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With respect to everyone who’s not having such a great year, I am going to set aside all of the craziness that 2020 has brought for a minute. Instead, I’m going to take a few short sentences to celebrate the fact that my application for a scholarship to the CXL Institute was accepted!
What is the CXL Institute, you ask? To put it bluntly, it’s where experts gather. Some of the top individuals across various disciplines and industries have come together to educate anyone with the motivation and drive to learn. You can find out more here.
Back in November of this year, I decided to apply for a scholarship to the CXL institute. I started my LLC back in 2019 and have continuously sought to learn more, both for my business and my own professional growth. Then, in the middle of November, something bad happened. Due to some technical issues, my G Suite Basic account was accidentally terminated! This meant I was unable to receive ANY emails. It sucked. Aside from not getting my regular newsletters, I was unable to tell who was trying to reach out to me or my business. One of which was the CXL Institute. I had been accepted but had no idea!
One of the requirements of the scholarship is that all candidates must post an article per week for twelve weeks. Failure to do so would mean you’d lose the scholarship. Today marked the very last day of the grace period where I had failed to submit an article. Whoops!
Still, I am super excited at the opportunity and cannot wait to continue learning. I hope as you’re reading this, you’re as excited as I am and will patiently join me as I document my journey.
Why Growth Marketing?
I have always been particularly interested in Growth Marketing. I have spent the last twelve years in the videogames industry, working in various disciplines from quality assurance to design to production to product and currently, marketing. Growth Marketing has always piqued my interests mostly because I love being a part of the entire lifecycle of the end user.
Being able to reach out, guide, and retain a user through all the stages of their journey is such an amazing experience to me. Not only is the amount of data from that a sight to behold, but seeing knowing how your users interact with your product explains so much about the human psyche.
What is Growth Marketing?
My first experience with the Growth Marketing course are introductory courses taught by John McBride, Founder of WeTheFuture.org and former Senior Manager of Growth Marketing at Lyft.
As John explains it, Growth Marketing differs from traditional marketing by focusing on the entire funnel while traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel. Growth Marketing focuses on scaling the business across all areas in any way you can.
The way you drive growth is through experimentation, which is a defining factor and differentiator between growth and traditional marketing.
Succeeding as a Growth Marketer
Success as a Growth Marketer varies, but a defining factor in succeeding as a Growth Marketer is admitting that you don’t know your users. In order to learn, you run experiments which continue to test and iterate your hypotheses around your product and users.
Experiments help Growth Marketers learn more about their users, which has proven more effective than simply making changes to your products, because they allow you to compare and contrast results between the different test groups. Most of my experiments have fallen in the product realm of a product, but each experiment has laid the foundation for future experiments or features that continue to polish the end product.
Additionally, realizing that your users are not all the same will help you better understand how to approach experimentation. Defining personas, or types of users, will help you construct more personalized and targeted messaging in order to help your users form a stronger bond with your product and brand. Once they feel the personalized one-to-one connection, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your product.
Of course, running so many experiments and reaching out to so many different personas with personalized messaging can seem overwhelming. How Growth Marketers solve for that is through a common methodology in startups and product management: minimum viable product. Or, in the case of marketing, minimum viable marketing campaigns. Growth Marketers answer the question of “what is the fastest way to find out what works or doesn’t work?” Growth Marketers continue to answer this question with short, targeted campaigns that build a foundation of learning towards the next feature or experiment.
Starting Your Journey
Let’s say you are still trying to start your career in Growth Marketing. How do you start? As John describes it, most hiring managers look out for three main categories: channel level expertise, analytical skills, and strategic thinking.
As a Growth Marketer, you should have a basic understanding of various channels. Additionally, you should have the foundations already in place for emails, push, SEO, and ads (ie, Facebook ads).
With regards to analytical skills, being able to extract large sets of data and interpret it into actionable decisions is key. Being able to utilize Excel would really help as well as having a basic understanding of SQL in order to do your own data pulls.
Lastly, having the mindset to think broadly in order to lead your team and/or cross functionally is a key part of being a Growth Marketer. Many Product Managers thrive in this area where they can convince stakeholders to believe in their vision, effectively communicate user stories, and properly prioritize roadmaps. As mentioned above, experimentation is a key element in Growth Marketing. Being able to select and prioritize the right experiments is a crucial skillset to have in that respect.
For those who don’t have all three elements, it’s recommended to acquire those skillsets outside of your regular role. Most hiring managers would quickly see the potential in a motivated candidate, who is willing to learn and has already done so on their own versus another candidate who may be an awesome marketer but has already peaked in their career.
Growing as a Growth Marketer
For those who have already taken the dive into Growth Marketing, excelling in your role is still an ongoing journey. Aside from being able to complete your job day to day, you should start learning how to forecast company needs over time.
Being able to estimate company trajectory and foresee upcoming problems to solve can only help you down the line. Position yourself to see problems and needs six to twelve months down the line, then set yourself up as the best person to solve those problems. In doing so, you set yourself up for major career growth.
If you made this far, thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed reading through my quick analysis and summary of what I’ve learned so far. A few elements may be pretty basic, but they lay the foundation to excel in almost any career, not just for Growth Marketers.
If you like what you read, feel free to follow along. Stay tuned for the next update!