How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?
My background, as you probably noticed, I started back in mobile back in sort of 1999. I’ve been in mobile for pretty much as long as mobile has existed. But I started out as a programmer. My background is computer science, actually. My bachelor’s degree is in Computer Science. I started out making games.
I was doing games for Nokia back in 1999. I had worked on a game called Space Impact which got embedded on the 3310 phone which then became their best-selling phone ever.
And so, I was working in mobile games for a long time which is not growth and is not marketing.
Basically, after about nine years or so of working on making games and building software, I decided to take a break. I took a year around the world, just traveling.
During that year, I decided to go to business school. I applied for some business schools during that year. When I got back, I went to business school. I did my MBA and specialized in marketing strategy. And then, I came to Berlin which is where I’m now based and where we have our Phiture HQ.
Yeah, it was basically coming to Berlin and working with companies over here – particularly with SoundCloud – that really got me into the practical applications of growth marketing. It was really this combination of the technical background with the business school and the specialty and marketing and then the practical application of that at SoundCloud, helping them grow their mobile apps.
Who Are Your Role Models for Growth Marketing?
Role models – I have quite a few. I try to read a lot of stuff from people that are posting good things about growth. There’s a lot.
But I would say, if I had to pick a couple, Brian Balfour – I really love his stuff. I think he’s a very good communicator and he’s putting out – for my mind – consistently for a long time some of the best content. Now, he’s running Reforge which is like growth courses for professionals – like online learning. I would think he’s the best in the business, really.
Some others that I would say would be good role models and people that I’ve learnt a lot from – Casey Winters who is now at Greylock; Gustaf Alströmer – I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing his name correctly but he’s the Head of Growth at Airbnb; and John Egan at Pinterest – he is a growth engineer at Pinterest but he writes some really good stuff on growth.
What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?
I’m not too keen on the term growth hacking, to be honest, because I think it sometimes gives people the wrong impression – like, all they need to do is make a few quick changes and they’re going to get this silver bullet kind of effect.
Yes, sometimes, it works that way but, more often than not, growth is more of a process. It’s more of a mindset. It’s about being analytical, it’s about being data-driven, and it’s about continuous scientific experimentation. You know, lots of small victories, probably the occasional big win, and a lot of things that don’t work.
It’s a lot about actually getting this process that allows you to iterate around experiments on an ongoing basis and get that fast level of iteration knowing that, actually, 25 percent of your experiments are probably going to be significant results and the other 75 percent probably not.
I mean, I really do love this field of just intersecting of product and marketing and data science and I sometimes refer to it as technical marketing. I really like the way that this marketing is developing and going very much away from this kind of old school, Mad Men kind of brand marketing type of stuff to really kind of actionable, cool, experimental, technical stuff. It’s a bit nerdy and I like it a lot.
How Do You Attract Leads for Your Business and Clients?
At Phiture, we get a lot of inbound leads, actually. The way that we attract those is mostly through the writing and the publishing stuff that we do.
Mostly, we publish on MobileGrowthStack.com which is our kind of blog site. You know, we don’t really call it content marketing because it’s not really there specifically just to sell consultancy. We do consult with clients. That’s our core business.
At Phiture, we do mobile growth consultancy. But, you know, we do like to actually contribute to the whole community through writing articles, through sharing what we’ve learned and what’s working well for us on articles on MobileGrowthStack.com and with the Mobile Growth Stack framework in general.
People see that we know what we’re talking about and that we have some good experience. And then, yes, that does generate leads and inquiries about the consultancy business but, you know, I think it comes – hopefully – from a very authentic place and that it’s not just sort of a cheap marketing gimmick. It’s like we’re just sharing what we know and that knowledge kind of shows through.
For our clients, we help companies – mostly in the consumer space. I’m working also with a B2B client. We help them attract users or leads in all sorts of ways. What we do is we use the Mobile Growth Stack as a framework. We look at the acquisition layer, specifically in that stack, and really help them to sort of identify what would be the biggest opportunities, the various activities that they could be doing – whether that’s PR, whether it’s performance marketing, whether it’s partnerships. We help the client to really figure out what is going to be the right mix and what are the things which could have the biggest upside for them.
What Are the Top 3 Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?
That’s a tough one.
It’s kind of a multidisciplinary kind of approach. Actually, there’s lots of qualities I think you need to succeed and lots of different kinds of people can succeed across hacking because it’s quite multidisciplinary.
But, if I had to pick three, I guess number one – definitely data-driven. You know, you need to be always thinking about impact and how to measure that and how to structure an experiment properly to actually see if impact was achieved with the change or the experiment that you’ve made and you really should have let that data really lead the discussion and the decisions that are made. You can’t be too tied to a particular idea even if you’re excited about it. if the data shows it’s not driving impact, then it’s no good. So, number one, data-driven.
Number two – I think it’s good to think holistically and think about the big picture rather than getting too down into the detail. You need to be able to drill down into the detail to actually run a tactical experiment but you might also need to think on the big picture level to make sure that you are actually running the right experiment or running experiments in the right area where you can drive the most impact. I like to think holistically and work with clients and I think it’s an important quality to be able to zoom out and do that strategic view.
So, number one, data-driven; number two, thinking holistically.
Number three – I think it’s perseverance or being systematic. As I mentioned, I think growth is more of a process than a specific tactic or a specific single discipline. It’s more about getting this process in your team or your organization or even just as an individual and then being systematic and actually being able to repeat that process over time to get small incremental wins.
So, number one, data-driven; number two, holistic thinking; and number three, perseverance.
What Are Some Resources You Encourage People to Explore?
Well, I have to say MobileGrowthStack.com, of course, because that’s my blog. We try to make that a really useful resource for growth marketers and growth hackers. But then, if you can afford it, Brian Balfour’s Reforge series. It’s not the cheapest. I think you have to pay to access the material but I can really vouch for the quality of the material on there. In particular, if you can get your company to pay for it, then it’s really, really a great resource. It’s the best resource out there, for sure.