Actually, This is What Growth Marketing Is All About

Written By: Dominic Sepenu
Dec 16, 2020

If you are part of a tech start-up team, working on growth specifically,

count yourself fortunate to have found this article. My reason for saying this is not because I am the messiah for growth, no, not at all. In fact when I got on the journey to build a career in growth marketing, there were top names like Sean Ellis, Neil Patel and Brian Balfour who are well known for building powerful growth engines for world-class tech companies.
Myself, I am a certified Growth Marketer, working with African tech start-ups in both the mobile applications and SaaS platform space. The only problem I have seen with the title “Growth Marketer” is with how the roles of growth marketers are misunderstood in our part of the world.

Let’s leave that small talk and let me take you to the past a bit. Before we found out about Growth Marketing, we used to only apply Digital Marketing knowledge to achieve product growth. So in simple terms, if you launched an app or SaaS platform, what you would do was to set up your social media pages, google display, search and probably create ads for promotions. In most cases, we did this to get more downloads and subscriptions to our product. Of course, our investors want to see traction at the early stage and what more could we have done to get traction? Till today, this is where most tech brands spend their marketing dollars. In Africa especially, it is common to see newly built and launched apps of banks, insurance firms, and even typical tech firms focus their marketing dollars in ads that may not end up working as desired.

I am happy to help you get it straight and make you understand in really basic terms, what Growth Marketing means and what happens on Growth teams. If you are already into business or marketing as a founder or a professional, you may have come across the term “funnels”. The first two sections of this funnel largely focus on Brand Awareness and Customer Acquisition. In Digital Marketing, the goal is to promote the brand, make it reach more people and convert potential customers through ads into customers. In mobile app or SaaS marketing, specifically, we promote these platforms and convert our visitors into new users through subscriptions or downloads, which is super amazing because it’s a good sign that you have a good product.

Why this is not enough to help your product or start-up grow is because you will lose sight of the most important success drivers of your product and this is likely to stagnate your growth in the long run. My point is this,


Growth Marketing, we provide a holistic view to how you move the users from acquisition to revenue generation. To make this clearer, lets see this scenario, you launched your accounting software for small businesses, ran ads online and offered a freemium version of your platform to visitors, your CRM numbers grow as you see quite a good number of sign ups. In Growth Marketing, the work doesn’t end there, you need to activate these users as some might not proceed with the onboarding process to become active users, also you would need to retain them as much as you can, build a referral program and finally give them a reason to become paying customers.

How we do this is by using data, funnel audit findings to design and launch experiments. To be able to do Growth Marketing successfully, you would need the expertise of UI/UX designer(s), Data Scientist, Backend engineer and a Strategist. If you already have the first three people on your team, you should just hire a Marketing specialist to lead the growth team.

On an operational basis, the growth team or lead liaises with the CEO to understand the most pressing needs of the start-up at the moment based on the results from the funnel audit, whatever funnel or lever is selected would be prioritised and for testing. An ideation meeting is held to build a backlog of ideas for testing, these ideas are scored and some of them are selected and tested. From experience and data, teams with high testing always win with good results and it is important to keep the process each time.

To make this much clearer, let’s say you have a top problem getting downloads (acquisition) on an app you have built that works like LinkedIn. To solve this problem in a Growth Marketing way, we would come up with about ten ideas on how to drive downloads to the app, these ideas would be scored by the Growth lead and three to five of them would be tested. If for example one of the ideas being tested is to index the profiles of users to google, then we will see the work of the backend engineer at play making all the key integrations, the data scientists setting up to record the results, the UI/UX designer working on landing pages for optimization and testing , and then a strategist would coordinate the idea and processes for successful experiment.
If you enjoyed this piece and would like to know more about SaaS Sales and Growth Marketing, meet me for coffee.

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