers Need to Know

As a follow up to our article about what Growth Marketing is, we next take a peek into the metrics that every growth marketer must measure. (Depending on your exact industry, there will be other metrics as well, which we will cover in later articles.) As a refresher, we defined Growth Marketing:

“Growth marketing drives increased user engagement, by extending the boundaries of the product into marketing channels.”

Growth Marketers Are ALL About the Metrics

We’ll focus on the first half of the definition that states “Growth marketing drives increased user engagement”. This statement is all about measurable results. In order to measure the results, we must first understand what KPIs and metrics we will use to gauge success. To say that growth marketers are numbers oriented is an understatement. Growth marketers are obsessed with metrics — they must look at deltas across time and cohorts to show growth in customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer win-backs.

How are we trending? What is our engagement looking like? How many users are we churning? How long does it take us to be profitable for each new user/customer? Am I really growing the business?

The metrics in this article will build the foundation for any Growth Marketer to be able to answer these questions. To provide order to the metrics, we will categorize the metrics through a simple series of lifecycle stages:

Activation – new prospects
Retention – drive incremental engagement and revenue from existing users/customers
Win-back – bringing churned users/customers back

 


 

Activation Metrics for the Growth Marketer

Activation is a stage reached when a user completes an action that’s indicative of getting value out of a product. What constitutes activation might be different for different services; e.g. a social app like Twitter might consider a user activated when they follow a certain number of other users within a given time-period; an e-commerce company might consider a user to be activated when they make their first purchase, or on a rolling basis, consider someone to be active if they have made a purchase in the last 6 months.

1-day & 7-day activation rates:
This metric gives a quick leading indication of how activation rates from a channel are trending. Marketers know that activation could often take months after acquiring a user, but they want a quick indicator of activation for new or recent sources of traffic. 1 & 7-day activation rates, coupled with simple data science models, can help forecast long term activation from the given cohort of users, and can be used to quickly estimate time-to-payback.

Time to payback by channel:
The amount of time it takes to recoup the cost of customer acquisition (CAC), through profits from customers. This is a measure not only of the efficacy of activation, but also of retention & monetization efforts.

Abandonment rate:
The percentage of customers who fail to complete a “conversion” event inside a single session.

Abandoner retargeting conversion rate:
The percentage of abandoners who are successfully converted based on retargeting efforts across multiple channels. Typically measured within a well-defined window of time, like 7 or 30 days.

 

Retention Metrics for the Growth Marketer

User retention is about continuing to engage activated customers so that they stay active. Customer engagement is the most important area that Growth Marketers must focus on when users/customers are in this stage. Always provide value. How do you know if you are providing value or that your users see value in what you provide? A savvy marketer will start with these two metrics:

Churn rate:
The annual percentage rate at which customers stop being active.Stickiness:
Typically measured as the ratio of DAU/MAU, this measure if most used in categories like gaming that truly depend on daily & frequent engagement. Stickiness is a good indicator of whether customers are returning frequently.

 

Win-Back Metrics for the Growth Marketer

Users who were once active, but have since lapsed, can be won-back into becoming active customers again. This is one of the hardest ways to gain active users, since these users potentially lapsed due to the product losing some relevance for them. It’s like raising the dead, however, it must be a part of a Growth Marketer’s strategy. To measure the success of Win-Back campaigns, there is on metric in particular to focus on:

Re-activation rate:
The percentage of previously lapsed customers who become active again within a given time period.

 


 

The Tip of the Iceberg…what next?

This is not an exhaustive list. It is meant to give Growth Marketers the metrics they need to identify success and address areas of improvement. These are the foundation to being successful as a growth marketer and owning these metrics for your organization gives you tremendous insight into the health of your business, marketing strategy, and customer base.

Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Growth Marketing Defined – What It Is and What It Isn’t

Ever since Facebook staffed a whole “growth team”, the idea of Growth Marketing has captured the imagination of marketers. However, it’s a topic on which there’s very little informative material for aspiring practitioners. That is why we are excited to announce the first ever comprehensive Growth Maketers’ Guide to Customer Engagement.

What is Growth Marketing?

But first, what is growth marketing? A consensus definition is hard to find, but we prefer the following definition:

“Growth marketing drives increased user engagement, by extending the boundaries of the product into marketing channels.”

There are 2 key elements of this definition:

What do growth marketers do? Growth marketers drive higher user engagement with the product that they are marketing.

How do they do it? They achieve this by taking the product into channels that are traditionally considered marketing channels, e.g., email marketing or mobile push notifications.

Others have defined growth marketing in similar terms:

  • Wealthfront’s VP of Growth Andy Johns said[1]: “Finance owns the flow of cash in and out of a company, growth owns the flow of customers in and out of a product.”
  • Growth marketing is removing the boundaries of marketing to enable every aspect of the customer experience to focus on attracting more engaged customers.” – Mike Volpe, former CMO of Hubspot

 

The intersection of Product and Marketing…

If you were to think of product & marketing as 2 different functions, growth marketing is the area where the two meet:

growth marketing defined

 

This might mean different things for different industries. For instance, in retail & e-commerce industries, the notion of “product” is closer to merchandising, and you might see growth marketing at the intersection of merchandising and marketing:

growth marketing for retail and ecommerce

 

Let’s look at some examples of some growth marketing delivered in the form of email notifications. In all these examples, we will see how email, traditionally a marketing channel, is being used to extend the boundaries of the core product by delivering recommendations from within the product

1. Twitter’s email notifications with recommendations on who to follow

twitter_follow

2. Amazon’s abandoned browse emails that showcase relevant merchandise

amazon_abandoned_browse

3. Foursquare’s “tips” push notifications featuring info about restaurants and other places

 Foursquare-reco

 

What Growth Marketing Isn’t

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”

While we are on the subject of defining growth marketing, we should make it clear what it’s not. As you can see from the examples above, growth marketing is not simply digital marketing, or in other words all digital marketing is not growth marketing. Growth marketers certainly use digital marketing channels, what makes them different is that they do it in a way that features relevant content from the product.

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”, a practice of customer acquisition through unconventional means. The most commonly mentioned examples of growth hacks include Airbnb’s user acquisition using Craigslist postings or Dropbox’s viral user acquisition using incentives for sharing an account. Unlike these growth hacks that are truly one off and not replicable, growth marketing consists of systematic techniques and principles that you can apply across multiple situations and products. Also, unlike the customer acquisition focused techniques of growth hacking, growth marketing consists of driving customer engagement with the product.

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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