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Hi Ethan, I'm brand new to GH.
I would like you to tell me some examples of experimentation, how is it conducted? What do I experiment with, the website? and....
I come from a marketing background and would like to know if this can help me be a good GH. What skills should I develop to be an excellent GH?
Thank you all for question and thank you @Ethan Garr answering, I got much knowledge form it
Hey, Ethan thank you so much for answering the questions from our community members!
Thank you so much to everyone who participated today. Your thoughtful questions have made this a lot of fun, and I hope the answers prove valuable for you as you drive growth within your organizations.
There are a couple of questions I didn't have time to get to, but I will try to respond in the next few days to those and any additional questions/responses that come up.
If you have any specific questions I can help you with feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or on Twitter @ethanmgarr
You can also request a meeting with me, listen to our podcast, and read articles Sean Ellis and I publish on our BreakoutGrowth website
Hiring your first growth lead is exciting. I worry about “non-negotiables,” because my greatest success in terms of growth leadership was at TelTech, where the two founders took a chance on me (I had been out of tech for a while and didn’t have mobile experience). I am glad they didn’t have or at least didn't stick to “non-negotiables” in the hiring process, and I am glad it worked out. Together we created the breakout growth success story of RoboKiller and other mobile apps. So, yes there are key things you should be looking for, but I would approach each candidate with an open mind.
A great growth lead has a combination of tenacity, enthusiasm, and curiosity paired with a passion for data-driven learning, experimentation, and process. A few areas I would focus on:
- Demonstrated ability to lead teams
- Experience using data to drive decisions
- A clear process for prioritizing ideas
- Passion for learning and a natural curiosity
- A history of applying creative solutions to solve problems
To your second question, the ideal growth team is going to depend on your growth stage, industry, etc. For a mobile app developer that might include a product owner, designer, and a front-end and back-end developer as a starting point, but it could certainly include a marketing lead and a data analyst if you have those resources available. In reality, most early-stage teams don’t have all of the people on board they will need, and individuals play multiple roles to achieve the goals.
My best recommendation is not to let the lack of resources slow you down. Go to war with the weapons you have, not the ones you wish you have. Teammates will step up if they feel you will give them the room to make mistakes and grow.
Fortunately, the growth process is great at exposing the resources you need. When we started to build more complex experiments and realized we didn’t have the data expertise to prove or disprove our hypotheses we knew who we needed to hire next to be successful!
Let’s work backwards on your questions starting with what are the key indicators that something is not working?
When we introduced the growth hacking methodology at TelTech (where I formerly led Product-marketing) we were excited to jump into high-tempo testing, so we dove in head-first trying to get a lot of experiments into the queue. Unfortunately, our hypotheses weren’t laying out clearly measurable expectations, we weren’t ensuring that we had the instrumentation to measure success, and we were setting ourselves up for failure.
A few things happen when you are in that situation: experiments break down and you fail to get answers, and/or you start to create narratives of success based on guesses instead of facts. So I think the key indicators that things are not working are that your experiments are failing to confirm or disprove hypotheses, you are struggling to prioritize new tests based on learnings, and to the second part of your question, you don’t know when to change directions.
We course-corrected quickly, and fortunately were able to churn out some really great successes, but the way to avoid these mistakes is to focus on high-quality testing first before trying to expand.
Some tips for that include:
- Ensure hypotheses have a quantifiable expectation for success
- Check that you have the resources to accurately measure the experiment KPIs
- Understand how big a sample you will need and how long it will take to get a result
- Think through dependencies that might impact your results
- Make sure there is a clear understanding of how success would positively impact your NSM
I think within that answer I covered a lot of your second question, “What are some mistakes people should avoid when experimenting?” but I have also written an article exactly on that topic titled, How to Ruin an Experiment
Hi Aymee, thanks for your question, I think it is a really important one.
I don’t think there is a hierarchy between acquisition and retention. A growth engine depends on all of its components working together to accelerate the North Star Metric. So while I do believe in focusing experimentation on specific areas of the funnel for a given time period, I would pick which area to emphasize based on the specific challenges the organization is trying to overcome at that time.
On The Breakout Growth Podcastwe spoke with Maria Thomas, Buffer’s Chief Product Officer and she explained the importance of having Product and Marketing leads in constant, daily communication with each other. Her point was that acquisition and retention depend on each other. If your acquisition efforts promise an experience, your product has to deliver on that experience to drive retention, so everything is tightly coupled. When these teams become siloed, it is really easy for things to go off the rails.
To your second question, “what are some of the services/platforms/companies I have learned from in my journey . . .,” Where do I begin!
Last year I took the GoPractice growth simulator course which was super-valuable. I like hands-on learning, so the format worked well for me (in the course you take on the role of a growth analyst within a mobile app startup). It really sharpened my data skills, and because it uses Amplitude in the process I was able to become more adept at using analytics tools to view, understand, and make better data-driven decisions. They just published a Skills Assessment Test and I think it is a great way to see where you are strong and where you can improve.
Using Amplitude and Mixpanel with clients has also been very helpful for me. Both of those companies have generated high-quality content that I think anybody in growth, product, or marketing can learn from.
As a mobile guy, I think AppAnnie and SensorTower are two really valuable tools. They provide really good insight into the app market as a whole and help you to identify trends to power your own growth.
In terms of your second question, I think that understanding the startup stage you are at is super-important to your growth strategy.
If you are pre-product/market fit your growth strategy should be about one thing and one thing only . . . finding product/market fit. To me, everything else is a distraction. At this stage, you are figuring out how your product or service creates value for end-users, so you have to work relentlessly to prove out a value hypothesis before you move into growth mode.
Transitioning to growth can be difficult as you build out teams, begin testing new acquisition channels, and build out your test/learn processes. This is when I think teams can really benefit from developing processes around a North Star Metric (and potentially by implementing OKRs). I talk about this extensively in this article, wHow to Win with OKRs and a North Star Metric
When you reach the expansion stage, the growth mindset and growth culture you develop drives sustainable growth. Fast-growing companies need everyone pulling in the same direction, and it becomes increasingly important (especially as you hire new people), that everyone has a clear understanding of where the company is going, and why and how their individual role in growth matters.
One of the things I love about hosting The Breakout Growth podcast is digging into growth strategy with leaders in this expansion stage. Our conversations with Hugo Periera of EVBox and Ferdinand Goetzen of 3D Hubs for example shed a lot of great light in this area.
Hey Pedro, great question.
I think the key to finding a good North Star Metric is to not focus on the metric itself but to instead start with how and why the organization creates value for others. Service-based businesses help their clients achieve specific goals. Asking yourself questions like why is achieving that goal important, why does our service matter to their success, etc. is a great first step.
When you really understand how the work you do creates value for your clients you can put the mission in focus. Then finding a metric that measures progress towards that mission becomes easier.
For your venture capital firm example, perhaps as you ask those questions you might find that the mission of the firm is to provide an ecosystem where founders are best positioned for success because of the support you provide through collaborative relationships. From there the team may look for a North Star Metric that focuses on driving those collaborative relationships. Something like “Weekly Quality Introductions”.
Asking me to only recommend three episodes of The Breakout Growth Podcast is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but I will try:
wTips for Building a Rocketship from Canva’s Former Head of Product was our interview with Georgia Vidler. Georgia has experience in product, marketing, and growth so it is a really insightful episode with very practical and applicable advice.
From Onboarding to Healthy Habits, Noom's Growth is Powered by Psychology. We interviewed Co-founder and President, Artem Petakov, and got a master’s class in building mission-driven breakout growth success.
Blinkist CEO Shares How Two Key Inflection Points Led to Breakout Growth. CEO Holger Seim went deep with us on how paid acquisition and Word of Mouth power growth, and he was just brutally transparent in sharing successes and failures.
Our next couple of episodes I think will also really excite the GH audience. We will be talking about new opportunities in TV advertising and catching up with the Chief Revenue Officer of a company everyone knows.
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