It’s that elusive mirage that we’re all chasing.
From startups to Fortune 500 companies, there’s nothing more attractive to investors, shareholders, and business owners than the thought of 5 or 10x-ing key business metrics in a matter of days.
It’s no surprise, then, that the term Growth “Hacking” (coined by Sean Ellis in 2010) or Growth “Marketing” as it has evolved to today, has gained so much traction.
What is Growth Marketing?
I’m assuming that you’re familiar with the concept of growth marketing seeing you’ve navigated to this article, but here’s a quick overview…
In many ways, growth marketing and traditional brand building are polar opposites. Building a brand is about playing the long-game, setting and forgetting, and automating processes. Growth marketing is about experimenting with tactics and unearthing shortcuts that will accelerate your journey.
It’s an approach to marketing that requires constant monitoring, changes, and adaptation. Yes, many of the tactics are the same, but the way you approach the implementation of those tactics is very different.
What do Growth Marketers need to succeed?
Successful growth marketers combine qualitative skills, such as psychology, copywriting, and user feedback, with quantitative skills, such as data analysis and multivariate testing.
But if you want to specialize in this field, or take the next step from novice to advanced growth marketer, there are three key areas you need to focus on. Let’s take a look at them now.
Fast growth requires a different mindset from traditional marketing.
One of the biggest challenges aspiring growth marketers face is breaking down learned biases and preconceptions about what will (or won’t) work.
Without the right mindset, it’s impossible to be successful at growth marketing – even with all the best practice technical skills and tools available.
There are five principles that form the foundation of a growth mindset:
- Trust the process. Despite what may look like a haphazard approach from the outside, growth marketing is methodical – it’s a process. Growth is both planned and structured at every level.
- Embed growth in everything. Growth marketing can’t be an afterthought while half your brain is tinkering with slow-moving techniques. In other words, you can’t hedge your bets! It’s an all-in approach.
- Obsess over data. Simply put, fast growth won’t happen without data. You need to track anything and everything that contributes to the acceleration of key business metrics so that you can test and optimize on the run.
- Fail fast. You need to be prepared to test every component of a campaign and fail as quickly as possible. That’s really what growth marketing is all about, failing so many times that you “stumble” across something that explodes.
- Start narrow. To begin with, the experiments you run need to have a narrow channel focus until your tests prove a tactic worthy of further investment. Then you can create new experiments for other channels, and roll the process out.
In summary, growth marketers need a strong and unwavering mindset that is willing to fail, detail-oriented, and believes in the process of experimentation.
As I alluded to in the last section, data is the crux of all growth marketing campaigns.
Effective growth marketers not only understand the technical nuts and bolts of data analysis, such as data capture (Google Analytics), spreadsheet manipulation, and multi-channel attribution, but they also have a knack for interpreting that data.
Data interpretation takes shape in the form of conversion rate and process optimization at speed. Essentially, you can make changes in real-time based on the numbers in front of you.
So what skills are required to be a great “optimizer”? Here are the essentials for advanced growth marketing:
- Google Analytics – Knowing how to track micro-conversions (clicks and pageviews) and attribute macro-conversions (sales and leads) across multiple channels.
- Spreadsheets – Excel does far more than most people realize. The best growth marketers unearth opportunities by maximizing the power of the spreadsheet to manipulate data.
- Landing Pages – Best practice landing page optimization involves a deep understanding of user psychology, copywriting, and multi-variate testing.
- Processes – Optimization goes beyond the data crunching and testing components of a campaign. Expert growth marketers take an organization-wide view of growth and adapt communication, hiring, and training processes to get the best results.
Good growth marketers are fearless operators who dive deep into the numbers and act fast on analytical trends. But GREAT growth marketers are more than just individual practitioners – they’re leaders.
Growth marketing isn’t just a one-off campaign or “hack” that 10x’s your business overnight. It’s a mindset and a way of thinking within an organization. Instead of looking at growth as a tactic, it should be identified as a priority at the organizational level that combines cross-functional teams in structured experiments.
A growth-centric organization requires the right team, software tools, strategy, and project management frameworks to develop an engine of recurring growth in the business.
Leaders of high-growth organizations not only have the mindset and technical skills of a growth marketer, but they’re also excellent people managers.
Are you looking to advance your skills as a growth marketer or lead a high-growth organization?
The appetite for fast business growth isn’t going away any time soon. In a digital world that moves at a rapid pace, technology and tactics that are effective one day are not the next.
Funnily enough, a concept that was born from the idea of “hacking” your way to success and skipping the queue, has become something far more meaningful. In reality, growth marketing is a survival technique. If you aren’t willing to fail fast, test, optimize, and change tactics on the run, your business could become obsolete quicker than you think.
If you don’t up-skill as a growth marketer today, you’ll inevitably fall behind your colleagues and competitors in the near future.
CXL’s Growth Marketing Minidegree is the perfect place to start. It shares the methodologies used by top growth experts at companies such as Lyft and InVision in an easy-to-understand format.
Across six tracks you’ll learn and implement all the skills you need to adopt a growth mindset, optimize your campaigns, and lead a team of growth marketers.
- Growth marketing foundations
- Running growth experiments
- Data and analytics
- Channel-specific growth skills
- Growth program management