The 5 Stages of Growth Marketing

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. 

How can any company expect to get customers through the door if they’re not rigorously and adamantly, trying to promote their goods and services the best way they can?

And based on the numbers, the vast majority of brands seem to be caught up with this fact. Over 500,000 new businesses get incorporated in the US every year, and over 200 billion dollars is collectively spent on marketing as well.

So there’s no denying that, as a business owner, you’re in the business of crafting a message that helps you cut out through the noise. Because truth be told, even in the smallest of markets, it can be hard to stand out from the pack, and prosper. And it’s for this reason that now (more than ever), it’s become essential to have a marketing strategy that not only helps you acquire customers—but retain them for the long haul. And in 2023, there is one marketing framework that helps you accomplish this aim better than any other: growth marketing.

In this short guide, we’ll be showing what is, how can it help you — and the 5 stages your business must undergo in order to ensure sustained marketing success.

Let’s start from the beginning.

What is Growth Marketing, Exactly?

Well, picture it like marketing 2.0. It’s an evolution from the traditional marketing model, in which you would launch campaigns and forget they even occurred.

Growth marketing takes the concepts of promotion up a notch, by adding layers that optimize the entire customer journey, and maximize each step of the marketing funnel for optimal results.

Several of these so-called layers can be anything from A/B testing, value-packed blog posts, data-driven email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization, creative ad copy, and technical analysis of every aspect of a user’s experience.

Growth marketers gather the many insights from these methods to adjust (or double down if need be) and achieve the ultimate goal: viable growth. And that’s the main difference growth marketing holds from the traditional model.

It’s not looking to simply launch campaigns and “hope” that they work; but to analyze and collect data required to make them work—that and, many of these other notable differences:

  • Traditional marketing is one-off. Growth marketing is continual.
  • Traditional marketing is top of the funnel driven. Growth marketing focuses on the entire funnel journey.
  • Traditional marketing seeks to acquire customers. Growth marketing seeks to acquire, nurture & sustain these customers.

And lastly, while on traditional marketing you create the plan, launch it & call it a day, on growth marketing the process never ends. It’s an endless loop of iterations, trying to squeeze as much as it can out of your marketing efforts.

But alright—now that we’ve covered what growth marketing is in a nutshell, now let’s talk about the 5 stages of a successful growth marketing plan (and all the strategies that underpin it…).

Note: these are all strategies you can start applying today to get more bank for your buck out of your marketing. No stones left unturned.

The Five Stages of Growth

Ever heard about the AARRR framework?

It’s one of the most popular systems in the world of growth marketing. And rightfully so, it encapsulates the entire process of taking a prospect from stranger to raving fan. It stands for:

  • Acquisition (how your customers find you)
  • Activation (how quickly can you get a prospect believe in your message/brand)
  • Retention (how many customers are sticking with your brand)
  • Referral (how can you turn your customers into advocates)
  • Revenue (how do you profit when it’s all said & done)

What’s so great about this framework, is that it divides your growth strategies into five stages that funnel your prospect all the way through. It follows a logical, step-by-step procedure, and any brand can use it to reach the sustainable growth they desire from their marketing efforts.

Up next, we’ll be addressing every stage with several strategies that help you make the most out of each one.


This is the stage most businesses are familiar with. Here is where you turn leads into customers. You’re taking people on the path of awareness about your brand, to actually purchasing for you.

Now, obviously, this stage is crucial for any form of business success, since you can’t expect to survive as a company if you don’t acquire new customers on a regular basis. And that’s why customer acquisition costs tend to constantly be on the rise.

It is therefore, essential that you build a cost-efficient acquisition strategy that involves multiple marketing channels, so you can attack this obstacle from all angles. We’ll be sharing some of the best acquisition strategies below:

Content marketing

Great content is always a nice, organic way to drive leads through the door. Be with eBooks, social media, courses, videos, or any form of digital platform, it’s a great way to inform, educate, and demonstrate your expertise to your target audience.

All in all, it gets the job done.

Online Communities

Regardless of how much time you’ve been using the Internet since it first came out, you likely have formed part of an online community at least once in your life.

We all congregate somewhere, usually around topics we’re passionate about or regarding problems we would like to solve. And there is no better way to build trust & create a sense of camaraderie around your brand than building an online community. It will allow you to communicate authority, help your audience, and funnel prospects into your solutions.

Paid Ads

Not all acquisition strategies are organic—however, there is a strategy to buy-your-way-into-a-customer (and that is by leveraging paid advertising).

And in 2023, there is both an affordable and effective way to convert leads into customers: and that is with YouTube Ads.

That being said—in a nutshell, the 3 main components to create customer-pulling YouTube Ads are: Strategy - Targeting - Creative

Get these 3 on point, and you’ll drive more than enough paid traffic to your funnel.

Now, if you’re interested in leveraging YouTube Ads as one of your main acquisition strategies, we’ve helped create over $30M in revenue for our clients just with YouTube Ads alone. Schedule a free strategy call with one of our experts to see how we can help you grow.

Anyway—back to the next stage:


Here is where the fun begins.

At this stage your customer is already aware of your product & it's even in the process of using it himself. The activation phase is where your customer realize the true value of your offering. Here your main goal is providing the best customer experience possible and get them to say: “aha, this is exactly what I’ve needed all along”.

This step is crucial because it’s way easier to sell your product to an existing customer once again, than to acquire a new one. So put a great deal of effort into this phase.

Here are a couple strategies that can help you get the job done:

Blogging/Personalized email campaigns

Are you putting out the right content that will get your customers to engage with you? This should be your #1 priority in this stage. You need assess whether or not your content pipeline is relevant to your target audience. If not, back to the drawing board. 

A well-structured blog and hyper-personalized email campaigns are a great way to have meaningful conversations w/ your customers, communicate value (and are one of the best ways to collect valuable feedback as well.)

So ask yourself, “is my content aligned with what my target audience expects from me?” This is generally a good starting point.

Landing page/conversion rate optimization

Your conversion rate is an all-important metric that you should keep an eye on not only on the activation stage, but in acquisition too.

The conversion rate allows you to gauge quite effectively if your audience is resonating with your message (or not.) Which is why this metric is key.

Leveraging your conversion rate as the main north star of your marketing efforts will allow you to take the guesswork out of the equation, and make the necessary changes required to provide the best experience to your leads.

Tip: if you’re experiencing low conversion rates on your landing page or funnel, that can typically be solved by tinkering with your copy and/or brand message. Just one thing to consider.


You already put in the time & money into acquiring new customers for your brand, now it’s time to make sure that they stick for the long haul. And what is the way to keep somebody engaged?

Reach out to them consistently.

Here are some of the best customer retention strategies out there:

Clean up your email list/run re-engagement campaigns every 6 months

Not every customer or subscriber you acquire will be serious about sticking with your brand for the long run (and this is okay.) But you should be constantly whittling out the wannabes from your funnel as soon as you can.


Well, quite simply, these people cost you money; and in most cases, they even compromise the data you acquire from your customer base. So a good rule of thumb is to run some air-tight re-engagement campaigns every 6 or so months (and clean up your list in the same timeframe too).

So—if someone hasn’t engaged with your brand in the past 6 months, sorry to break it to you, but they’re gone.

Provide genuine value/offer rewards & special perks to your customers

This one ties back to one of the strategies in the activation stage. You should be providing genuine value to your customer base every chance you get. 

But to take this step up a notch… you could try to offer special rewards and loyalty programs to your existing customers to create goodwill.

Special discounts. Early access. Freebies. Thank you notes. Anything that can make your customer feel special.

Sometimes the smallest of gestures can go a long way.

Conduct surveys/offer good customer service

This one goes without saying, but you should be staying on top of your game when it comes to customer satisfaction. It’s astonishing just how many brands tend to mess this key thing up.

You have to show that you care.

Conducting surveys periodically, and making sure that your customer service is always there for your customer… is a crucial aspect of creating raving fans that vouch for your product and service.


You already put in the hours to acquire new customers, nurture them and turn them into raving fans. So what’s left?

Reaping the rewards.

The referral stage is when you leverage your customers’ loyalty for marketing your brand. At this point, your customers love your product so much that they’re willing to promote on your behalf. This is where the larger than life brands are created; here is where your name becomes synonymous with quality in that particular industry.

The main strategies that can help you make the most of it are:

  1. Creating a customer referral program: one that encourages your customers to bring you leads for a reward; and
  1. Leveraging influencer marketing to get the word out on your brand: simply put, you connect with established social media influencers in your space for collaborations to drive leads to your business.

These final two strategies will only offer you a true ROI once you’ve built a genuinely awesome customer base (so that’s why we saved the best for last). So—

Our Conclusion

Growth marketing is a new way to get the word out on the street of your amazing products and services—with an approach that is data-driven, cohesive, and customer-centric.

If you’re interested of implementing such an approach for your own brand, don’t forget to schedule a free strategy call with one of our experts to find out how we can help you grow.

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