Growth marketing is a huge field, and relies on a vast array of diverse strategies, tactics, and acquisition channels to deliver growth for your business. The principles of growth marketing can be applied to practically any business, and help to deliver growth through a process of rapid ideation, experimentation, and optimization.
There’s no shortage of places to learn about growth marketing: there are countless industry blogs and well-established experts to follow. But as with any form of learning, it’s crucial to make sure that the information you’re consuming comes from a credible source.
Growth marketing moves incredibly fast. As a discipline, it’s driven by constant iteration, newly emerging best practices, and ever-improving technology. Some––or many––of the opinions you might read and take as gospel simply don’t hold up anymore.
In this article, we’ll explore 16 of the most common myths and misconceptions in the growth marketing world. As you continue your learning journey, bear these in mind. Interrogating assumptions and challenging commonly held knowledge is at the heart of any growth marketing agency, and you should apply that same approach as you learn about the industry.
Ready? Let’s deconstruct the most prevalent myths and misconceptions out there today!
#1 You should only focus on last-click attribution
We get it: everyone wants to know which marketing channels are responsible for driving revenue. The easiest (aka, laziest) way to do that is to use a last-click attribution model: attributing revenue from a sale to the last marketing touchpoint the customer interacted with.
This completely overlooks the important role all kinds of other sources play. Consumers interact with your brand many times, through all kinds of channels, before getting out their wallet.
The implications of over-indexing on last-click attribution can be disastrous. Reallocating spend to different channels based on a last-click attribution model could have a domino effect on your campaign results, and severely limit your ability to test channels like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and more. Increase spend in one channel that’s attributed with a lot of last-click conversions, and you could easily see the performance of your marketing stack crumble.
Pro Tip: adding a “How did you hear about us?” question to your demo request form or checkout page can produce high-quality insights into the channels that are working the best.
#2 Test every channel
There’s no shortage of potential acquisition channels, and it’s tough to know which ones will work. But don’t be tempted to just test every channel out: be intentional and focus on the channels that make the most sense for your business.
Few businesses can afford to test every channel, and even if they can, it’s difficult to get a read for what works when you’re spreading your budget thin across a number of different platforms. Instead, your approach should be shaped by user research.
Listen closely to your customers and make an effort to deeply understand their perspective. Pay attention to where they are, and how they interact with your business. User research should, in some shape or form, play a role in the design of any new channel or tactic strategy.
#3 It worked for one company, so it’ll work for you too
We’re all for exchanging ideas, chatting about growth tactics, and borrowing inspiration from other places. Connecting with fellow founders, engaging with your network, or talking to a mentor is extremely helpful as you grow, but it can lead to you chasing ideas that don’t drive growth for your business.
Your business is unique. It solves a specific problem, for a specific group of people, in a specific way. A growth strategy that worked for another business––even one in the same industry as you––isn’t guaranteed to work. Avoid the temptation to take strategies that worked for others and directly apply them to your business; instead, focus on your users and the unique value your business provides to them.
#4 TikTok only works for younger demographics and DTC brands
TikTok might be known for dance videos and silly challenges, but it was actually the most visited website in the world last year. More people visited TikTok than Facebook, Google, or YouTube. And it’s true that there are a lot of young people on TikTok, and that it’s a great channel for DTC brands.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not also an incredible channel for businesses in other verticals. At Tuff, we’ve seen TikTok work REALLY well for businesses in the Fintech and B2B SaaS spaces. Try it out – we bet you’ll be surprised with the results.
#5 Top of the funnel channels don’t drive bottom-line results
If you’re stuck on a last-click attribution model, it can be easy to think that investments into the top of your funnel don’t show a tangible return on your bottom line. But here’s the reality: without the right investment in top of funnel channels, there is no bottom of the funnel where customers convert.
Countless studies have shown the synergy between different channels at different stages of the funnel. To convert users, it’s critical to get in front of them at every stage of their buying journey, from driving awareness and demand at the top of the funnel to nudging your prospects towards conversion as they learn more about your business.
#6 Our product is right for everyone
If you’ve invested lots of time and money in developing a new product, and have fallen in love with its potential, it’s easy to think that everyone will feel the same way. While this can be the case for the world’s biggest brands (think the iPhone), it’s probably not the case for your startup.
If you try to appeal to too broad an audience, it’s more than likely you’ll end up wasting a lot of your ad dollars on audiences that won’t convert. Instead, carry out initial research and audience testing to identify groups of people that are most likely to buy your product or service, and then cater your growth marketing approach to reach them directly.
#7 Facebook is the only scalable channel
Look, Facebook, with its huge reach, different platforms, and sophisticated targeting algorithms, is more than likely going to play some kind of role in your growth marketing strategy. But to say it’s the only truly scalable channel – well that’s a flat-out lie.
Since the launch of iOS14 last year, many businesses have been focused on channel diversification, branching out to other platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, and programmatic display ads. A diverse mix of channels adds strength, reduces dependence on any one channel, and provides your brand with a broader range of touchpoints to engage with customers.
#8 Good growth marketing will deliver instant results
Want to know the ultimate secret for skyrocketing your growth overnight?
It doesn’t exist.
Scaling a business is hard. It’s a process, one that requires investment, patience, and continuous, iterative improvement. It’s just not possible to flip a switch and profitably acquire thousands of new customers overnight – otherwise everyone would be doing it.
Embracing a growth marketing philosophy puts your business on a path to creating a sustainable growth curve. It’s about investing your marketing dollars intelligently, with a balance between high-risk/high-reward strategies and stable, proven tactics. It’s about creating valuable, relevant marketing campaigns that speak directly to your buyer’s needs. And it’s about a commitment to constant improvement that over time, delivers a meaningful impact to your bottom line.
#9 More money = more customers
At some level, there’s some truth to this statement. The business with a $1m marketing budget is virtually always going to attract more customers than the business with $100k to spend.
But there’s a lot of variables that are equally, or more, important than the amount of capital you’ve got at your disposal. If you don’t have the right strategy, or growth marketers to execute it, it’s easy to waste a big budget, fast. The scale of platforms like Google and Facebook mean you can easily spend a month’s budget in an afternoon. Besides, throwing more money at a channel doesn’t guarantee better results, especially if you’re not set up to track the right KPIs. Scaling ad spend effectively demands a deliberate, strategic approach: not a blank checkbook.
#10 If you build it, they will come
Content plays a key role in growth marketing. You could create the best content in the world, but if you don’t tell anyone about it, they’ll never consume it. In growth marketing, content distribution is just as important––if not more important––than content creation.
To be successful, it’s vital you discover sustainable, scalable ways to get your content in front of your target audience.
#11 You need all the right tools
There’s an arsenal of growth marketing tools out there that you can incorporate into your growth marketing stack, but you’d be surprised at what you can achieve with free tools like Google Analytics.
As you scale, you’ll definitely benefit from the detailed analytics available from more sophisticated platforms, but access to these platforms should never hold you back from testing out new channels, learning about your audience, and developing strategies that work.
#12 Gated content works
The idea behind gated content is simple: in exchange for some value-add content, you get a lead’s contact information. But in our experience, gated content just adds friction to the process, and causes potential leads to drop out of your funnel, never to be heard from again.
Nobody wants to field phone calls and emails from your sales reps just for a PDF. If you truly believe in the value of the content you’re putting out there, then share it openly. Far more people will read it and will interact with your business organically, on their own terms.
#13 It’s all about speed
A lot of people are rooted in the belief that growth marketing occurs at breakneck speed, and adopt the ‘move fast and break things’ mantra – but that era is over now.
Sure, growth marketing moves quicker than conventional marketing, and it’s true that growth marketers rely on a lot of rapid ideation, testing, and iteration. But successful growth marketing is anchored in long-term thinking. Creating a sustainable, scalable growth marketing model cements a defensible long-term competitive advantage, and while it might take some patience to get there, it’s absolutely worth the investment.
#14 Every decision needs to be supported by data
A lot of growth marketing decisions are––and should––be backed by data, but that shouldn’t be the case for every single decision. Sometimes, you’ve got to go with your gut, trusting the intuition and experience of your growth marketing team to guide you down the right path.
We often see teams try to back into data to support every decision they make. This impacts speed, creativity, and even accuracy; after all, it’s possible to spin data to support any narrative you like. It’s important to accept that not every decision, strategy, or tactic is a guaranteed success. As a growth marketer, you’ll make mistakes. What counts is that you learn from them, and take forward the lessons and apply them to future decisions.
#15 Any design will do
Creative is central to the success of growth marketing, and you ignore it at your peril. As consumers, we’ve all built up some level of immunity to ads: after all, we see thousands every day.
Many marketers overlook the importance of creative, instead preferring to focus on shaping strategy, allocating spend, and building out audiences. But without killer creative, none of that matters. Your ads will blend in, potential customers will scroll right on by, and you’ll spend your entire budget with little to show for it.
With the huge array of channels we growth marketers have at our disposal, it’s never been easier to get the word out. But at the same time, it’s never been harder to stand out. Meaningful, impactful creative is the secret sauce that helps set your brand apart.
#16 You can do it without a team
Effective growth marketing demands a wide range of skills. It’s impossible for one person to handle everything alone: they’ll quickly become overwhelmed, and progress will be minimal.
At Tuff, we take a different approach. Every client is paired with a growth marketer responsible for setting goals, shaping strategy, and overseeing successful execution. From there, we draft in channel specialists to work on everything from Google Ads to content strategy – they’re true masters of their craft who dive into the details, optimize every tiny aspect of your strategy, and deliver results on a channel-by-channel basis.
Successful growth marketing demands expertise, and real expertise demands a team of specialists who live and breathe their craft – not a lone wolf going it alone.
Interested in learning more about growth marketing? Check out our Growth Marketing Guide for an overview of what we’re learning about and working on right now.
Want to talk to us about growth marketing strategies for your business? We’re down – schedule an intro call now.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.