Spotlight- Activation & Growth Team

I have had the awesome opportunity to build a full stack team from scratch – the activation and growth team at a Fortune 150 which is a fancy way of saying marketing strategy. So what exactly is meant by ”activation and growth” and what is it comprised of? The group is divided into three major divisions, each made-up of their own sub-departments. I’ll outline each more specifically in their own dedicated posts, but here’s a quick overview to start with.

The activation and growth team (i.e. marketing strategy) consists of three major pillars, each containing its own series of sub-departments. The Activation Pillar concentrates on our core businesses through its Product, Program, and Partner marketing departments. The Growth Pillar oversees marketing amplification efforts, including departments dedicated to Community Engagement, Influencer Marketing, Social Media, and Gamification. Finally, the Marketing Intelligence Pillar is grounded by its Segment Strategy and Data Strategy & Research departments.

Activation Strategy Division

Think of this as a really fancy way of saying marketing strategy. The activation strategy division is made-up up of a group of core marketing managers that are responsible for the end-to-end strategy development for our different products, partners, services, affiliates, license businesses, and white-label products. Anything that ends up going to market for these areas of our business must first be cleared and implemented by these managers. Think of them as the mini CEO’s or GM’s of the businesses they are assigned.

• Products (our various apps)

• Partners

• Services

• Affiliates

• License Business

• White-label

Growth Strategy Division

The growth team covers and plans our amplification and performance marketing efforts across the department, and works hand-in-hand with our activation strategy managers to implement their practices holistically across the ecosystem. But what exactly do I mean by amplification and performance marketing? For our group, they are tactics that reach a much broader audience through either less effort or in a shorter amount of time.

• Local Activations Department

• Influencer & Networks Department

• Digital Communities Department

• Behavioral Science/ Gamification Department

Business Intelligence Division

Incorporating sound data practices is in my DNA and at the core of any sound marketing practice in my opinion. Our Team here covers all of our core reporting, analysis, and data insights related to marketing efforts, and also has a sub-department in Strategy & Research dedicated to qualitative (focus groups), quantitative (surveys), and empirical research.

• Analytics, Reporting, Insights, Forecasting, Modeling Department

• Strategy & Research Department

Although each of these divisions sound simple and straightforward on paper, it’s much more complex to wire them together so that they are each communicating and working efficiently together. Fortunate for our group we have a trio of incredible leaders, one at the helm of each division, that have allowed us to build and operate correctly. So how does it work?


These three divisions need to work seamlessly together in creating, developing, and executing holistic marketing across all of their various components. From a high-level, these divisions need to develop strategies that touch on applicable marketing channels (i.e. email, mobile, web, social, ground teams, etc., etc.). This execution will be passed from the Activation & Growth team to the Brand & Channel Management team after fully developing the strategic approach. These channels are all geared towards engaging our members.


At the foundation of what we create is our data strategy which sits in our business intelligence pillar. Everything we create needs to be grounded in the rules and parameters set by the business intelligence team. Segment strategy (positioned within the activation pillar) is governed by a sound data strategy approach, that helps identify elements such as what success looks like across different member segments and experiences. Our top layer strategy comes together through a blend of verticals (product marketing, partner marketing, program marketing) and horizontal (community engagement and gamification) capabilities. The combination of these layers results in the packaged strategies that are then handed off to the Brand & Channel Management team.


A closer look at our top layer of strategy. Currently we have heads of Products and Partners (i.e. the activation pillar). Local Activations, Influencer & Networks, Communities, and Behavioral Science/ Gamification (i.e. the growth pillar) elements sit horizontally across (they do not necessarily overlap in every scenario). Be sure, not every strategy we create as a department will necessarily overlap or impact every element or “box”. This is to simply illustrate the through process that needs to take place to make sure we aren’t missing possible collaboration intersects.


How data feeds back into Activation & Growth teams and how iteration on strategies takes place. There are two major components relating to our data strategy. Scorecard for every member – each member should be assigned a unique score that is based on activity and engagement with our ecosystem. This kind of scoring will ultimately power segmentation and strategy across the entire department. Reporting on the activity, campaign, and member level. These are the main reports that will give us insight into the performance to our strategies.