Growth Marketing VS Digital Marketing: What’s the difference?

Strategies Employed by Experienced Marketers

Pauline Volovik
6 min readFeb 13, 2024

In contrast to various Growth Hacking tactics, growth marketing is a holistic, data-driven strategic approach to scaling business and converting potential customers. It aims for sustainable growth by increasing customer loyalty, building individualized sales funnels, and conducting campaigns geared towards specific goals.

In other words, growth marketing entails sustainable strategies for long-term development, whereas Growth Hacking involves experimental tactics for rapid growth.

While conventional digital marketing predominantly focuses on the first two stages of the funnel (awareness and acquisition), growth marketing implements the entire funnel, including referrals — more on that later.

Growth Marketing:

  • Focuses on the entire growth funnel (A3R3).
  • Strategically impacts the entire customer journey, using 6 growth levers.
  • Utilizes data-driven decisions to shape strategies.
  • Operates with a highly dynamic and flexible budget.
  • Conducts experiments across multiple channels in sprints, with data analyzed and used by sales/customer service departments to comprehensively improve service.

Strengths of Growth Marketing

  • Greater focus on the target audience. Systematic testing and adjustments within growth marketing help gain deeper insights into customer preferences, behavioral traits, and needs. This enables companies to offer products or services better aligned with the unique expectations of their target audience.
  • Effective customer retention. Creative campaigns tailored to the audience’s characteristics encourage interaction with the brand, fostering loyalty and building long-term relationships.
  • Return on investment. Growth marketing is based on data and research, facilitating more efficient budget allocation. Testing, training, and optimization help discard what doesn’t work and achieve greater ROI.

Another important feature of growth marketing is hypothesis building and an iterative process. This allows companies to try new ideas, learn from mistakes, and gradually refine marketing strategies without risking a complete overhaul of their business.

Hypotheses and the Iterative Process

Hypotheses companies formulate about strategies that could lead to growth are preliminary ideas about what might work in marketing campaigns and product strategies.

Key aspects are identified, expected to have the greatest impact on growth. These could include changes in the product, new customer acquisition channels, improvements in customer interactions, and more. Testing and confirmation (or refutation) become the basis for further strategic decisions.

The iterative process involves continuous repetition of the cycle of trial and error, based on hypothesis outcomes. Instead of risking everything at once, companies test their ideas, learn from them, and make adjustments.

The iterative process allows companies to quickly adapt to changes in market conditions and minimize risks, as changes are gradually implemented based on real data.

For example, you test different email headlines as part of email marketing — send 2 different versions of an email and evaluate which headline attracted more opens. Its application in future campaigns will be your iteration.

Or you optimize the user experience on your website — analyze visitor behavior using heatmaps and other tools, identify weaknesses, and make the necessary changes to improve the user experience.

Stages of the Iterative Process:

  1. Testing — Launching a limited version of a new product, campaign, or strategy.
  2. Measurement — Gathering and analyzing data on market reactions.
  3. Evaluation — Determining the success or failure of the hypothesis based on collected data.
  4. Correction — Making changes based on results to improve strategy effectiveness.
  5. Repetition — Continuing the cycle with updated hypotheses.

6 Growth Marketing Strategies Used by Professional Marketers

The choice of a specific growth strategy depends on the current goals of the company, its industry, and the characteristics of the target audience. Professional marketers often combine several strategies to maximize results.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is considered a fundamental element within a reliable growth strategy and is applied across various environments, from landing pages to social media advertising. It involves experimenting with different versions and elements of content to determine what resonates best with the audience and increases conversion rates, then refining approaches based on these findings.

How A/B Testing Is Conducted:

  1. Define the goal. What do you want to achieve? This could be increasing conversion, improving click-through rates, or another key metric.
  2. Select the element for testing. Choose a specific element you want to optimize (headline, image, button form, etc.).
  3. Split the audience. Randomly divide your audience into two groups: a control group (A) and an experimental group (B).
  4. Implement changes. Make alterations to the tested element in group B.
  5. Launch the test. Simultaneously launch both versions (A and B) to avoid external factors influencing the test. Ensure equal conditions for both versions to obtain reliable results.
  6. Collect data. Gather data on the performance of both groups. Use analytics tools to track key metrics.
  7. Analyze results. After the test, compare the results and determine which version was more successful in achieving the goals.
  8. Iterative process. Based on the results, make decisions. If the new version performs better, implement it. Otherwise, analyze why not and use this experience for further tests.

Increasing Loyalty and Customer Retention

The customer lifecycle, typically consisting of three key stages, requires specific marketing efforts from companies aiming for sustainable growth:

  1. Activation — capturing attention as the company seeks to generate interest during a user’s initial interaction with the brand and product. To gain trust and favor with potential customers, various trial and introductory campaigns, onboarding, gamification, offers for newcomers, and bonuses for “first actions” are used.
  2. Nurturing — the stage of building and strengthening relationships with customers. Characterized by ongoing marketing efforts such as limited sales, promotions, newsletters, educational articles and events, infographics and case studies, interactive tools, and community support.
  3. Reactivation — re-engaging customers to increase loyalty. For this purpose, reminders of abandoned carts, rewards for loyalty in the form of gifts and exclusive privileges, remarketing, personalized campaigns, and initiatives for purchase return are utilized.

All these stages are important for growth marketing tactics, and customers progress through them at their own pace. Experienced marketers use individually tailored campaigns to meet the changing needs of customers.

Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are one of the most effective marketing tools for attracting attention and prompting the audience to take specific actions. However, this only works when it provides real benefit and value to them. For example, it helps solve a particular common problem, preferably immediately. They also contribute to expanding your connections and strengthening authority.

Cross-Channel Marketing

In addition to broader reach, cross-channel marketing allows for optimizing advertising costs, more efficient use of cross-links and cross-sales, creating a more coherent customer experience through user-friendly channels, ensuring greater control over brand perception, and responding more quickly to changes in trends and preferences.

Social Media

Understanding the characteristics and preferences of the target audience, marketers can test, combine, and analyze which content generates the most response and engagement. This allows for iterations and achieving specific measurable goals, such as increasing recognition or sales. It’s essential not only to monitor competitors and trends but also to ensure that your content fully aligns with the brand’s image and value proposition.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is an integral part of a growth marketing strategy, laying the foundation for successful interaction with the audience and increasing the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts. Useful content attracts and retains attention, contributes to traffic growth and expertise establishment in its field, improves SEO and the company’s positions in search results, helps the target audience make purchase decisions faster, fosters the creation and support of a community around the brand, and shapes its unique style and recognizability.


While Growth Hacking is a short-term approach using unconventional marketing tactics for rapid growth, growth marketing is a broader and more strategic approach. Unlike traditional digital marketing, it encompasses the entire funnel and customer lifecycle to ensure more sustainable growth.

8 Key Steps for Implementing Growth Marketing in Your Business

  1. Start by studying the fundamentals of growth marketing and defining your own business goals.
  2. Clearly identify your target audience and select the most effective channels to reach them.
  3. Study competitors to determine what they are doing successfully and what you can apply to your own strategy.
  4. Formulate a clear and unique proposition for your audience to stand out in your market niche.
  5. Define key metrics most important for the success of your current growth strategy and continually track them.
  6. Begin using A/B testing to determine the effectiveness and optimization of marketing campaigns.
  7. Evolve gradually. Implement an iterative approach, draw conclusions from experience, and constantly improve your strategies.
  8. Keep trying, analyzing, learning, and exchanging experiences with the marketing community.

By planning and implementing the above steps gradually, even a novice can achieve significant results in business growth and development.

In the second part of the long read, I will detail such an outstanding marketing framework for achieving growth as the AAARRR (A3R3) funnel, and analyze each of its 6 stages. You will learn how to identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) and develop your business using successful growth marketing strategies!