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Jon is an award-winning digital, growth, and product marketing expert, and a recognized global educator and keynote speaker. He's currently Digital Marketing Director at Kickstarter and Adjunct Faculty of Social Media and Web Analytics at New York University.

Jon further demonstrates his passion for marketing by teaching at General Assembly, while also mentoring startups at Techstars and Chobani.

You can follow him on Twitter: @Changahroo

He will be live on Jun 19 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • JC

    Jon Chang

    3 days ago #

    Hi everyone! I'm so excited to answer your questions about #growth. Feel free to continue asking questions here. I'll regularly come back to answer questions UNTIL I DIE. :)

    • TC

      Tad Chef

      2 days ago #

      Excellent! Can you please add line breaks in your responses in future? This way I can't even read the existing answers.

      • JC

        Jon Chang

        2 days ago #

        Thanks for voicing your opinion! I'll keep your thought in mind. I have a vision disability, which interferes with my digestion of online content, too. I find it helpful to also enhance the experience by enlarging the screen using Ctrl + + on Mac.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    9 days ago #

    Hi Jon,

    Super excited to have you on for an AMA.

    I know you're a super busy person, constantly learning and teaching. My first question is, how do you manage your time? Including balancing keeping up with the marketing trends so that you're top of the game?

    Also, how did you get involved as a professor? How would you recommend someone in a marketing / growth role get more involved in higher education?

    Looking forward to learning more!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Thanks, Dani!
      re: Time management - First of all, I’m constantly trying new ways to manage time, including using new time management templates and bio/life hacking. I’ve recently read some great books that help with time management: personal blog post with links to books. Additionally, I practice what I preach to my students: regardless of your message, communicate early and communicate often. This helps keep my schedule organized, especially if anything needs to change. To make sure I’m on top of my game, I make time to teach, read, and meet new people. It’s actually as simple as that, except that I’m an introvert who loves sleep. Sleep and I have a love/hate, to be honest… I teach and/or speak at least twice a month. Each time, I force myself to create new, original content for the audience, which requires aggressively researching and testing the latest trends. This requires dedicated times of the day to catch up on content, which I do first thing in the morning. Everyone says the best way to manage your time is to create habits and rituals. It’s absolutely true. I’ve published dozens of examples of the content on my blog, in the form of educational lessons, speaking presentations, and interview assignments.
      re: Keeping up with marketing trends - On top of following my favorite influencers and publishers on Twitter (aka the new RSS feed), I listen to and meet people at conferences (cough… cough… GrowthHackers). A lot of the new trends are born from brilliant people trying new things, which means you need to be their friends and religiously read their posts. My favorite new trends are usually from the Q&A during conferences and 1:1 conversations with people during happy hour.
      re: How to get involved in higher education - I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to teach at New York University by both luck and long-term investment in teaching. In 2012, I quit my legal job to teach high school marketing at a summer camp called Explo at Yale University. My dad was not thrilled about this career change. After teaching there for a couple years, I landed a teaching position at General Assembly at age 24. They usually don’t hire lead instructors who have less than 5 years of experience, but I could teach complex topics better than most of their instructors. Finally, after teaching at General Assembly for 3 years at age 27, I was recommended by a former curriculum advisor to my current Dean at New York University. It’s been an exciting career as an education, but it simply snowballed from taking a career chance and sticking to it.

  • PH

    Pradyut Hande

    7 days ago #

    Hey Jon,

    Great to have you here!

    It must be quite a challenge working in the domains of business corporations and academia. I have two unrelated questions for you:

    1. Your practical industrial learnings/knowledge must fuel your teaching to a great extent. Has your teaching - in turn - contributed to your professional growth, purely from a domain expertise standpoint?

    2. What are some of the key challenges working at a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter, from a content marketing perspective?

    I look forward to hearing your insights on the same. Cheers!

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Thanks for your question, Praduyut!
      re: career impact of teaching - The relationship between being a good practitioner and teacher is very tight, as I’ve learned over the years. In short, being a good practitioner helps me use important traditional marketing concepts (4 Ps, 5 Cs, etc.) in modern marketing use cases. Additionally, students expect that I can answer their marketing questions across every possible marketing disciple applied to every type of business. When I first started teaching, this was immensely challenging, given that I lacked years and years of consulting experience. Even people with all of that experience still have a hard time teaching across disciplines and business types in great detail. After a couple years of teaching, I started to realize that breaking down complex marketing concepts, theories, and strategies into the most basic components made me a subject matter expert in nearly every type of digital marketing, while also forcing me to constantly ideate new tactics that were deemed “out the box”. Interestingly, when I went head-to-head with people who have years of experience working on digital marketing, my results were almost always better. Why? Digital Marketing is highly formulaic, people are highly predictable, and digital marketing changes by the minute. Literally. Auctions and AI (such as RankBrain) are evolving every minute, which means marketers are expected to evolve, too. There’s this idea that, if you can you break any concept into the most basic components, then you can master any subject.
      re: content marketing - From a content marketing perspective, I see companies with complex products like Kickstarter, Stack Overflow, MakerBot, and General Assembly needing to add several steps to the user journey before both conversion and brand loyalty. Slide 10 of this General Assembly Go-To-Market Plan breaks down the Consideration of the user journey into both Topic Consideration and Product Consideration. Historically, content marketing really only needed to address product differentiations. However, users now need additional information to even consider partaking in the industry. For Indiegogo, because their funding model allows their userbase to receive funding with or without hitting the intended monetary goal, needs to provide educational content marketing to help their users be as successful as possible. This means, Indiegogo’s content marketing team is responsible for educating their users about advertising, email marketing, business modeling - all things that traditional content marketing didn’t need to address. These topics, in my opinion, would’ve been considered too tangential to the actual product offering a decade ago. Companies like Hubspot have really helped content marketers better craft content that brings in users from a wide array of interests that would eventually lead the user to the actual product offering. Growth marketing especially adheres to this concept, because cornering a market requires acquiring the “users of tomorrow”. I always think of the “buying a car” marketing model when ideating content. The assumption is that nearly everyone will eventually need to buy a car, which beckons the question: “How do we make sure we’re top of mind when that user is ready to buy a car?” The answer is a strong content marketing strategy.

      • PH

        Pradyut Hande

        2 days ago #

        Thanks for sharing your fabulously detailed and insightful responses! Really do appreciate the same!

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    4 days ago #

    Bonjour Jon,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    A few days ago you tweeted that #MarTech has become the most important skill to have for a CMO.

    Couple of questions as a follow up on that tweet.

    1). Why is that more relevant in 2018 than in 2008?

    2). Which part of MarTech do you see increasingly carry more growth weight over the decade to come?

    Merci beaucoup 🙏

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Great questions, Arsene!
      re: 2018 vs 2008 - There are many correct answers to your question, depending on the organization size and industry. The main reason why CMOs need MarTech skills is to increase marketing efficiency (internally as a team, externally as marketing strategies and tactics) in ways that weren’t necessary in 2008. During the first decade of the 2000s, we saw a shift away from the Mad Men days of branding branding branding to the introduction of programmatic marketing, big data, and real omnichannel marketing (digital, traditional, OOH). During just the last 5-ish years, we’ve seen the resurgence of brand marketing, but now coupled with the semi-recent rise of MarTech and AdTech (some people just call this product marketing). CMOs who built their careers on the Mad Men style marketing are now forced to compete against other, perhaps younger, CMOs who are bridging the gap between those two disciplines. The real impact is that the modern CMOs who embrace MarTech and AdTech are able to increase performance marketing efficiency at a larger scale, while also maintaining strong storytelling. You need both to succeed as a CMO today. For those wondering, here’s the original article: CMOs Need Martech Skills.
      re: MarTech - I’m really excited to see MarTech create ways to best communicate with users at the right time with the right messages, which requires automation, AI, strong storytelling, and deep understanding of your audience. Two of my favorite tools right now are IBM Watson and Simon Data. Two examples of the many things IBM Watson is capable of doing: empowering customer support and increasing efficiency of large scale programmatic marketing. A common marketing problem is the inability to create feedback loops with customer support. In my opinion, if marketing did its job well, then customer support would receive fewer tickets. There are ways to tell stories and message users that would prevent so many calls, emails, and social media posts. Simon Data is great, because it’s an automation, AI, and BI tool that segments your userbase and connects with pretty much any end platform under the sun. I’ve used Simon Data to automate messages to users across the entire user journey, such as: if user clicks on 3 email newsletter links with utm_content=comics during the last 30 days, then that user should automatically receive an email drip onboarding to comic content and retargeting advertisements about comics.
      More about user journeys here!

      A quick citation: Here’s a super helpful article to better understand the MarTech landscape.

      2 Share
  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    3 days ago #

    Hi Jon - great to have you on for an AMA. I've narrowed down my questions to three...

    1) If you had to drop all of your marketing tools except for one, what would you continue to use and why?
    2) What technology do you see changing the way growth teams operate in the future? How do you think that will that look?
    3) Lastly, when you're working with a new team, do you have a checklist of items you ensure are implemented before your work can make an impact? If so, what are they?

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Sean, thank YOU for having me! Of course you’ve asked the most exciting but challenging questions. :)
      re: one marketing tool to rule them all - I’m obsessed with a tool calledSimon Data right now. Here’s why: Once it’s fully set up, it uses basic SQL queries to segment my users into the best cohorts, allows me to easily create automated retargeting and remarketing campaigns, and has the best customer support on the market. Let’s break down all three points! Simon Data has the ability to just “sit on top” of an events database, then use its AI to segment users into the most actionable segments. All I have to do is make sure that I submit a strong foundation of SQL queries to build upon, such as users by geography, demographic, on-site content interaction, and 3rd party marketing interaction (paid social, SEM, organic social, email, et al.). This means that I can better segment my userbase with limited maintenance and hands-on analysis. Secondly, given the awesome user segments the tool helps me create, I’m then able to deliver the best messages to the right users at the right time through retargeting and remarketing and an insanely large quantity of tests. Think of the user segmentation SQL queries as an input/output machine, coupled with a well-tagged repository of content. I can structure any test and input any quality of user to my funnel without worrying about excess churn or bad user experiences (all assuming you’ve set up the machine well in Simon Data). The retargeting and remarketing will select the users into the best funnels as the tool collect behavioral data about the user (as simple as: where the user comes from and what she clicks). Thirdly, Simon Data create private Slack Channels for each of its clients, where they respond to questions and concerns conversationally in real time. To me, this level of customer support is nearly unprecedented. By customer question (mostly keywords in the question), their bots ping the correct person to answer the question. Both the Simon team and client win in this situation.
      re: future technology for growth teams - SaaS marketing automation technology will help growth teams (not to be a broken record) deliver the right messages to the right people at the right times, while dramatically reducing the amount of time and effort growth teams need to spend on those tasks. Instead, they’ll have freed up time to structure new tests, try new channels and tactics, and hyperfocus on either different user segments or specific parts of the customer journey.
      re: checklist for impact - I don’t have a written checklist of impact, because I’ve created those lists per project or organization. However, I’ll write one and get back to you ASAP. :)

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    3 days ago #

    Hi Jon!

    Thanks for joining us. Loved what you had to say at #GHConf18 and look forward to learning more from you. A couple of questions...

    1. Kickstarter is a two-sided marketplace. As a digital marketer, how do you ensure there’s both quality supply and enough demand?

    2. How do Kickstarter’s PBC status and mission affect your acquisition strategy and tactics?

    Best,
    John

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    3 days ago #

    As a marketer, how do you communicate with engineering and product teams? Have you implemented or seen any feedback loops that help get feedback from social media to product? If so, what do hey look like done well?

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Such a great question, Tri! One of the most common questions I get. To properly get feedback from social media to product, you need two things: a culture of feedback (duh, but it’s actually really necessary) and a nimble, highly iterable communication format. I have two current favorite marketing structures: reporting to product and diamond team structures. I think this is also why product marketers are in high demand. Leaders who understand the importance of product marketing often also understand the importance of feedback between teams. Product marketers are usually the go-to marketing (pun intended) representative about anything related to specific products, including the users, messaging, positioning, and product roadmap. By embedding product marketers into both the marketing and product cultures, the feedback between teams becomes natural. To make sure the feedback works well, you need to layer on a long-term roadmap that helps stakeholders understand their roles and product vision, weekly (if not daily) retrospectives to force regular dialogue about growth and the interrelationship between marketing, product, engineering, and data, and, finally, tools that facilitate communication and repositories of retrospective content (ex: Trello, Jira, Asana, et al.). Here’s my advice, start educating internal stakeholders about the importance of testing and reviewing tests, then start creating and reviewing testing results on a weekly basis. This may start off long-form, but the goal is that you can hammer these out several times a week in just 10-minute standups.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    3 days ago #

    Hey Jon - super cool to have you on!

    1. Can you talk about the biggest growth challenge you faced at Kickstarter?
    How did you tackle it?

    2. What do you consider to be the foundations of good/effective/insightful data analysis?
    Any courses (other than yours, obviously :))/resources etc you'd recommend for those starting out on this path?

    • JC

      Jon Chang

      3 days ago #

      Super cool to be here, Anuj!
      re: Biggest growth challenge - The growth challenges at high growth companies like Kickstarter, Stack Overflow, General Assembly, and MakerBot are surprisingly similar, even though their business models are so different. Each of these companies had early explosive organic growth in their business lifecycles due to strong products, early entry into the marketplace, and super duper talented founding teams. These organizations usually bring me in when processes and structures are being restructured to hit a new wave of growth - a wave that’s mean to set long-term growth. In these situations, the biggest challenges are: fitting multi-skilled original employees into domain-specific positions, reaching new audiences, cleaning up years of messy data, and fixing marketing tech debt. Until those are resolved, conducting research, implementing go-to-market plans, and running tests all requires tons of growth hacking around the problems.
      This startup growth curve is all too real! I’ve joined organizations at the point marked “product/market fit”.
      re: foundations of good data analysis - This is where I find myself doing the majority of modern digital marketing education. The first foundational piece is having an agile marketing process and growth marketing mindset across teams, which requires well-oiled retrospectives, daily testing iterations, and the understanding that datasets that show testing “failure” are actually successes. The second foundational piece is having a testing roadmap and concept-based testing. The most common way people mess up testing is jumping into testing individual variables without understanding the overall concept needed to be validated/invalidated. I see these most in traditional performance marketing disciplines, where the objective is to incrementally increase efficiency metrics (conversion rate, clickthrough rate, ROAS, et al.) and variables are individual keywords, images, and such. Sounds good, right? The major caveat is premature optimization. The solution is simple: bucket your variables and tests into themes.
      re: recommended resources -I’ve been posting tons of digital marketing resources on my blog. Much more to come! Other than that, here’s a collection of resources I made for my General Assembly Students, which includes my favorite publications, events, and certifications. I hope this helps!

      4 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    3 days ago #

    Hi Jon, It's wonderful to have you here doing this AMA today.

    What do you envision as the future of crowdfunding and what's the Digital Marketing strategy you'd plan for it? How is Social Media involved in that?

    Thanks in advance!

  • AJ

    adeyemi jaiyeola

    3 days ago #

    Hi jon good to have you here !

    1. what are the most fundamental metrics you think every start up should use to measure success during there growth process and why?

    2. As a digital marketer do you think in the future Ai could be integrated alongside a growth team ?could there be conflicts in coming up with a strategy.

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