Drop the campaign mindset

Traditionally, marketing is organised around campaigns. But campaigns are fundamentally temporary, and not systematic. For this reason, growth marketing emphasises always-on forms of marketing that run continuously and can continuously be optimised. Always-on systems that can continuously be optimised on a regime of high-tempo testing typically outperform everything else. Stop thinking in campaigns—start thinking in systems.


  • In the mindset of a growth marketer, the product is intrinsically tied to the marketing. You build a product in such a way, that distribution can be built into it. Everything is holistically integrated: all the pieces of the business model fit together. You want to constantly be tuning the system, to make everything play perfectly together.
  • In order to do that, it is disturbing to completely change your marketing approach every couple of months, as you switch campaigns. Growth marketers want things to be stable and constant, so that things can be optimised and fine-tuned over time.
  • For many organisations, this focus towards evergreen and always ongoing forms of marketing is quite a departure in their traditional way of working. Expect some hesitancy and pushback!
  • Campaigns are mostly relevant for large brands that have such a large audience and such enormous reach, that they can quickly reach almost their entire audience. Think Coca Cola, Amazon, or Mercedes. For them, campaigns are important, because they constantly need to have something new to say.
  • If you are a smaller player however, it is much more important to just communicate one consistent message over time. Repetition is your friend. Repetition is your friend. Repetition is your friend.
  • We think there are some exceptions to this rule. Campaigns can be relevant for time-sensitive events like a launch, or relevant external events like Black Friday, the start of summer, or the World Cup. Campaigns can then tie in nicely with opportunities for PR and publicity. It is rare though for startups to scale based on these kinds of campaigns.
  • Mostly, growth marketers should focus on building systems and driving continuous optimisation. Look for continuous, always-on processes. Systems that can be optimised through continuous testing, will typically — over time — outperform everything else.

In Practice

Fashion retailer H&M historically relied on splashy seasonal campaigns around new designer collaborations or themed collections. This drummed up short bursts of buzz and traffic around product launches.

Meanwhile, Everlane keeps messaging consistent year-round. Their focus is driving repeat purchases by nurturing loyalty and retention. Everlane communicates brand values around ethical factories and quality materials continuously through content and community building.

For H&M, campaigns spike interest but growth is choppy. In contrast, Everlane aims for steady, sustainable growth by using always-on marketing to cement lasting relationships with customers.

Campaigns often grab more eyeballs due to novelty. But always-on tactics that reinforce core messages week after week, year after year, build deeper customer intimacy and trust in the long run.

H&M's marketing pops loudly to generate episodic sales. Everlane's grows quietly but surely by converting customers into true advocates over time through an always-on approach.

Pair with

Growth is slow, before it is fast