The past week has been one filled with loads of learning experiences for me having gained scholarship into CXL institute to take a minidegree program on Growth Marketing.
Growth Marketing is an emerging discipline and as such, is easily confused or mistaken for traditional marketing. I am one of those people who thought Growth and Traditional marketing are the same.
This was my first step to learning — unlearning what I thought I knew about growth Marketing. I know definitely I’m not the only one with these thoughts, so I have decided to put everything I learnt last week, and in the next 11 weeks here in weekly review articles and here’s the first one.
After reading this article, you would have a clearer understanding of the following:
- General overview of Growth Marketing
- The difference between Growth marketing and Traditional Marketing
- The skills needed to be and grow as a Growth Marketer
What is Growth Marketing?
As opposed to Traditional Marketing, I understand that growth marketing is the type of marketing that’s based on the lean startup methodology and Experimentation.
The lean startup methodology is about creating a hypothesis upfront about what a user wants and finding the best (fastest and most efficient) way to test the hypotheses then develop an experiment to validate or invalidate the hypothesis created. And it is this basis that Growth Marketing as a concept thrives upon.
I learnt that the basic idea behind Growth even as it applies to our personal lives is about finding what works and what doesn’t, the process of doing this is called experimentation.
Experimentation is a key tool in Growth Marketing, in fact the idea of Growth stems from the willingness to test and validate hypothesis to see what works and have key learnings from them. If your experiments are successful, you run with the validated hypothesis, if otherwise, you gather your key learnings, draw insights and make better business decisions from them.
Growth Marketing vs Traditional Marketing.
Growth and Traditional Marketing differs in the following ways:
- Area of Focus: While traditional Marketing focuses on the Top of the funnel which is Awareness and Acquisition, Growth focuses on the whole marketing funnel, the AAARRR as seen in the image above. As a growth marketer, you’re focused on growing every aspect of the business from getting the business known out there to turning new customers into loyal customers.
- Experimentation: In the previous section, we saw what it meant to experiment with respect to growth. Now, we’re going to put that into perspective and see how a Growth marketer and traditional marketer approaches marketing. For instance, there’s a goal to increase the user retention rate of a product from 50% to 60% in the space of a quarter. A traditional marketing approach to achieving this would be to send mails reminding people to use the product and see if the retention rate increased or if traffic was driven to the website within the duration.
A growth Marketer would create a hypothesis, say ‘People have forgotten about the convenience of using our product’, then go ahead to develop experiments to validate this hypothesis. These experiments could include A/B testing your audience by sending mails to some of them and see if the people that receive the email actually buy more or come back to the site more often than people that don’t see the email. Then if you learn that sending emails is a good idea, and actually increases purchases, you can then move on to the next hypothesis, which could be what is the right message to send people?. With this example, it is easy to see that Growth marketing gives you as a marketer more opportunities to learn whether you fail or succeed.
These series of hypothesis testing and finding what works best is what’s referred to as Growth Hacking. Don’t get it wrong. There is no one hack that if implemented by any business will magically increase numbers. The hack in growth hacking stems from testing and validating different hypothesis and seeing which one works best for your business and sticking to it.
Starting and Growing your career as a Growth Marketer.
Another thing I learnt is this, the willingness and hunger to learn tops the list of things needed to becoming a growth marketer and growing your career. In the words of Sam Altman, ‘most employers hire for slopes and not y-intercept’. This is because trajectory and upward potential is very important to employers.
With the hunger and unending drive to improve, there are three important skills a growth marketer must possess to be able to function in the capacity of one or be valuable in growth teams because growth is a team sport.
- Channel-level expertise: So, one has to be experienced with the use of marketing channels such as SEO, Facebook and Google Ads, Push notifications or Email Marketing at least on a foundational level. Although this isn’t the most important criteria as opposed to being hungry and wiling to grow in the field because most employers are not big on your current level of expertise level but on what you could be when fed the right knowledge.
- Analytical capability: since data is the lifeblood of growth, being able to extract data, get insight from analyzing it and making key business decisions from it is a top skill to have as a growth marketer. This includes having skills in Excel and SQL.
- Cross-functional Strategic thinking: Growth marketing is a team sport and would require any one with interest in being one to be able to work with others various departments so as to drive projects. This also includes the ability to think through strategies, come up with ideas and choosing the best experiments to validate your hypothesis.
The idea is to be a T-shaped growth marketer, which means to have a strong foundation on these three skills but go deep and major on one of them.
The path to growing one’s career in growth Marketing is not predetermined. It has to do with starting from where you are and navigating your way by doing the following:
- Have and show hunger for learning and improving because that’s what most employer’s look out for over expertise.
- Among the three skillsets outlined above, find the one you enjoy doing the most and good at, then run with it.
- Ask questions from people in similar roles about how they navigated their careers.l and learn from their answers.
- Be able to forecast what the situation would be like in your company/industry as growth marketer, find a gap and put yoursef in the best position to fill it by investing in skills you need to get to that level.
- Lastly, try new things, optimize your process, obsess over being more productive and more effective.
By now, if you read this far, you have a good grasp on what growth marketing is, how it differs from traditional Marketing and lastly, skillsets required to function in the capacity of a growth marketer.
Like I said earlier, I will be sharing more of my weekly lessons on Growth Marketing over the next 11 weeks here, so expect more articles from me as I’m super excited to do this.
Did you learn a thing or two from the review article you just read? Or you’ve got questions and inputs, feel free to engage with me and other readers in the comment section.