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AMAs

Sophia Eng is the VP of Marketing at Trade The Fifth and Founder of Women in Growth, a community dedicated to empowering women to grow businesses. She has been the driving force behind the revenue and user growth at InVision, Autodesk, and Workday, as well as her own consulting agency using buyer psychology as the backbone of her strategies and insights. Companies choose Sophia due to her track record of getting the best results in the shortest amount of time, while maximizing promotion and growth budgets. Using her background in science and psychology, Sophia has paired with ConversionXL alongside Sean Ellis to teach growth marketing through the lens of effective persuasive psychology.  

Today, Sophia champions female and minority inclusion in Silicon Valley. Sophia has a special focus on empowering female entrepreneurs, as well as pushing the agenda for more in-depth studies on the unique psychology of female consumers. 

On March 28, 2019, Sophia will be answering questions related to personal and company-wide growth potential and coaching, consumer psychology, working remotely and, Optimizing for Happiness; balancing life and work as a mom and caregiver.

 

  • SM

    Shanelle Mullin

    3 months ago #

    Thanks for doing this, Sophia!

    1. What prioritization frameworks and methodologies do you use when evaluating growth opportunities?

    2. How do you balance conducting research while also executing on the insights?

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi, Shanelle!

      It's great to see you here on GH, thanks for asking your questions!

      When evaluating growth opportunities, I look at the opportunities from an ROI scorecard perspective, laying out the test ideas and evaluating them from an impact vs. effort analysis.

      It’s important to give primary consideration to the North Star Metric, whether that’s driving more daily active users, or engagement for existing users, for example.

      Running it through this framework helps me and the team see what the level of impact the opportunity is against the level of effort it will take us to get the test up and running.

      2 Share
    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Research is something that I really try to incorporate into my daily life and business.

      Asking “why”, whether that’s looking at data or in my conversations with customers, I’m really trying to understand the landscape, what the pain points are, and how our solutions are helping to solve our customers’ problems.

      When a good hypothesis has been identified, the next step is to think about the strategy around solving that problem with tests (using the prioritization framework in your previous question!) that can be executed on for insights.

      The important part of this process for me after all these years, however, is really asking the right questions in the research-phase, and getting clear on what the problems are, the motivations of users, etc. in order to design the correct tests to solve the right problems for growth!

      2 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    3 months ago #

    Sophia! So glad to see you hosting an AMA :)

    So many questions, where do I start?

    1. I know caregiving can be an extremely demanding role, both mentally and emotionally. How do you manage the responsibilities of caregiving and your overall well-being?

    2. How did you get started in psychology? Are there any frameworks or techniques you've found reliable to use in your work on an ongoing basis?

    3. Is there a dark-side to marketers using psychology? Can you share your thoughts on how marketers can ensure their psychology practices are ethical?

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi, Dani!

      It’s so great to collaborate with you again with GH, whether we’re on-stage, or off! Thank you for asking your questions.

      1) As part of the working sandwich generation (caring for our two little ones and two aging parents under the same roof), time is extremely important to me because I don’t have much of it to waste.

      I’ve had to learn to optimize for my happiness, and prioritize my time to work on projects I want to work on AND with the people that I want to work on them with.

      Staying vision-led, customer-led, and purpose-led eliminates circumstances that I know aren’t congruent to my values and helps to keep me mentally and emotionally sane.

      This year, I ran a group for women asking the same questions to learn how to optimize for happiness in their 1) homes, 2) health, 3) relationships, and 4) business/careers. It’s a struggle for many, especially with competing priorities, and but as soon as you focus on your own North Star, it becomes much easier!

      2 Share
    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Understanding why people do what they do and their motivations really intrigued me after completing my B.S. in Biological Sciences. I became more intrigued by the study of psychology, and knew that it could be even more powerful than the human body if we understood its power to heal, inspire, and...motivate.

      While pursuing my Master’s in Clinical Psychology, I began working with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in my practice with patients, and continue to leverage the technique in my everyday life working with clients, whether that’s through conducting user interviews, coaching, etc.

      CBT is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behavior) all interact together. It is extremely powerful in relationships and business.

      2 Share
    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      3) Recently, I heard Ryan Deiss speak on digital marketing, and how the "greatest marketers don’t just love their customers, they love humans in general, but above all else, great marketers have empathy.”

      Unfortunately, empathy isn't something that is taught in a marketing course! This is another reason why it's extremely important for businesses to value diversity and inclusion, encourage different perspectives, and help ensure ethical practices in order to thrive and grow in today's marketplace.

      2 Share
  • AG

    Ashley Greene

    3 months ago #

    Hey Sophia! So good to see you here.

    1) What is your #1 tip for working cross-functionally in terms of getting growth tests going, particularly when it comes to changes within product?

    2) Why do you put user psychology at the core of your growth strategy?

    3) Any tips on getting buy-in for growth marketers, product managers, ux research, etc to a) do work in user psychology / generate insights; and b) if the findings are not what other stakeholders want to hear,

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hey, Ashley!

      Excited to see you here and to answer your questions!

      1) A good tip that’s worked for me for working cross-functionally with the growth and product teams to get your growth tests initiated is getting time in with their teams, sharing your user research findings, and having a prioritization framework for the opportunities listed by what you anticipate the level of effort vs. level of impact will be. Be open to hearing their perspective in what they have experienced, and open to them adjusting the levels of effort and impact (prioritization) as they will be making the changes within the product.

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Testing and iteration can help you find big wins, but understanding what to test starts with understanding how your users think and behave (user psychology) in order to drive growth in the business.

  • PC

    Pedro Clivati

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey, Sophia - thank you for doing this and congrats on launching and participating in so many important initiatives, your work, and dedication is needed and very valuable to the whole community.

    With that being said, here are some questions:

    1) Since you have already been on both sides of the table, what would you say is the biggest difference between a growth team and a marketing team?

    2) Do you have any tips on how to engage people from other areas in collaborating and participating with your goals?
    We know that growth hackers fluctuate in different and every area of an org and it depends on other areas collaboration to maximize output.

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi, Pedro!

      Thanks for your questions.

      The biggest difference between being on a growth team vs. on a marketing team is the difference of focus. Growth marketers are looking at the full funnel in a holistic way as they are focused on the North Star Metric that tells the story of the business as a whole, and being able to influence the product.

      Brian Balfor has a great blog post to describe the difference:
      https://brianbalfour.com/essays/growth-vs-marketing-vs-product

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Similar to Ashley's first question, a good tip that’s worked for me for engaging people from other areas in the business to collaborate and participate your goals is to sharing your user research findings, letting them know how this also impacts their goals, and having a prioritization framework for the opportunities listed by what you anticipate the level of effort vs. level of impact will be. Be open to hearing their perspective in what they have experienced, and open to them adjusting the levels of effort and impact (prioritization) as you want to get them involved!

  • AT

    Aditi Tandon

    3 months ago #

    Hi Sophia,
    Really excited about this AMA. I have tons of questions ;)

    1. What are some cost effective tips to grow online marketplaces? With your track record of getting the best results in the shortest amount of time, what should be the prime focus for a new marketplace? SEO or Paid advertising?

    2. With your experience in maximizing promotion and growth budgets, what in your opinion is a reasonable cost/lead for FB ads?

    3. Marketplaces need both an audience and vendors. How does one maximize growth both ways?

    4. As Dani mentioned, it takes a lot to balance a demanding career with care giving. With every win in one aspect of work-life, there's something that gives elsewhere. What are the ways you maximize productivity and efficiency?

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Another great question. The cost per lead will be different depending on your industry, channel, or the quality of a lead. I have run FB campaigns at $20/lead for a highly qualified lead in the software industry, while my best average was $0.17 per lead in a retail industry.

      3) This is a classic chicken and the egg problem as one cannot exist without the other. Companies like Uber and Airbnb first focused on ensuring the vendors were there to service the audience (i.e., paying for drivers to wait around for riders in the early days, or having great listings of house rentals available for renters), then focused on growing the audience.

      I've also been involved in growing marketplaces we first focused on filling the vendors, then marketed the product to the audience, and the companies are seeing incredible growth seemingly quick!

      • AT

        Aditi Tandon

        about 1 month ago #

        Thanks for the CPL info. Helps in gaining perspective.
        And I guess it makes sense to have the vendors first before you target the buyers side of it!!!!

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      4) Great question! Unlike the lifestyle I had in my earlier career, I no longer have time to binge watch the latest Netflix shows or lose myself in the latest memes in social media (which, by the way, officially makes me the uncoolest person during water cooler conversations). I've had to learn to say, "no" to a lot of things, including some relationships that are tough to let go of, so that I could be more productive and efficient.

      Maybe it's because of my career in optimization that I see few differences in how I should be prioritizing my home life the same way.

      If our time budget is short, and if we want to make a greater impact in the world, we ought to become better at prioritizing our time on activities with the people we care about.

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi, Aditi!

      It's great to see you here, and thank you for your questions!

      1) This is quite a multi-faceted question. For new online marketplaces, I think the best answer here in the early stages is to focus on ensuring the best product / market fit for both the buyer and seller when thinking about growth.

      SEO is a longer term play for driving targeted traffic to your website, and while reaching the #1 rank in the SERP may seem like an uphill task especially in the early stages, smart marketing tactics go hand-in-hand with this form of content-driven marketing.

      Paid advertising should be used when you are testing for fit, or when you’re looking to drive and scale traffic when you’ve found it. An advantage of paid over SEO is that you have greater options for targeting and segmenting your audience for quicker conversion rates if you have a good paid strategy.

      However, I see SEO and PPC together as a two-pronged approach, and both very useful tactics for growing business in their own ways. In fact, I always prefer to manage both of them together on a team. An integrated approach to marketing with SEO and PPC is the best way to go if you master the art of combining them in the right proportions.

      • AT

        Aditi Tandon

        about 1 month ago #

        Thanks Sophia,
        Yes it makes sense to keep an integrated approach and work at both SEO and PPC.

  • BG

    Bianca Grigoras

    2 months ago #

    Any recommendations for e-commerce platforms for European businesses?

  • LS

    Lydia Sugarman

    about 2 months ago #

    What are your tips/recommendations for developing and executing a growth strategy for different customer segments, e.g. b2b, b2c, for different services offered, like commercial banks? TIA!

  • HO

    HENRIQUE OURO WEBER

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Sophia :)
    Can you help me with this 2 questions:
    1) How can a male leader empower female members in his team?
    2) And how can we distinct leadership from chauvinism?
    Thanks for your time!

    • SE

      Sophia Eng

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi, Henrique!

      Thanks for asking your questions.

      1) I'm glad you care about empowering women on a team and want to be an ally. Here are some ideas on how a male leader can empower female members on his team:

      - Listen to her, ask questions, and see how you can support her in her career or her next assignment.

      - Share opportunities with her, whether that’s speaking opportunities at conferences, or on a project with lots of visibility.

      - Acknowledge and celebrate her accomplishments publicly.

      - Provide straight talk by evaluating all team members based on results, and give specific feedback to women so they can grow to their full potential.

  • AS

    Alanna Sousa

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Sophia, thank you for your time to share your expertise with us and for all the work you do to empower other women.

    On this note, I have 3 questions for you:

    1) Having now a solid journey at Silicon Valley, at what point did you decide to put your expertise into helping other female entrepreneurs and minorities to do achieve the same?

    2) What's the one thing you learned while studying the unique psychology of female consumers, that you put into practice and led to the growth of a company you've worked at?

    3) What does "life balance" mean to you and what habit did you develop to help you find this balance (considering that Hermione's time-turner is not available at CVS)?

    Cheers!

  • SE

    Sophia Eng

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi everyone, this has been so much fun!

    I've run out of time for today, but I will come back over the next few days to finish answering your questions.

    Feel free to leave one if you haven't already!

    - Sophia

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