How Growth Loops are Powering Rapid & Sustainable Success in Startups

Jun 11, 2022


Narayan Prasath

As marketers, we have fallen for the AAARRR framework - Awareness → Acquisition → Activation → Retention → Revenue → Referral.

I get it, it's a neat, tidy, step-by-step process to map out the customer journey.

It has become a prevalent framework due to its simplicity and linear structure.

It allows marketers to categorize and measure each stage of the customer's interaction with a product or service.

But the landscape of growth and product marketing has shifted dramatically in recent years. This shift calls for a more advanced, nuanced approach, leading to the emergence of Growth Loops.

AAARRR fails to capture the intricacies of human behavior. Customer interaction is rarely linear; it's a complex, cyclical process, shaped by various internal and external influences and personal preferences.

The AAARRR model, with its sequential view of the customer journey, often misses the interconnectedness of these stages. Its focus on acquisition at the expense of retention and engagement leads to strategies that favor new customer attraction over the nurturing of existing ones, potentially impeding long-term sustainable growth.

In simple terms using more matured and nuanced models that helps us really to understand how customers engage and how value is being created is the kernel behind growth loop modeling. Growth Loops offer that.

Growth Loops pinpoint the core actions within the customer journey that deliver value to the customer, drive monetization for the company, and demonstrate how these interactions create positive externalities that sustain the flywheel.

Unlike AAARRR's linear approach, Growth Loops are built around recurring activity cycles, focusing on behavioral drivers rather than a marketing-function sequence from acquisition to revenue.

Growth Loops look at Inputs, Actions, and Outputs the base framework.

Growth Loops represent a self-perpetuating mechanism that transforms user engagement into a catalyst for growth, fostering a cycle of compounding expansion.

We'll delve into popular Growth Loops from leading SaaS companies to better understand this model.

Note: This article doesn't claim that Growth Loops were the sole reason for these companies' expansion. There are countless factors contributing to their growth. However, we assert that Growth Loops played a pivotal role in their product development and overall success.








A few more examples:

  • Etsy

  • Miro

  • Slack

  • Quora

  • Uber

  • Airbnb

  • Netflix

  • Hubspot

  • LinkedIn

  • Doordash

  • G2

  • Venmo

  • Deepstash

  • Dropbox

  • SurveyMonkey

  • Spotify

  • Gumroad

  • Patreon

  • Typeform

  • Convertkit

  • and more


Growth and Product teams of fast-growing Saas startups have embraced Growth Loops as it offers a clear look into how product growth occurs. There are different types of Growth Loops, and there's more to deep dive in this framework, which we will be covering in our upcoming blog posts.

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