I’ve never written an “event diary” from an online event before, but Growth Marketing Summit proved to be much more than a regular online conference. It is a full-on event with some of the most influential speakers out there – smart people you can learn a lot from.
In no particular order, here are some of my notes that I tried to fashion into a coherent story.
The Dao of Growth
The day was kicked off by David Arnoux, the Head of Growth at Growth Tribe, organizers of this amazing event. It was geared toward setting the tone when it comes to growth.
The whys of growth are many. To some, growth is a fad, a fancy name digital marketers use, a sexy title that helps with getting the new generation of communicators on board. I think that they have a point, but only to some extent. Calling it growth marketing reflects the rapid changes we are witnessing today.
Traditional marketing is saturated and expensive. It’s not just print and TV, the same story goes for online ads. Spending there has increased from $36 per user in 2002 to $144 per user in 2012 – and that’s already some time back. This year, for the first time, online ad spend surpassed TV in the US.
With so many agents competing for attention, users are more difficult to please. It’s harder to get them to act. According to Unbounce, conversion rates go between 2.6% and 6% depending on the industry. Let me reiterate:
more than 90% of your visitors are forever lost.
There are new channels and technologies popping up every day. The complexity is hard to manage, but you can ignore innovation at your own peril.
Marketing is becoming more technical and the mindset of “I’m wasting half my advertising budget, but I’m not sure which half” is a thing of the past. We don’t need Mad Men anymore – we need Math Men.
Traditional marketers fear of “sullying the brand” with some campaign that’s not perfect. For growth marketers, done is better than perfect. They do small-scale experiments the quick-and-dirty way. Then they perfect only the actions that show promising results.
Still, growth and traditional marketing have a lot in common. Both rely on the classic communication concepts of persuasion. They are all based on understanding human psychology and the customer life-cycle. But marketers often focus mainly on acquisition – and while widening the top of the funnel is important, activation (getting users to try your product) and retention (getting them to come back to it) are key to growth.
The most important differentiator is the importance of data gathering and the speed of updating the strategy. And while data may not hold all the answers, it’s a great modeling tool for most of the answers and that’s good enough. A great example is Asana, who got to 75% predictability of when a user would churn based on past data. That’s what growth marketing is all about: getting to great predictability without being perfect.
The growth process
The “how” of growth was left to the full lineup of speakers during the day. Still, Arnoux covered the main concepts of Growth Tribe’s process, including the GROWS framework, with the BRASS and PIES models of ranking experiment ideas. This video is all you need to get the idea:
Here’s something else that might come in handy for growth marketers. It is a primer on experiment mechanics you should know about:
How Skyscanner does growth
Skyscanner’s Ilana Munckton shared part of their internal growth process. It’s a great example of how to do things right.
The growth team is focused on revenue. The members are divided into central and regional “tribes” that work independently. Each tribe is multidisciplinary and only focused on growth. Here’s an example of how a team of four there operates:
Their process of high-velocity testing was presented with a case study on branded keyword ads in Google Search. I have to admit, looking at the systematic way they approach something deemed blindly a must-have by most got me thinking. What inefficiencies in the so-called must-haves have we let creep in?
Typeform’s revelations on lead acquisition through quizzes
Gathering data and making sure it leads you to the correct conclusion is something I believe in, but struggle to find good examples for. A nice one came from Jake Stainer of Typeform. Their research evaluated whether quizzes or giveaways were better for lead generation.
The result needs to take a lot into account and that’s the coolest thing! After all, you can’t find the proper answer, unless you dig deeper into the data available. For example, you need to take into account not just the first leads acquired, but also what’s the share rate and how many additional leads does one visitor bring. Then, you should also factor in not just the promotional budget, but also the price of the giveaway prize. Adding each next piece of data can completely change your results.
If you’re interested in knowing what the data shows, here’s the full calculation:
Hotjar’s marriage of quality and quantity
It’s very refreshing to see how a company is not only eating its own dog food but also leading through personal example. David Darmanin of Hotjar started with the notion that testing is for confirming winning ideas, not finding new ones. Then he went into a full-scale ode to blending quantitative with qualitative data. He showed us how Hotjar can help with both. For example, if you see high bounce or low conversion rates on a specific step of the user journey, you can simply ask people what’s the problem. Getting poll data will help you form hypotheses and test.
Hotjar is a company that gives so much value to its users, it’d be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of it. Here are their 9-step action plan and the Big Picture Worksheet that will help you get the most out of your users’ feedback.
The resources above are ultra useful, but there was something else that stuck with me. It was the self-professed evolution Darmanin went through as a tester. He started with many qualitative low impact tests. The big wins came later, through user feedback and qualitative data:
Josh Fechter and the communities that work
I was rather surprised to see a guy who’s not affiliated with a company. Josh Fechter is the creator of a popular Facebook group. If you’re not a part of Badass Marketers and Founders, you should definitely join. It’s one of the groups with the highest value added I’ve ever seen.
Fechter explained how he grew as a marketing opinion leader and there was a great insight into his way of doing things. It includes a very systematic approach how to build relations with opinion leaders to strengthen your personal brand. One piece of advice I got from him: You have to treat everything you create on the Internet as a landing page.
The point that stuck out for me was with relation to building valuable communities. When building his Facebook group, Fechter realized something important. The one thing that hurts a group is constant questions from users. These bring value only to the person asking and diminish the usefulness for most other members. Think about it – when you see a notification about a new group post and you click, you expect something of value. If you see something irrelevant there – like a question – it does not add to your experience.
Thinking about this led Fechter to enforce a “no Q&A” policy. Instead, people share detailed case studies and growth hacks on what worked for them and why. That’s what I call value!
There’s a couple of other bits and pieces that made an impression on me, but I decided not to spend too much time on. Here are some of those ideas.
Guillaume Cabane of Segment shared how they create endless personalized variations to their drip campaigns. You probably already personalize any pitch you make. If in B2B and selling an online technology, for example, you can mention the other tools a prospect uses. But how about creating automated conversations between your agents?
The flow goes like that: the first “personal” email is sent by a representative in reply to a user query. A sales person is CC’ed in the communication, then they send a second automated email. This looks much more credible and raises conversion. It sounds weird at first, but here’s the same example from another one of Cabane’s presentations.
Lastly, I’m just going to leave here Andy Carvell’s Mobile Growth Stack. I’m guessing it’d be very handy for people working on mobile apps, although I’m a bit behind on that industry to fully appreciate it.
Growth Marketing Summit was an interesting event and proved how you can attract great speakers and bring value to the audience without tickets of several hundred dollars. Kudos to Growth Tribe for organizing it and I’m looking forward to the next one. There’s still an option to get the full set of recordings at a price of 47 EUR – check out the bundle here.
If you were part of the event, I’d love to know what made an impression on you – share it in the comments!