What Is A Growth Marketing Framework? And How To Do It

calendar Oct 2, 2022
author Written by Artur Glukhovskyy

As with any aspect of marketing and business growth, there are lots of different marketing models, optimisation processes and customer funnel types for all types of marketing goals. 


In this article, we'll be diving into the growth marketing framework called the Pirate Funnel (also known as AAARRR) to define our customer journey and the G.R.O.W.S. process, which we’ll talk about a little further on.


Forget about traditional marketing strategies, we're all about a growth marketing plan with rapid growth, experimentation, and a data-driven approach to reach your business goals. 

The definition of the pirate funnel (AAARRR)


What is the Pirate Funnel?

The AAARRR framework or Pirate Funnel is a growth marketing framework used to gain answers to the questions posed at each of the funnel stages.


The answers to these questions can be utilised in your growth marketing strategy to create content and effective marketing campaigns. 


1. Awareness

The first stage in the funnel also ties into the final stage – referral.


This creates a cycle where new customers/users, interacting with a company for the first time, pass through each of the funnel stages, and as they exit, they recommend other people to your company to start the cycle over.


Understanding the target audience in the awareness stage of your growth marketing framework lies in the advertising channels your company markets through.


For example, vanity metrics will tell us things like:


The type of metric varies depending on the channel being used but commonly, marketing channels used to gain awareness will include landing pages, social media and email.


2. Acquisition

The second stage of the funnel is about making customers engage with your content. This is less about volume and more about quality and sustainable growth with healthy conversion rates.


Effective acquisition in the growth marketing framework isn't just about numbers; it's about ensuring the right customers move through the entire funnel.


We do this by defining our customers using buyer personas. It’s much easier to ideate and create growth experiments once we know exactly who we should be talking to, in terms of our audience. This way we can alter the growth strategies focused on the needs of our customers. 


You can also use Gabriel Weinberg’s Bullseye Framework to identify the 19 traction channels.


3. Activation

The third stage is about forming a powerful connection between your product or service and the user.


They need to be blown away by the experience and compelled to engage.


Buyer personas are once again useful here as they help determine customer pain points and how you can solve them.


Another tool is to gain feedback from customers about what they value most and focus on strengthening that.


Most digital products or services will have an onboarding process of sorts. Dig into this process and see how customers are responding throughout then make necessary changes that optimise performance.


4. Retention

Perhaps one of the key metrics for analysing your growth marketing strategy is retention, a pivotal metric in the growth marketing framework.


Retention is mainly analysed by looking at a company’s customer churn rate.


In short, customer churn is how many people stop using your products or services within a given timeframe, for example, a month or a quarter.


As marketers, we know that the cost per acquisition can be up to 5x as much as selling to existing ones. This places a heavy focus on customer retention strategies.


The Kano Model helps marketers rank a product’s features and benefits in the importance of customer satisfaction. Knowing what to prioritise for customers can be the difference between positive retention rates and negative churn rates.


5. Revenue

In the growth marketing framework, this stage tells us how much money is earned from each customer, also known as the customer lifetime value, or CLTV.


For customers that continue to spend with a company, the CLTV will be greater. The same works for the reverse.


The CLTV metric is important because it tells us which types of customers are loyal and continue to produce revenue for the business.


This data can be used for retargeting customers and tells marketers which channels and which buyer personas they should be marketing to, increasing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.


6. Referral

The final stage in the Pirate Funnel is fairly self-explanatory - this one’s about the users who love your product or service so much, that they tell other people about it.


Hopefully, this will create traffic and another long-term customer for the business.


Some companies have dedicated referral campaigns embedded in their email marketing strategy after a purchase. 


The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a good system for measuring customer feedback. The most common example would be something like, “On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or family member?”


This feedback can also help to update your customer journey for a seamless customer experience. 


Other forms of referral include social media sharing buttons, reviews and testimonials, and inviting friends to a service product.


Exiting the funnel, entering the experiment

The Pirate Funnel gives growth teams actionable data from each stage of the customer journey to analyse the marketing efforts derived from the growth marketing framework. 


The next step then, in our growth marketing process, is to create ideas and implement them. To illustrate how best to do this, we’ll be using the experiment-driven process known as the G.R.O.W.S. process.


In the next section, we’ll break down this industry-leading framework, including each of the 5-steps and what they entail.


Growth Tribe’s G.R.O.W.S. Process

The G.R.O.W.S. process is a 5-step loop for running marketing experiments, an important aspect of your growth marketing approach.


This model is used widely by growth marketing teams and growth hackers, this process helps teams gather, create and implement experiments.


The 5 steps are:

  1. Gather ideas
  2. Rank Ideas
  3. Outline experiments
  4. Work, work, work
  5. Study data

The Growth Tribe G.R.O.W.S. Process

Now let’s look at each step in more detail.


1. Gather Ideas

Using the data collected from the Pirate Funnel, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what the business needs to do so that it can overcome its growth problem.


This singular objective is called the OMTM’ or ‘One Metric That Matters’. This will become the area of focus for your first run using the G.R.O.W.S. process.


Once we have our OMTM, it’s time to start gathering ideas. This task is not exclusive to only the marketing team either, for additional perspectives and to enhance the power of the collective mind, get as many people from as many departments as possible to share ideas.


Every proposed solution can be listed and compiled into your backlog. This way, you’ll have a go-to playbook of ideas for future experiments without having to take too much time away from the teams.


Think about these aspects when creating ideas for experiments:


2. Rank Ideas

Keeping in mind that growth marketing is a long-term strategy and often is tasked with getting results on a limited budget, you’ll want to sort through your growth opportunities and rank them from best to worst.


We want to start with ideas that have the greatest chance of success. For ranking ideas, growth marketers use two frameworks:

Growth Tribe BRASS Score


The graphic above explains how ideas are measured and scored - whichever idea comes out top is the one to start with!


3. Outline Experiments

The outline phase of the process lets us map out how an experiment will play out.

When it comes to outlining your experiment, think about these sorts of things:

  • What timescale will you allow for the experiment? Generally, this sits between 2 and 4 weeks in most cases. Think about what your goal is and the realistic amount of time you’ll need to implement it, track it and analyse the data.

  • Check you can do it! Do you have the right tools for the job? Will you need additional software, a higher budget, or different skill sets beyond the scope of your team?

  • Who needs to be involved? Will the experiment require approval from stakeholders or higher management? Or can you hit the ground running with minimal oversight?


For the growth marketing strategy to be at its most effective, you ideally want to have experiments that can be implemented quickly (a couple of days), won’t stretch your budget, that you already have the majority if not all of the tools ready, and that doesn’t involve long-winded approval processes.


4. Work, Work, Work

Gather the team and get to work!


One of the popular growth hacking methods, called sprints, speeds things up using short, incremental cycles to test ideas.


To keep things moving at a nice pace and so not to waste time, make sure the entire team knows who’s doing that and keep communication up. Constantly backtracking to repeat or explain things can needlessly slow down the experiment.


5. Study the Data

Check the experiment has worked! Collate all of the data from your experiment and get ready to compile it into presentable information. Visual tools like graphs and pie charts work well here as pretty much anyone will understand what you’re showing them.


If the data check out and the experiment has been a success, expect numerous pats on the back but if not, go back to step 1 and restart the process!


Wrapping up

So that’s it! We’ve covered how growth marketers identify and create problem-solving strategies using the Pirate Funnel and the G.R.O.W.S. process.


All in the name of creating long-term and sustainable business growth through an optimised growth marketing framework.


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  • Module 2: Make data work for you
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