Behind the Buzzwords: Growth Marketing

We’re living in a marketing world that is inundated with buzzwords. Sometimes, they make sense. Other times, they’re trendy hype words that have lost their real meaning through overuse, misuse, and lack of understanding. In our new content series, Behind the Buzzwords, ANNUITAS will break down the complex jargon you see trending in go-to-market thought-leadership and help you cut through the noise to contextualize it for your organization

Where Did This Word Come From?

The term growth marketing is technically a buzzword, but it’s one that we agree with. You as a marketer should be driving growth within the organization, period. The term ‘growth marketing’ surfaced about a decade ago and has been gaining momentum since. At first glance, you may think, isn’t all marketing focused on growth? And while that may be true, according to Forbes, “where traditional marketing focuses on acquisition, growth marketing emphasizes retention. Where traditional marketing is company-centric, growth marketing is consumer-centric.”

What’s the Problem?

The problem is the misuse of the word—the concept has become so popular that there is almost no meaning left behind it and it becomes interchangeable with generic terms referring to marketing.

Too many marketers justify their “growth marketing” efforts with reports like, “Clicks are up!” or “Look at how many page views we received!” However, these “vanity metrics” don’t offer any meaningful insight. This causes many of these efforts to fail. Business objectives are not achieved, and these tactics aren’t roped into a more holistic view of sustainable business growth.

The Right Approach 

True organizational growth marketing means taking a holistic view of your go-to-market strategy to align sales, marketing, and customer success around a Converged Growth organizational model. This new organizational model represents a complete rethink of traditional B2B sales, marketing and customer service roles—one that focuses on organizing blended teams around stewardship of customer journey phases. 

“Sometimes it feels like marketing is sitting at the kids table eating mac and cheese during Thanksgiving. Growth marketing gets marketing a seat to eat turkey at the adult table. However, Marketing has to start passionately speaking the language of the org—growth and dollars.” – Jessica Jones, Chief Growth Officer 

Conversations need to shift away from clicks and MQLs to things like pipeline contribution and ROI. Start with establishing clear goals around marketing’s contribution that are aligned with the growth goals of the organization, then leverage tools like quantitative modeling to understand what it’s going to take to get there. Imagine walking into a budget conversation, armed with clear and relevant data aligned to the goals of all departments – even finance. Now you’re speaking the language of the C-Suite. 

Having a growth marketing mindset also means that by operationalizing your go-to-market around the customer journey, you in turn directly optimize growth. The members of these functions should come together as a single team, aligned around the same growth goals.

We share more about this in our article, “The Next Generation of Growth Marketing is Here,” where we write:

“Growth Marketing must evolve past optimizing individual tactics and become a discipline of orchestrating the entire marketing, sales and product ecosystem – driving and optimizing enterprise demand – and thus growth.”

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