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Fail Forward to Master a Growth Marketing Mindset

Quartz Editorial Team

Quartz Editorial Team

Growth Marketing in Unusual Places

Growth marketing is an art form driven by curiosity, creativity, and the ability to learn on the go. Creative ideas and low budget strategies can make growth dreams a reality for shoestring startups.

Tom Goodwin is Head of Growth at Just, a debt collection startup. In a recent presentation on Quartz Network, he explains the growth marketing mindset while sharing some successful strategies he’s leaned on throughout his career.

Creating Viral Campaigns

Viral PR tactics have delivered growth and recognition for a number of companies he’s worked for over the years. 

At a small e-commerce startup, Goodwin used an affiliate marketing approach to secure relationships across multiple platforms. This strategy included landing affiliate deals with gift guides on Facebook that brought overnight success. They were literally scrambling to fill orders while selling out of hundreds of items daily. 

In any creative process, you might have maybe 10 or 12 different ideas and most of them probably aren’t going to work. But that’s okay, because you’re learning all the time.

Tom Goodwin, Head of Growth at Just

He based his approach on advice in the book “Trust Me, I’m Lying; Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” by Ryan Holiday, the former Marketing Director at American Apparel. 

At the time he was working for a small, family-owned business that had no chance of grabbing national press coverage. But Goodwin devised a successful tactic that landed them the exposure they were after. 

“We launched products on social media and then we’d demonstrate to the local press how popular that product was,” he explained. “Then, we’d take that local press coverage and send it to the national journalists.”

Fail Forward

Goodwin’s approach to marketing also follows the concept of “failing forward.” That is, figuring out ways to turn mistakes into stepping stones. 

“In any creative process, you might have maybe 10 or 12 different ideas and most of them probably aren’t going to work. But that’s okay, because you’re learning all the time,” he said. 


Watch the presentation, Growth Marketing in Unusual Places, for more innovative growth marketing tips.