Right side up logo





How to Navigate the Changing Landscape of Performance and Lifecycle Marketing


March 18, 2024


Right Side Up recently hosted a live Q&A featuring Justin Gorrell, team principal at Right Side Up and former head of growth marketing at Coinbase. Justin fielded questions from industry professionals about performance and lifecycle marketing, staffing strategies for 2024, marketing attribution and measurement, and marketing technology, all in service of helping brands kick-start their growth efforts this year. Register to watch the full recording for all of Justin’s growth marketing insights.

In the constantly evolving landscape of growth marketing, staying on top of the latest trends, technology, and strategies is key for helping your brand remain competitive and reaching your target audience. With rapid advancements in technology, challenges with measurement and attribution, and the emergence of new platforms and channels, marketers must be ready to adapt their approaches to stay ahead of the curve. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions for marketers looking to launch, relaunch, or scale their performance or lifecycle marketing efforts in 2024.

Marketing Channel Diversification

There are more ways to connect with your audience today than ever before, but with so many options, how do you know which channels to prioritize and how to allocate your budget across your marketing mix?

Are you ready to add a new channel to your mix?

Before we look at how to know which channel to explore, it’s important to know whether you’re ready to try a new channel (at all) in the first place. Generally speaking, you’re probably ready to test new channels if your growth is capping out with your existing marketing mix. If you’re starting to see diminishing returns relative to your target KPIs and believe you have already optimized every available lever, that’s a sign that you should consider channel diversification.

Another indicator? If you or someone on your marketing team has a strong case for reaching new potential customers more efficiently in a new channel, it’s worth testing it out.

How to prioritize channels for diversification

Regardless of whether you’re focusing on performance or lifecycle marketing, it’s important to apply a realistic and effective framework. To help determine the optimal marketing mix, consider the following:

  • Who is the target audience for your product or service?
  • What is your goal and/or the KPI you’re attempting to move with marketing? For example, are you trying to increase demand by generating awareness? Or are you trying to capture customers through conversion-based marketing?
  • Where is your target audience already spending time? Are they on content sites, Google, Meta, or maybe a combination?

Once you know who you’re targeting, what you want them to do, and where they are, weigh that against your current marketing mix and identify any channels where your audience is and you aren’t. Then prioritize the channels where you have the appropriate resources, from a technical, staffing, and budget perspective.

Navigating Privacy Changes and Attribution Challenges

Regardless of the channels in your marketing mix, knowing how to measure your efforts is key to understanding your success. With recent privacy changes from Apple, Meta, and Google, marketers are facing more challenges than ever when it comes to attribution. So with less data about customers and their behavior, how can you effectively measure your marketing efforts?

Historically, the world of digital marketing has relied on deterministic, user-level attribution through actions like clicks—you’d gather data that shows how someone clicked on your ad, went to your site, and made a purchase and then attach it directly to that user. This model made it fairly easy to connect which customers were coming from which sources. That’s no longer the case.

Today, that kind of user-level tracking is increasingly rare, and instead, marketers must rely on aggregate attribution. We saw this back with the iOS 14 privacy changes and how that caused a huge decrease in the effectiveness of advertising on Meta and other platforms reliant on using Apple’s user identifier to connect to actions completed in an advertiser’s product. Because these ad platforms lost the key signal used to connect identity to in-product behaviors, it became much more difficult to optimize ads toward users most likely to complete those behaviors. Since then, many platforms affected have improved their attribution and optimization capabilities. For example, Meta has improved their use of robust machine learning, which has allowed many marketers to once again find success in marketing their iOS apps on the platform.

Back to the past in the future?

Some of the attribution methods of the future are likely to return to a model similar to what we’ve seen in TV advertising or direct mail campaigns, where marketers measure their efforts through media mix modeling. This approach to attribution aims to tell you the contribution and incremental impact to your KPIs of each individual channel in your mix, as well as help you better predict how future budget scenarios are likely to affect your KPIs.

To understand incrementality on a channel by channel basis, you’ll need to employ lift and holdout studies at scale, which may or may not be something you’re prepared to do in-house. Several third-party companies can provide these services if your team doesn’t have the capacity.

A note on A/B testing vs. incrementality testing

When it comes to testing, different methods are better for answering different questions and measuring different results. And while A/B testing and incrementality testing are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually provide distinct, yet equally important, information for your business.

  • Incrementality testing looks at the impact of a marketing activity compared to doing nothing at all. In other words, you need to measure your marketing campaign against a control (i.e. a holdout) that has no marketing inputs. This will help you understand whether your efforts are driving truly incremental customers.
  • A/B testing measures two variants against each other, like two versions of ad copy, design elements, or images, to help you understand which variants are most impactful. It will not tell you what would happen if neither variant was in market.

Both approaches offer valuable insights and should be used in tandem to inform your optimization efforts.

Lifecycle Marketing for Sustained Profitability

As you test out your ideal marketing mix and find a successful approach to attribution, keep in mind the balance of growth vs. profitability. The era of “growth at all costs” is seemingly coming to an end as many investors and leaders shift their focus to sustained profitability. For marketers, that often means tighter budgets, lower headcounts, and a stronger need to prove out your strategy before scaling marketing spend. 

Lifecycle marketing plays a key role in this shifting environment since retaining and engaging existing customers will help to reduce churn and is crucial for profitability. Working in tandem with your product team, your approach should focus on encouraging existing customers to fully buy into your product ecosystem and keeping these customers engaged with your product.

Staffing Strategies for Growth Marketing Teams

Related to the shift toward profitability, we’ve seen significant layoffs and staff reductions across many industries over the past few years, particularly among marketing teams. And with increased challenges, plus reduced budgets, it’s likely that marketing staffing will remain a tricky component to balance for many businesses. 

One key factor in the current environment is that many brands, particularly in the tech sector, over-hired and became bloated relative to the perceived macroeconomic threat of recession. Marketing teams are often the first to be cut when times are tight (or downturns are predicted), but that doesn’t mean companies aren’t still growing or that they don’t need to ramp up their growth efforts.

What we’re starting to see, as companies are getting to profitability with their existing set of resources and their existing customers, is that they’re ready to start growing through customer acquisition again, and ready to start expanding some of the marketing functions that they previously had to cut back on. But there’s going to be a bit of a reticence to ask for full-time headcount again until something is really proven and scaled up.

FTE vs. contract marketing support

The question of whether to hire a full-time marketing staff or rely on temporary contract support is a big one, and it’s likely to change based on a company’s growth stage and goals. When budgets are squeezed and profitability is the top priority, taking on a permanent FTE can be a hard sell—and that may be for good reason.

While there are many cases where full-time staffing makes sense, you should also consider utilizing freelancers, especially if you’re looking to test into something super specialized or you’re building out a new function. This gives you the flexibility to scale resources up and down as the market evolves and until you prove out the need for a full-time employee.

Read next! Hiring Growth Marketing Consultants vs. FTEs vs. Agencies

Emerging Technologies and AI Learning

Nearly every channel now offers some kind of AI assistance for ad campaigns. And with increased pressure to reduce budgets and headcount, it might seem like an easy solution to hand your campaign optimization over to the machine learning features. While these tools can be integrated into your strategy, we don’t recommend fully taking your hands off the wheel. One of the most common areas where we see AI being used successfully is in generating creative variations. Try testing it out with ad copy or visuals to see if it’s a fit for your brand.


As the marketing landscape continues to evolve and new challenges pop up, staying ahead of the curve requires a combination of strategic experimentation, adaptable approaches to measurement, flexible staffing, and embracing new tools. By understanding the options at your disposal and testing for effective optimization, you can drive growth and sustain profitability for your company.

If you need support navigating these changes, or want to add A+ freelance talent to help test new channels, contact Right Side Up today!

Justin Gorrell is a growth marketing leader with more than 15 years of proven experience in growth marketing strategy, customer acquisition, lifecycle marketing, marketing measurement, and marketing technology. He has generated 10M+ in attributable new customer acquisition, helping companies like Coinbase, NerdWallet, DoorDash, and Constant Contact effectively build and scale profitable growth marketing and retention programs. He joined as principal of Right Side Up’s Team’s effort in September 2023.

Jes Parker is a writer and content marketer with experience creating B2B and consumer-facing assets that build brands and make complex concepts more human. She has worked with companies and nonprofits like Highstead Foundation, Trust for Public Land, Harvard University, the Museum of the City of New York, and Times Square Alliance to craft accessible and engaging content strategies.

Let's talk growth

Get in touch

Let's talk growth

Get in touch

Let's talk growth

Get in touch