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Hey there! I'm Brian Balfour, VP Growth at HubSpot. I previously was an EIR @ Trinity Ventures, co-founder of Boundless Learning (acq by Valore), Viximo (acq by Tapjoy). I currently run the growth team at HubSpot for our new products such as Sidekick and the free HubSpot CRM. I've grown user bases to millions of daily active users by blending engineering, product, data, and marketing into one cohesive strategy. I write about growth strategy, process, and teams at www.coelevate.com including the most upvoted video yet on retention. Ask me anything!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 4 years ago #

    Really been looking forward to your AMA @bbalfour !

    I’d like to know... What do you think is the biggest challenge companies need to overcome when implementing a growth team and what is your recommendation for overcoming it? Examples from starting the growth team at Hubspot/Sidekick or anything you might have heard from other companies would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      This is a great question. Especially for established companies and teams.

      I think the biggest challenges are

      1. defining roles
      2. team structure
      3. ownership lines

      The concept of "growth" is still in its infancy. All of the established growth teams do the above three things very differently. Most orgs are still structured in the "old way" where everything that touches growth lives in silos vs being one cohesive unit.

      What I'm finding is that most established companies that try to implement growth teams fail because they have other teams/executives "protecting their turf" creating an immense amount of friction. You also have to battle with years of existing culture which is incredibly difficult to change.

      I'd highly recommend people talk to a variety of established growth teams about the above three elements and the pros/cons of the various structures that are out there. No matter what I think three things need to be present:

      1. Buy in from CEO (and ideally all key executives)
      2. Recruit from within as a starting point
      3. Give enough ownership to the growth team to establish wins and momentum.

      I unfortunately see so many cases where people starting growth teams within their org are starting from a point of inevitable failure.

  • MP

    Marco Petkovski

    about 4 years ago #

    @BBalfour what are some of the most overrated growth metrics being used today and what are some of the most underrated? Where should the analytical power of the organization be focusing the most of their energy?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      I think the first thing is that your "north star" metric isn't one size fits all across companies. It needs to be custom fitted to your product, biz model, and the value you are trying to deliver to users.

      Any metric that doesn't take into account engagement or retention is complete bullshit in my opinion. Things like registrations, downloads, views, etc.

      Metrics like WAU, DAU, MRR, etc are much better. But the definitions of those need to be defined carefully. You can easily create a bullshit WAU metric if the "active" part is tied to some event that isn't about delivering real value.

      After you have a great north start metric, most of the analytical power of the org should be around figuring out all the inputs that effect that metric (at a very granular level) and how you might be able to influence them.

      I wrote more about all of this here: http://www.coelevate.com/essays/growth-principle-two-seek-authentic-growth

  • AS

    Adam Szabo

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian, I don't have a question, just wanted to add that this is one of the best AMA's I have ever read (not just on GH) :)

  • S:

    shmula : pete abilla

    about 4 years ago #

    My goal is to generate 5000 marketing qualified leads per month. Product is a high-end SaaS Product.

    If you were in my position, what are the specific steps you would follow. Let's pretend you have sufficient budget (sufficient is relative).

    Yes, with this question, I'm pretty much asking you to coach me :)

  • ED

    Earl Dos Santos

    about 4 years ago #

    What are some ways you have proactively found mentors in your career?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Great question and a super important one.

      The #1 most valuable thing I have ever done in my career is to get an external unbiased coach.

      I got lucky. My coach is someone I worked for straight out of college. He was an amazing manager and we built up a relationship through that.

      After I left (a few years later) I contacted him to see if he would be interested in being my official coach. He agreed and we meet every 1 - 2 months now.

      Finding them is the toughest part and just like recruiting there is no magical one way. It is just a lot of networking and hard work. I do recommend a few things though:

      1. Find someone external. Everyone is biased (your manager, your investors, your board, your friends, etc). You want someone to give you brutally honest advice.

      2. Find someone who asks incredible questions that make you think about things from angles you otherwise wouldn't have. Great mentors don't give you answers, they help you FIND a better answer than you would have otherwise.

      3. Set up a regular cadence and format. Consistency helps extract the most value out of the limited time you usually get with a mentor/coach.

      • ED

        Earl Dos Santos

        about 4 years ago #
        Another very tweetable bit of advice:
      • ED

        Earl Dos Santos

        about 4 years ago #

        Thanks, @bbalfour ! Great advice on how finding someone external is key. Just wondering, does your relationship with your coach work both ways (i.e. do you give him unbiased advice as well)?

        • BB

          Brian Balfour

          about 4 years ago #

          Sort of, but that isn't how I "reciprocate."

          The relationship is set up that I will give him advisor shares in the next company I start.

          A lot of our sessions are like business therapy :) You wouldn't be giving advice to your therapist would you? Its just weird.

          • ED

            Earl Dos Santos

            about 4 years ago #

            Thanks, I was wondering how you reciprocated to make the relationship work long-term - interesting way to do it!

      • MB

        mark brophy

        about 4 years ago #

        I'm a mentor in http://www.iemp.org/
        This one is Irish but no doubt there are other international ones so that's a possible place to start.

  • RS

    Rob Sobers

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey @bbalfour. Thanks for doing this today!

    I'm a huge fan of your process first, tactics second philosophy. I think process and discipline is really what separates growthhacking from traditional marketing.

    Working for an enterprise-focused company with an ASP of $60K, I've found the sales team to be integral to growth (trying to use them as yet another growth channel). Have you leveraged the sales force at HubSpot to fuel growth? If so, how?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Yes. For Sidekick we have a Sidekick for Business tier which is higher priced. We have a small inside sales team specifically for that. We silo'd them away from our massive 300+ sales team for the HubSpot marketing platform because we are finding the sales process is extremely different.

      That team runs experiments similar to how we do for the free/$10 tiers of Sidekick. We are also starting to enable that team with more growth minded data/engineering resources to make that team more effective and efficient.

      I think this is will be big trend among sales teams. Sales teams will go through a transformation in the next few years with data and technology the driving factors. The first wave was the mass adoption of CRM's. But there is a tidal wave of other "Sales Acceleration" and data tools coming ashore.

      • RS

        Rob Sobers

        about 4 years ago #

        Thanks Brian. I've been through the Sidekick for Business sales cycle. :-)

        I totally agree that what sales is transforming much in the same way marketing did. We're doing quite a bit of A/B testing in sales, both on our messaging and our processes and we're seeing the same type of upside we see in marketing.

  • JC

    Josh Caba

    about 4 years ago #

    Thanks Brian!

    If you were a brand new and completely unknown startup with no funding. What would be the most effective ways to get people to start visiting your site and gaining traction in the short-term?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      This is going to be an unpopular answer.

      I don't know. Anyone who tells you they do is wrong.

      There are tons of resources out there that list a ton of places that MIGHT work for you. Check out Traction Book by @justinmares and @yegg as an example.

      But you need to combine that with an effective experimentation process to figure out which ones work for your audience, your product, your business model, your customer journey, etc, etc.

      Traction Book: http://tractionbook.com/
      Experiment Process: http://www.coelevate.com/essays/growth-process-first-tactics-second

      Most people in this space will tell you that "you must try this" or "this is the best channel right now." Fuck that.

      Stop looking for your answer from someone else. Take two days to research and create a giant list of traction ideas.

      Take another 1-2 days to prioritize.

      Then start implementing/experimenting.

  • JS

    Jared Smith

    about 4 years ago #

    If there was one thing a young startup should focus on during its early growth, what would you recommend they focus on?

  • RL

    Rene LongboardsUSA

    about 4 years ago #

    @BrianBalfour mobile is playing a growing role in e-commerce and more and more “buy” buttons will appear, what do you think is the right approach to leverage these? (how to prevent a “block-out” by buyers, like the flashy sidebar adds)

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      I don't think I (or anyone) can tell you the RIGHT way to leverage.

      I think the only approach is to experiment and figure out the right way for your specific company/product.

      All new tactics decrease in effectiveness over time. So there is no long term way to prevent fatigue. That isn't the right question to be focusing on.

      Focus on experimenting like crazy to figure out the most effective things right now, and to stay ahead of the curve. At some point you may find they aren't effective any more which you will then need to move on to a new channel (even more reason to make sure you are constantly experimenting).

  • EB

    Ed Burrows

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey @bbalfour is there a method or software that you can recommend for a non developer for visualizing retention curves based on raw data exported from say Mixpanel or database? Possible with excel or something similar?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Just excel.

      To create a retention curve from Mixpanel data I just go to the Retention report in Mixpanel. Do an export of the data which will appear in raw numbers. Create a second table in excel to get it in %'s. Then just highlight a cohort row and hit the graph button.

      Takes about 10 minutes. I'm hoping Mixpanel builds it in as a feature.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian,

    How do you organize your team/effort/time around tackling different parts of the retention curve?

    Week 1 vs. resurrection, etc.?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Good question. Ownership lines are never 100% clean. There is always grey area. But a few things.

      1. We have a "NUX" team. New User Experience. They own everything from the moment they click "register" to our activation point in the onboarding which is defined around the "aha moment." This team is incredibly important in my opinion. By definition this is the only part of the product experience 100% of people that register will touch. A 1% improvement here typically has bigger ROI than other areas.

      2. Product drivers for Mid Term and Long Term retention are owned across different product teams. It is one giant grey area right now because Sidekick is complex. The majority of the product lives in various clients (Chrome, Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, etc) which requires specialized code knowledge. I would do it differently if we were 100% a web app.

      3. We are now pulling "outgoing" channels (email, push, etc) out of the product teams, and into its own team. The leader there has more of a marketing mindset which I think will be more effective over the long term. Those channels span all pieces of the retention curve.

      This is constantly evolving btw as the team/product grows.

  • PM

    Paul M Boyce

    about 4 years ago #

    Oh this is awesome!!

    @bbalfour - I'm a huge fan and loving this already! :) So, here's my question:

    I see a lot of people looking at "growth hacking" as a quest for some holy grail of "one hack to rule them all" that will rocket their growth. Yet I see the work you/your team do at Hubspot/Sidekick (ref your videos and sidekick blog post on coelevate). The work you do seems to me hugely detailed, analytical and scientific - and it works!!

    Where do you see that in terms of Growth Hacking? What would you say to people who are randomly seeking one magical "growth hack"?

    Huge thanks in advance!!
    Paul

  • RG

    Ruben Gamez

    about 4 years ago #

    I've seen more examples of companies starting at lower end of the market and sparking growth by going upmarket (vs successfully increasing volume at lower end of market). You seem to have great experience with both. When evaluating a bigger change like this, what signals are you watching for, and how do you quickly test something like this?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      This is a case where I don't think you can quickly test.

      This is a hard strategy decision that takes a lot of inputs, and then a lot of resilience to see through.

      HubSpot went through this exact question. A few years back the company was getting pulled up market in the enterprise. But the enterprise has different product needs, requires a different sales/support process, and so much more. HubSpot made the long term decision they were going to stick to the mid-market and build more products for that market.

      We now know that it is paying off. But it took years for that to come to fruition.

      I think a lot of early stage companies get tempted by a few enterprise companies that stumble into their funnel. They think they can serve both markets and they end up serving no one.

      Enterprise companies will want a bunch of features that will complicate the product, onboarding, messaging for the mid market so the mid market will go elsewhere. And then if you don't fully jump into enterprise you never end up building all of the stuff they need to fully serve that market.

      Focus focus focus.

  • OH

    Ovi Hentea

    about 4 years ago #

    Boundless is clearly where tomorrow's educational system is headed. How can a company engage governmental agencies to move the technology along, from being one of several platforms to being THE platform? More broadly stated, what does it take for technology solutions to play nice with tech-averse organizations (often times the ones with the most upside)? Is the secret in proving it works by showing hard numbers? Is it more about talking to the right people and pushing the marketing/political front?

    TIA!

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      I'm always the first to admit when I don't know the answer to a question. This is an example.

      My answer (and the answer for Boundless) was circumvent the tech-averse and go straight to the end consumer. That is how big disruption happens. We built a product for the students and marketed directly to students in an industry where everything went through the professors/universities in a very corrupt way.

      Uber is another example. Rather than playing with local corrupt governments and taxi companies, they found a way to go around straight to the end consumer. By the time they became big enough to be a threat to taxis, they had so much consumer support they started to win over the local regulations. They still have a long battle to fight but I believe it is the only want to fight it.

      Consumers win in the end.

      Only then when students were adopting did early adopter teachers/professors start adopting the Boundless platform.

      • OH

        Ovi Hentea

        about 4 years ago #

        Wow, that makes perfect sense, thank you for pointing that out! With more power in the consumers' hands, you can bypass the classic top-down channels in favor of addressing the end-user directly. Win them over and you can convert the market to be your own, much like Uber did - reinvent the game with the cards stacked your way.

        Funny how I was framing a new solution to an old problem in the context of the old world. Again, our sincere thanks for your time, this is invaluable to us!

        • BB

          Brian Balfour

          about 4 years ago #

          This trend is much much bigger btw.

          It is happening to the entire B2B software space with things like Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, and Sidekick.

          Rather than beating your head against the wall selling to tech resistant companies, you go to the end user. The end user/consumer will win in the long run.

  • BR

    brandon redlinger

    about 4 years ago #

    If you're working for an early stage SaaS startup and beginning new marketing channels or campaigns, how would you define success and how would you measure performance? Essentially, how would you know when it’s time to move because its not working or to double down and spend more time/energy on it?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      "how would you define success and how would you measure performance?"

      Really depends on the audience, model (B2B, B2C, B2C2B), and a couple other factors. There are a couple other questions in this AMA about defining metrics where I go over the basics.

      "Essentially, how would you know when it’s time to move because its not working or to double down and spend more time/energy on it?"

      This is tougher in B2B SaaS at higher price points because the feedback loops are longer. Scalable channels like content marketing also take more investment to get more data. You really need to treat this on a case by case basis. I would need more details to answer the question better.

  • LD

    Luke Duncan

    about 4 years ago #

    Hi @bbalfour , thank for doing this AMA.

    When you are deciding what key metrics to focus on, what are some criteria you use to select them? And how did you use that criteria to decide on key metrics at HubSpot?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      It is custom to each product/app that we have. There are a few common things we step through:

      1. Unit of Value - Is it a user a company or a team? A product like Sidekick is built for individuals there fore the unit of value should be a user. The CRM is built for teams therefore the unit of value should be teams.

      2. Timeframe - What is the right time frame for your audience and the value you are trying to deliver? Sidekick is made for professionals and is an email add on. We asked, does someone need to be using it EVERY DAY for us to be delivering real value? No not really. What if they only use it once a month (Monthly Active User)? Are we delivering real value then? No definitely not. Therefore weekly felt like the right choice for that product.

      3. Definition of "Active" - The active part is how you build in retention. But how you define it is super important. You should ask what action a user/team/company would take that indicates your product is delivering real value. For example, just signing in to Sidekick tells us nothing about if we are delivering value. If they track an email, or schedule an email to be sent later, etc those are real actions indicating we are delivering real value.

      The above three will give you a top level metric like WAU's.

      I would also recommend defining a "Depth" metric. Which is something like actions per active user.

  • AF

    alan famous

    about 4 years ago #

    Hi Brian,

    I see you have been the founder of a few companies. Do you prefer working on your own startups or growing companies from marketing leadership position. Do you prefer to hire others with entrepreneurial experience or those with growth hacking resumes built by working at other companies.

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      "Do you prefer working on your own startups or growing companies from marketing leadership position?"

      Tough question. They are two very different experiences with two very different sets of pros/cons. For the stage I am at in my life I'm enjoying my time at HubSpot. The product/team/mission is growing at a faster rate than I've ever experienced. Thats awesome.

      But I know in my heart that at some point I will return to starting my own company. It is just who I am.

      "Do you prefer to hire others with entrepreneurial experience or those with growth hacking resumes built by working at other companies?"

      There are very few people out there that have been part of legit growth teams for long enough to have it on their resume. If they are, they aren't in Boston (where HubSpot is). So I usually don't look for that.

      I love people with entrepreneurial backgrounds especially for PM roles. Growth is fundamentally about having some grit to solve complex problems in the most efficient way possible. That is basically what entrepreneurship is.

  • JS

    Justin Seeley

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey @bbalfour. Thanks for doing this.

    Any tips for improving the confidence you have in results of product tests? For example isolating the test to just the product tweak, and not external factors such as marketing changes, other A/B tests that may be running, etc.

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Two biggest things:

      1. A solid experiment framework. We use a version of Plan Out (open sourced by Facebook) that does random distribution of users into experiments, logs users in various experiments, etc.

      2. Great metrics/data that lets you segment in a bunch of ways. That lets you rule out a lot of things. For example did Activation Rate change because of an experiment or did the channel mix change dramatically. First, this should be solved by #1 above. But if not you can easily segment the Activation Rate by source, campaign, etc. If it effected all or most you can be pretty confident it was the experiment and not the result of a change in one channel or something else.

  • AC

    Andrew Capland

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian - as a former HS employee and avid reader of GH, I'm excited that you're doing this.

    Since much of growth hacking is about setting hypothesis-driven growth goals, and not every project is going to be a home run, how have you been successful in getting executive buy-in and budget approval for the bigger projects?

    With a company like HubSpot this is probably easier than a smaller more budget conscious company, so I'm curious how you've been able to push the envelop while still playing within the budget sandbox.

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      When I first joined we did some work around:

      1. Buying ourselves a time period to make meaningful impact (months).
      2. Setting expectations that there will be a lot of failures along the way but the important thing is about learning.
      3. Get enough resources (people/money) to give yourself a decent chance.
      4. Getting the ownership to influence the things you need to influence.
      5. Being ruthless about prioritization and finding early wins.

  • KK

    Kris Kayyal

    about 4 years ago #

    @BrianBalfour along your journey what lessons, learnings or ah huh moments truly changed your entire perspective or outlook on growth?

    If you were to create another start up and were focused on growth, what would do differently?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      "along your journey what lessons, learnings or ah huh moments truly changed your entire perspective or outlook on growth?"

      Thats tough. A couple that I keep going back to:

      1. A conversation years ago with Andy Johns when he said almost every company can be expressed as a simple math equation. I always understood how to build pieces of the equation but when he said that something clicked and it brought together so many things I was thinking about and already doing.

      2. Why, How, What framework by Simon Sinek. I use that framework in so many places. Landing page design, copy for emails, content marketing strategy, the list goes on. Similarly the See, Think, Do framework by Avinash Kaushik.

      3. This was many many years ago but the AARRR framework by McClure. After so many years I still use it on almost a daily basis. Talk about long lasting impact!

  • JB

    Julian Builes

    about 4 years ago #

    If you were targeting young entrepreneurs for a social media effort. what would be the best and most efficient way to get quick growth?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      I'm not sure what you mean by a social media effort.

      Do you mean you are trying to reach young entrepreneurs via social media? Build your social media following of young entrepreneurs?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian
    So super psyched for this!

    Do you have a particular growth experiment that was either a big win or a big learning experience that you can share with us?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      This isn't an experiment but in the early days of Sidekick the assumption was made that tool was for Sales people.

      The first week I joined I looked at the data and found less than 30% of our users were sales people and we actually had 4 key personas.

      We generalized our messaging across our site, ads, etc and almost every number drastically increased.

      Lesson, never assume who your audience is and why they are using your product. Do your research.

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 4 years ago #

        Love this! I got a similar benefit from generalized messaging at LogMeIn. We were able to attract a persona that was way outside of our original assumed target user and that persona eventually made up 70% of our revenue.

        • YS

          yassin shaar

          about 4 years ago #

          That's very interesting. Can you please describe the research process you went through to identify this segment.

  • SL

    Spencer Lanoue

    about 4 years ago #

    Glad you decided to do an AMA here @bbalfour! Loved your essay about shaping yourself like a T.

    Knowing what you know now… What advice would you give to your 25 year old self about getting started in the field of customer acquisition and growth? What would you do to practice, hone your skill set, and develop your muscle?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Thanks Spencer.

      For those that know the post that Spencer is referencing, here it is: http://www.coelevate.com/essays/customer-acquisition

      Probably the number one piece of advice I would give myself is to focus. Like a lot of curious people I think I spread myself too thin. I've learned the most when I've focused and dug beyond the surface. So in this case it would be either focusing on specific channel or biz model (B2C vs B2C2B vs B2B).

      I did a lot of blogging in mid 20's which helped massively in my learning process. But I think there is only so much practice you can do on your own until you hit a ceiling. For example, real learning from paid acquisition comes from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. You need to be within a company environment that lets you do that.

      So I would recommend a few things:

      1. Find a focus
      2. Create and facilitate a "mastermind group" to learn from
      3. Find an environment with a great coach, team and set of resources that lets you go deeper than you could do on your own.

  • S:

    shmula : pete abilla

    about 4 years ago #

    Can you share an actual (albeit sanitized) pipeline document, experiment doc, and playbook?

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Yes but it will take me some time to sanitize so I can't do it on the spot. I'll post to my blog as my next blog post .

      • S:

        shmula : pete abilla

        about 4 years ago #

        Sanitize the numbers, but I'd love to see the actual channels on which the experiments were run. Yes, inspiration not prescription - but what inspiration it will be!

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 4 years ago #

    @bbalfour Let not forget about the sloths :D
    What's the 3 coolest things about them? Sloth marketers need to know!

  • AM

    Andrew McInnes

    about 4 years ago #

    @bbalfour Thank you Brian for taking the time to help people like me through this AMA. Your emphasis on process over tactics holds strong appeal for me, having lived and breathed this approach as a Growth PM at Zynga. I now want to take my growth PM interests and talents to the next level by joining a growth team I can contribute to and learn from (that's my focus). What growth teams do you think highly of in this regard in the SF Bay Area, which is where I live and work today?

  • BS

    Ben Slater

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian, thanks for doing this.

    Plenty of great questions already, but I just wanted to add a quickie.

    How far can we go with Content as a driver of growth? I understand that it depends on target market etc, but I'd be interested to know how far you think content alone can take you...

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      As you mentioned, it really really really depends.

      For HubSpot content deserves most of the credit for getting us to the IPO. That team has done incredible things. But there were some key factors for us.

      1. Our audience was marketers. Marketers consume a ton of content. They also share a ton of content. Those two things make content particularly ripe for our audience. That isn't the same for all. This is what I call Product Channel fit.

      2. The economics were aligned. Based on our price point and business model content could generate enough leads that converted into enough customers to get us to a $100M business. That doesn't work for something like Facebook. Each user for facebook is worth a lot less therefore you need a much higher volume which content can't produce as a channel. Works in the other direction as well. A strict enterprise company focused on Fortune 500 or 1000 at super high price points probably won't benefit much from content as those deals happen via relationships and huge sales.

  • FC

    Felipe Cardoso Barbosa

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Brian!

    I was reading the questions and your answers and I'm sharing them with our team here at Route. We're learning a lot.

    That said, I have question:

    We are a startup that launched last year our product. We are pretty confident that we have a product that works really well (from feedback from our early adopters). But we still couldn't reach the companies we are aiming for: cool startups that we also admire.

    Our company is not famous, we don't have an established brand and for that reason we're having trouble to start a conversation with those companies we really want to reach.

    In your experience, do you have a "hack" idea of how could make them notice us and give us credit to take a look at our product?

    Thanks @BBalfour,

  • CN

    Chris N.

    about 4 years ago #

    Hi Brian, when it comes to tracking user engagement, what are the tools that you recommend? Is it better to build in-house or do you have some tools that you always use yourself. I particularly liked the retention curve/ribbons you demonstrated, I have not found a tool to easily create those for me, nor one that can help me segment my data however I please.

    • BB

      Brian Balfour

      about 4 years ago #

      Hey @christianziza .

      See the question above by @soyflacito on how I generate those curves using an export from Mixpanel to Excel.

      When you are first starting out I would highly recommend using an existing tool vs building your own unless you have lots of funding and someone who has done it before.

      Long term though you are going to want to build your own. The out of the box tools solve for the most common denominator. You'll hit points where you need to look at your business in a way that is specific to you that the tools don't solve for.

      I think the ideal setup given this is to start with Segment.com and route your data to two places. An events based tool like Mixpanel and your own datastore like Redshift.

      That way when you decide to make the transition to more sophisticated tools or build your own you can hook them into all of your historical data on redshift.

      This is more expensive in the early days, but invaluable over the long term.

  • JJ

    Jacqueline Jensen

    almost 4 years ago #

    Great to meet you @bbalfour!

    What metrics do you use to determine if a startup's blog is successful when it comes to engagement? Our team is putting out great content, email open rates for the posts are decent, page views are good... but... we'd love to see more comments from readers. Do you think comments are a vital indicator of engagement and success? If so, any tips for how we can get more comments from readers?

  • CP

    Ching Piktochart

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Brian,
    Thanks for your insightful AMA :) I have 2 questions:
    1) How much does the growth team share with the rest of the company? i.e. do you release just a general picture of revenues, growth, retention etc or go really deep?
    2) Does your team also impact product decisions, i.e. build feature X to increase referrals? If yes, how does the team go about prioritising features for growth?

    Thank you!
    Ching

  • OP

    Oliver Pugh

    almost 4 years ago #

    Thank you for all of the detailed posts...

    What would you say is the one most important factory in growing traffic on your website? We're just starting out and have only used facebook newsfeed ads so far (they were pretty effective)

    Thanks

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