During our Activate 20 call for speakers, we asked the Iterable community a two-pronged question: What does growth marketing mean to you, and which brands embody growth marketing?
Last month we shared ten of their interpretations of growth marketing, from which we derived several core themes.
As we had stated, growth marketing is:
- Data-first. It applies different insights gleaned from multiple stores of data.
- Customer-specific. It seeks out a deep understanding of who your customers are.
- Experience-driven. It creates marketing experiences that speak to individuals.
- Relationship-focused. It grows engagement and trust with every single customer touch.
- Optimization-minded. It pursues continual improvement.
With these themes in mind, which brands today are crushing the growth marketing game?
In this article, we reveal the 29 businesses in retail & e-commerce, technology, food & beverage, and travel & transportation that marketers themselves believe are leading their respected industries and driving long-term loyalty with their customers.
Retail & E-Commerce
Here are 11 of the hottest direct-to-consumer brands that are winning over shoppers:
- “I’ve experienced the power of growth marketing with Everlane recently, and it really connected with me. It’s omni-channel. Everywhere I experience Everlane in their emails, their Instagram stories, their customer service, and the delivery of their product to my door, I feel a consistent powerful message of strong, sturdy clothing produced ethically. They meet my needs at the center. They listen in their marketing rather than preach. They have my attention. Therefore, they can be expansive with their messaging on every channel.”
- “Peloton. This is a brand doing everything right. The product is based on a combination of powerful insights, including the importance of convenience, social proof, competition, the Milestone Effect, and even music in creating a superior exercise experience. The design of the bike, the personalities of the instructors, the screen size and aspects of the user interface—all contribute to a high-end experience that is worth paying more for. As evidence that it works, people attach themselves to the brand by wearing Peloton apparel and participating in massive and active Facebook Groups. Growth is achieved through marketing, yes, but also word-of-mouth fueled by referral incentives and genuine brand evangelism. Peloton users LIVE the brand.”
- “In my opinion, Glossier does an incredible job with their growth marketing. They started as a tiny brand that no one knew about, and in less than a decade, became one of the most well-known brands in the beauty industry. Instead of taking a batch-and-blast approach to marketing, Glossier focused on building a relationship with their customers by using a fun and honest voice. Receiving communications from Glossier feels like you are talking to a friend that you have known forever, which to me, automatically establishes trust in the brand. The company also highlights all people and shows that the beauty industry is meant to be diverse, and means something different to everyone. I love that Glossier is able to display all of this through its marketing strategy.”
- “Dollar Shave Club is very good at obtaining your explicit preferences before you even become a customer. They ask a bunch of questions as a means to get your preferences and then they tailor your email and web experience from there. Every time I go to their website or open an email or look at the physical mailer in my order, it’s always got something specifically for my preferences.”
- “I am obsessed with Rothy’s marketing. Their Oscar’s campaign from last year is one I go back to again and again as a phenomenal example of cross-channel marketing.”
- “Predictably, Amazon immediately comes to mind. From top to bottom of the funnel, all the way around to customer win-back, feedback, and retention, the constant testing (of which we can only observe a fraction) has largely contributed to the company’s lion share of global e-commerce.”
- “ThirdLove—for using data to create a better customer-focused product and shopping experience, implementing ‘radical’ ideas like Try Before You Buy and publishing a viral letter against Victoria’s Secret’s CMO.”
- “There are also so many online start-ups that are really using growth marketing models to take their brand recognition to the next level with the populations that serve them the most. Some of my personal favorites are Prose, Billie, and ThirdLove. They really understand their audiences and what they want, and I’ve found their targeting to be incredibly relevant whenever I’ve come across them.”
- “Many of the D2C retail companies (Allbirds, Warby Parker, etc.) show a tuned-in focus to what the customer wants, where they want to interact, and even when they want to do so.”
These are the 7 tech platforms that keep us clicking:
- “Spotify and Robinhood—Great practical examples of personalized notifications to leverage the right emotions to increase engagement.”
- “Netflix and Robinhood. For brands like these, there is a hardly a push notification that I don’t click on. They are very personalized and are based on smart models, knowing me better and connecting to me emotionally to check them.”
- “I love Hulu’s recent campaigns combining subscriptions with Spotify or Disney+ and ESPN. A bundled package that serves more than one interest sweetens the deal for customers who wouldn’t make the purchase of Hulu alone—and makes excellent use of partnerships with other strong brands to capture customers just outside their ideal customer profile.”
- “LinkedIn keeps things simple, yet always knows the right things to say at the right time to engage customers. They truly pay attention to the customer’s lifecycle to drive “micro” moments that make the customer feel like they 1) get value from the brand and 2) have fun in engaging in the brand and 3) make everything easy to do.”
- “Facebook truly embodies growth for me, because it first formalized the growth function and has relied on it year after year for exceeding its usage and engagement goals, leaving the world far more connected than ever, to the extent that it can sway people’s collective opinion. So growth at Facebook has really unlocked its impact on the world in a way that any other growth team has seldom achieved.”
- “I believe Instagram is a platform that embodies growth marketing. They are constantly evolving to become people’s number one source of internet news, shopping and other online trends. Marketers can use Instagram to help people do everything, from finding a new pair of shoes to planning which hotels to stay at on their vacation, or which restaurants to eat at. Instagram knows this and has evolved to make shopping on their platform easier.”
Food & Beverage
These 4 fast-food restaurants are serving up the tastiest campaigns:
- “Domino’s—they’re a tech company that delivers pizza. They continue to grow into a space that is largely vacant in their market and are setting the standard for a lot of what their competitors will have to catch up to.”
- “International brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s embody growth marketing because they have been able to shape their products to different customers around the world, becoming iconic and famous day by day in all countries.”
- “My favorite example of a great recent growth marketing strategy is Burger King. In their recent effort to troll McDonald’s, they’ve emerged as a leader in new marketing campaigns. A great example is their recent use of geofences around McDonald’s locations, in unison with their app. When a Burger King customer stepped into McDonald’s (if their Burger King app had location services enabled and push notifications enabled), they were immediately sent a push notification in which they were offered the ability to order a Whopper from the app, for just a few cents. This genius and comical campaign not only sparked buzz for the brand, but it also skyrocketed the app to be the top in the App Store. It’s brands like these that take creativity to the next level, create positive discussion, and explore new ideas that I think embody the exact growth marketing approach I try and take day-to-day (on a much smaller scale, of course).”
Travel & Transportation
These 6 travel and transportation brands continue to move consumers:
- “Lyft, because their brand message, in my opinion, focuses on independence—but from a reciprocal standpoint, which is liberating. They provide the freedom for people to earn money on their own terms and keep their own schedule, and they also provide freedom for riders to choose how they get around. Empowerment is key there, of course, in addition to convenience and cost.”
- “TripAdvisor does a great job with growth marketing. They create engaging content and distribute that content across devices. I receive frequent updates and suggestions based on my site browsing activity, which results in me going back to the site/app. They have created a community where users are willing to share their experiences with others. This user-generated content creates a more authentic and engaging experience.”
- “Delta Air Lines—Recently, I’ve been impressed with the pre-trip, during-trip updates/notifications and post-trip communications from Delta. I’m also impressed with the news out of CES this year. Delta seems to be placing their bets on hyper-personalized experiences in the near future, creating loyal customers in a space that is so often defined by the cheapest price.”
- “Although well established, I feel that Qantas is a brand that has continued to grow by diversifying their product offering and creating clever marketing loops to retain customers within their ecosystem. What begins with flight booking, can often result in joining their frequent flyer program. This then acts as a gateway to their email marketing comms and offers from their partners. Qantas now offers incentives for shopping with their preferred supermarket chains, car insurance companies, accommodation providers and much more. A legacy brand that could have easily stagnated has managed to evolve with the times and market.”
- “Airbnb grows their user base by reacting to users’ actions on their site and delivering them personalized, timely content to help users find a home to stay in.”
- “Scott’s Cheap Flights has a simple model that’s very effective: send users flight deals, no strings attached. They understand their user base and effectively monetize the clear user need for flight deals.”
Oh, and One More Mention…
…We promise we didn’t pay this person to say this:
- “Honestly, y’all at Iterable do an amazing job. It has been so fun to watch your brand evolve through webinars, blog posts, sales teams, and ACTIVATE! all while maintaining an amazing corporate culture.”
Become a Growth Marketing Superstar
We’re extremely flattered and humbled by our community including Iterable among these stellar brands—two of which will actually be speaking at Activate 20 this year!
Learn from Don Pilsbury, Head of Retention at Rothy’s; Joel Goyette, Senior Product Manager at Scott’s Cheap Flights; and 30+ innovative thought leaders so you can become a growth marketing superstar. Early bird pricing lasts until April 16, so don’t delay!