Close this search box.
Black and asian woman smiling in the office

Breaking Into Growth Marketing: Your Guide to the Fundamentals

If you’re a woman interested in the world of marketing, now is the time to jump on board and shake things up! Growth marketing offers an amazing opportunity for ambitious women who want to make their mark. As corporations across the globe are investing more resources into growth strategies, qualified professionals are needed to develop effective plans and execute them with precision. 

If you want to break into this field but don’t know where to begin, our guide’s got you covered! We’ll provide an overview of growth marketing fundamentals, including key concepts, current trends, and actionable advice so that you can get started building your career right away.

Growth Marketing 101: The Fundamentals

What is growth marketing, exactly? At its core, growth marketing is the process of identifying opportunities to build and promote a product or service so that it reaches more consumers. This field requires both analytical thinking and creativity because it involves strategies for attracting new users, tracking their behavior and retention rates over time, gathering insights, and developing plans for improving performance.

Key components of growth marketing

A career in growth marketing includes research, experimentation, analysis, and execution. Research is the foundation of growth marketing because it involves evaluating market trends to identify opportunities for expansion. This involves analyzing data such as consumer behavior patterns, competitors’ strategies, and industry developments to build a clear picture of the current landscape.

From there, growth marketers run experiments on targeted user groups in order to understand what actions drive customers to engage more with a product or service. Testing multiple variables at once helps them pinpoint which factors are most influential in driving conversions – that is, when users interact with a brand by taking specific actions like visiting the website or signing up for an email list.

Once growth marketers have collected and analyzed all this data, their work isn’t over! Armed with knowledge about how consumers behave and what actions drive them to become loyal users, they develop plans for improving the product or service based on their findings. This involves creating new features, adjusting pricing models, revising marketing strategies, and a variety of other tasks that can have a major impact on a business’s bottom line.

A brief history of growth marketing

The field of growth marketing emerged in the early 2000s as technology became more advanced and companies began to prioritize digital distribution channels. Businesses needed professionals who could leverage data-driven insights to build effective growth strategies that maximized customer engagement. Early pioneers in the field, like Sean Ellis and Andrew Chen, recognized this need and developed frameworks for testing different user experiences, tracking performance over time, and making improvements based on their findings.

Today, growth marketing is an integral part of most major corporations’ operations. Companies across a wide range of industries – from healthcare to retail to finance – recognize the value that skilled growth marketers can bring to their businesses. As consumer behavior continues to shift toward online platforms, demand for these professionals shows no signs of slowing down.

Growth marketing terminology

To succeed in growth marketing, you’ll need to be familiar with a wide range of concepts, including customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), and A/B testing. Here are some of the common terms you’ll hear in growth marketing that are important to know:

Affinity mapping: A process of identifying a target audience based on shared characteristics and creating user personas to represent them.

User flow: The path that a user takes to achieve their desired outcome with a product or service. This may involve multiple touchpoints and intermediate steps, such as visiting the website, signing up for an email list, or making a purchase.

User acquisition: The process of attracting new customers to a product or service. This involves creating marketing campaigns that appeal to the target demographic, optimizing website content and features for maximum engagement, and engaging with potential users on social media and other online platforms.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC): The total costs associated with acquiring a new customer. This includes advertising and marketing expenses, as well as the time and resources necessary to develop, launch, and optimize campaigns.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of users that interact with a product or service. For example, conversion rate might be defined as the number of website visitors who make a purchase divided by the total number of site visitors.

Engagement Rate: The frequency with which users interact with an app, website, or marketing campaign. For example, engagement rate might be defined as the number of daily active users divided by the total number of monthly active users.

Churn rate: The rate at which users stop using a product or service. This can be due to dissatisfaction with the product and competition from similar products that are more appealing.

K-factor: A metric for tracking user growth over time. This can involve calculating how many new subscriptions were acquired in a given period or how many app downloads occurred over a specific timeframe.

Lifetime value (LTV): The revenue that a consumer is expected to generate over the course of their relationship with a company. Growth marketers use this metric to assess how profitable it will be to acquire new customers or retain existing ones.

Return on advertising rate (ROAS): An estimate of how much revenue a company makes for every dollar spent on advertising. Growth marketers use this metric to assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and find ways to optimize budget allocation.

A/B testing: A process for comparing two versions of a product or service in order to understand which one performs better. Growth marketers use A/B testing to identify areas for improvement within their offerings, then take action based on the results of these experiments.

Retargeting/Remarketing: A strategy for reaching out to users who have shown interest in a product or service but might not have made a purchase yet. Growth marketers use retargeting tactics such as targeted email campaigns, in-app notifications, and customized website experiences to incentivize purchases and drive conversions.

Tips for success in growth marketing

1. Be strategic in your approach to user acquisition and retention. Growth marketers need to understand their target audience’s behavior and preferences, then use this information to craft marketing campaigns that resonate with them.

2. Invest time and energy into A/B testing and other optimization strategies. Effective growth marketers are constantly looking for ways to improve their products and services based on data collected through testing and customer feedback.

3. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in marketing technology, such as ad platforms and email automation tools. Growth marketers need to stay on top of rapidly changing technologies in order to keep up with their competitors and make the most effective use of their marketing budget.

4. Build strong relationships with your team members and other stakeholders. In order to be successful at growth marketing, you’ll need a collaborative environment where you can share ideas, gather insights from others, and find support during challenging times.

Popular tools and resources

Depending on what area you are focused on (i.e., planning and forecasting, user journeys, optimization), you will likely use varying tools. Let’s take a quick look at some common ones based on some common growth marketing categories:

User Journey: Mapping out user journeys includes user flow and affinity mapping. When it comes to the optimization of these journeys, A/B testing tools like Unbounce or Optimizely can be helpful in comparing user behavior on different versions of a website or app.

Planning & Forecasting: To help with planning and forecasting, you may use marketing automation tools such as HubSpot or Marketo to create customer profiles and track marketing performance.

Paid Advertising: Tools used to manage ad campaigns include platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager. Programmatic platforms include Xandr (formerly ApNexus) or MediaMath, which allow for real-time bidding on audience segments and advertising placements. Other tools you may use include marketing analytics software like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to measure performance metrics such as website traffic and conversions.

Email marketing: Tools like ConvertKit or Campaign Monitor can help you design and automate email marketing campaigns, gather insights on your audience’s behavior, and measure the success of your efforts.

Content marketing: To help with content creation and promotion, you might use tools like Buzzsumo or Quora to identify trending topics and understand what your audience is looking for. When it comes to distribution and outreach, platforms like HARO or SparkToro can be valuable resources for connecting with the right influencers in your industry.

Regardless of which tools you use, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in growth marketing in order to be successful at driving conversions and customer engagement. This might include joining online communities or subscribing to newsletters focused on growth marketing strategies and techniques.

Being a successful growth marketer takes dedication, creativity, and a deep understanding of your target audience. Whether you’re just starting out in the field or looking to hone your skills, these tips can help you succeed in this fast-paced and ever-changing profession. To learn more about a career in growth marketing, check out our in-depth growth marketing career guide!


The newsletter for ambitious women in marketing.

Marketing news to elevate your career – plus an inspiring interview – delivered to your inbox weekly, for free.