Growth Hacking Geniuses - Patrick Campbell - Visual Summary

Patrick Campbell

How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

It’s funny. I think I’ve only accepted growth marketing as kind of a label in the past couple of months, actually, which is kind of funny because I think that although what we were doing at Price Intelligently and what we continue to do is kind of in the growth framework. It’s definitely not something you typically think of when you think of growth hacking.

My background is in econometrics and math. I started working for the US government in the intel community for a little bit out of college. From there, I worked at Google for a little while. At both places, I was doing econ modeling which is just kind of a fancy phrase for basically taking a bunch of data inputs and getting some sort of optimize output. That kind of started me down the path of being able to use some of the skills in kind of a marketing capacity.

When I worked at a startup after Google, that was the first time I started working on pricing. And so, that kind of led me to basically realizing just how important pricing was and is and how little we just know about it in general. That kind of led me into the growth world because our big thing is about you use pricing as actually a huge growth lever in your business. And then, also, from a meta perspective, obviously, growing the business, you needed to be growth mindset in terms of how we attracted our own customers, how we attracted brand and those types of things.

That’s kind of the ramble-y version of the story so far but, yeah, just kind of cranking in this world from using those skills and that background.

How Did You Become Passionate About Business Growth?

I’m not sure how it is in Montreal or in some of other places but, you know, when you’re in high school or secondary school and then university in the States, if you’re not going to be an engineer or something in medicine, a lot of people end up like, “Oh, I’ll go be a lawyer!” or something like that.

And so, for me, I had the false choice of wanting to be a lawyer for a while and I kind of fell more into business but I think, if we talk about falling in love with it, I think it really came down to ultimately really getting attracted to the hunt in terms of growth, growing a business, those types of things.

I used to be motivated by money but I kind of realized that my real motivation was really around taking an idea, putting it into practice, seeing if it worked or failed. If it worked, seeing how much you could make it work.

That’s kind of the long story short in terms of falling in love with business there.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

What’s funny is that growth, it’s definitely gone from this early stage thing with Sean Ellis and Hiten Shah coming up with the term, coming up with the concept. I think it’s gone through the first wave of people being very emphatic about growth hacking and not necessarily knowing what it is. Everyone and their mom has growth hacking now in their LinkedIn bios and things like that.

And so, I think it’s one of those things, for me, I’ve had a little bit of an aversion to the term “growth hacking” but I think the concept of speed and high-tempo testing that Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown talk about a lot, I think it’s huge. I think it’s one of those things where, if you’re running a marketing team in a very slow way or a very quarterly campaign-based, you’re probably missing the mark in a lot of different ways.

For me, personally, I think it’s one of those things where we’re actually probably going through another stage of the growth hacking world where now people are just getting the idea of high-tempo testing and now it’s about how do we properly understand our customers in a way that we can make those high-tempo tests worthwhile.

I think the industry is really kind of fascinating. If you’re not doing some sort of growth-focused marketing, you’re going to end up failing. That doesn’t mean you have some big growth team like Uber but it definitely means that your marketers that you hire need to be more growth-focused than just kind of what they used to call arts and crafts marketers which is kind of like a derogatory term. But, you know, it’s some of these folks who don’t get the growth side of things, essentially.

Which Daily Habits Have You Installed to Maximize Your Results with Clients?

Our clients are more our customers. I’m not growth for hire. I’m more kind of focused on our software and our customers so it’s a little bit different. I’m pretty bad with habits, actually. I’m trying to get better but I think that some things that I do to kind of set the guardrails up properly are things like making sure that, for instance, making sure that all of my meetings, I try to push most of my internal meetings to Monday and then having the rest of the week try to do only external meetings or actual work.

I think that’s a pretty important thing, especially if you’re a CEO or someone – even a VP level – that has a team. It’s really, really complicated in terms of you can actually fail if you have too many meetings because you’re not getting anything done.

I think, in addition to that, personally, I think meditation has actually helped a lot and I was definitely not ever thinking I was ever going to meditate. I didn’t think it was dumb or anything; I just was like, “Oh, that’s not for me.” When I started doing it – actually, about a year and a half ago – it actually really helped me just kind of center myself or what I like to say gives me an extra second to react to things. I’m hearing news or I’m hearing something, it gives me an extra second and helps me stay on the rails here at the office and things like that.

I’d say those are some of the habits. I mean, there’s certainly a lot of habits. For us, we’ve just moved to a place where we’re trying to run five tests a week – you know, just in terms of growth, that’s something and I think that’s something you’ve heard a lot with some of the other speakers and things like that. But really trying to keep us on that focus of ship, ship, ship, ship, ship. Don’t overthink it. Don’t try to boil the ocean, they say, in terms of ideas and quality and stuff like that. That’s kind of where we’re at in terms of moving things forward.

What Are Some Resources You Encourage People to Explore?

Resources, I think what’s funny is there’s so much noise out there in the growth space. It’s really, really hard to find the right stuff. I would say that what I would recommend doing is following certain types of people who typically publish maybe not as frequently as some of the other stuff out there but the stuff they do publish is really, really good. Some of the folks I’ve already mentioned.

I really focus on Hiten Shah and Sean Ellis. Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown actually just wrote a book – I think it’s called Hacking Growth. I can’t remember the exact title but I’m pretty sure that’s the title of it. They’re doing super well in terms of, well, Sean was kind of the original growth hacker. Those three are really good to follow.

I think another couple that are really important are someone like Brian Balfour. Brian’s really, really good at just kind of the frameworks as well as the strategy. He’s had a lot of opportunity to execute for a few different companies and I think that that’s really helped him hone this whole concept of growth.

If it comes to pricing, I think the Price Intelligently blog, we’re the only folks who really publish deeply about this type of stuff from not only philosophy but kind of an actual practical way. And so, there’s a lot of stuff there, less so on the concept of growth but more so specifically on pricing.

Those are the folks that I’d recommend following in a couple of different ways for those types of resources.

Which Tools Do You Use to Grow Your Business or Help Clients Grow Theirs?

There’s a couple that we use. One is called HubSpot. HubSpot – I think everyone, not everyone but a lot of people have heard of them. That’s what we use with our marketing automation. It’s one of those things where it just makes it easy to, like, everything to tie in together. It’s got its quirks. It’s not always the most seamless, user-friendly product that we use, but it’s certainly something that kind of the workflow and the automation aspects of it really make it worthwhile.

We also use our own product called ProfitWell. That helps us keep really in tune with what’s going on with our financial metrics. It’s a free subscription financial metrics product that plugs into your different billing systems and it really helps.

And then, it’s a lot of old-fashioned Excel – or in this case, Google Sheets and Google Docs. That really helps us collaborate using Slack on our team just to make sure that we’re running the right tests.

There are some products out there like Growth Hackers has the Growth Canvas and there are some other growth-focused products. But, for us, right now, in our current stage, it just makes sense to kind of keep it there. To me, it’s more important, the tools are interesting but it’s mostly just how you use them, of course. We tend to stick to those foundational tools that I mentioned.

Sujan Patel - Visual Summary

Sujan Patel

1. How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

I started off in SEO years ago in 2001, 2002, made an e-commerce website. This was before the luxury of Shopify, Big Commerce and those types of companies. So building it using a lot more rudimentary platforms. I put a lot of money into it, I was in high school and college. I built the website, no one came, I had to figure out a way to get people there. I stumbled on SEO. The business failed but I successfully kick-started my SEO career. As SEO has evolved over time, it’s become really just all things marketing. And so, over time, I expanded beyond SEO to just all things digital marketing. Growth has always been something I’ve been measuring myself against – what is actual growth numbers? There’s a lot of fancy numbers and things you can measure against, but at the end of the day it comes down to growth, which is really why you’re doing digital marketing in the first place. So growth is a new name for something I’ve been going off of, I call it ROI, fast-paced marketing. That’s kind of my entry into growth and digital marketing.

2. Could You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Company, WebProfits?

WebProfits is a growth marketing agency. When I say growth marketing, I mean we don’t do fluff, we don’t focus only on one channel, we can’t help with just SEO and PPC. When we help companies, we’re going to help them with all things growth, and we peel back the layers of going into the organizations – what else can they be doing on the customer support side? So we’re looking at all parts of that funnel, more than just driving more traffic or increasing conversions. And the services that we provide right now: one is content marketing, which we provide à la carte, and the other is called Fluid Marketing. Really what that means is we come into an organization or if we’re talking to a potential client, we want to understand what they’re struggling with, what are their channels that got them there, what are big opportunities, and we’re helping with all things growth. Our fluid service will adjust over the month to what we focus on. So we may start with an heavy emphasis on let’s say Facebook ads because that’s a great opportunity. But 3-6 months in, that’s gonna be on optimization mode, we’ve done a lot of the work, we may shift our focus to SEO or content. So we really focus on an omni-channel approach, leveraging any advantage a customer has to grow.

3. What Are the Top Three Qualities That a Growth Hacker Should Have?

Number one is hustle. Hustle is, I think, lacking in most people, not just marketers. What I mean by hustle is you gotta figure stuff out. I get lots of emails lately around people asking me questions and my response is Google it! Learn as much as you can by reading publicly available information and I guarantee there is publicly available information on every topic. You can be an expert coin collector. I want to help.

Ask people for help once you’ve gotten stuck or you’ve gotten to a point where “I got this, this, this information, this is what I’ve done, I’m stuck can you help me?”. That, to me, is hustle. People go immediately to the easy route. So that’s number one, the hustle, it’s working long hours and doing things that suck.

Some of my biggest success in marketing has been with working with customer support, it’s come from sending cold emails and doing the dirty work that you would probably outsource to a VA myself. Now, at some point, we’re going to scale those channels or tactics. But at the end of the day, it was the willingness to put in that hard work and doing it.

Number two is agility and understanding that it’s not necessarily tactics or certain channels that are always going to help you grow. You’ve got to think beyond the channel and think really to growth, what is going to help a company, your company, or whoever you’re working with to grow. That may not come from things you’re used to. So when I say agility, it’s the ability to move around, being uncomfortable, doing things again that are not sexy.

The last thing is testing. To be honest, nobody has a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. Why work with me over someone else? It’s probably because I’m more relevant, I have more experience. Again, that can be said for someone else. Really, there is no silver bullet. Digital marketing has become so complex, it’s just as complex as offline marketing, and if not even more. It’s saturated, people are moving fast, you’re competing with people with bigger budgets. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and learn and test new things, because you’re going to find things that work and then you gotta figure out how to scale them.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

Honestly, there are so many people, I really love what Hiten Shah and Stellie are doing on the startup chat. Hiten is from Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg, and Stellie is from Close.io, great podcasts and great community around startup people. It’s not really what they say, it’s what they do, and it’s the fact that they’re solving problems which is awesome. I’ve been bringing people to that community. Obviously, Neil Patel. Dan Martell is a great guy, he’s taught me a lot, he’s with Clarity.fm. He taught me the power of mastermind dinners and networking and really just going out there, and even simple things like how to ask for advice. Guys like Gary Vee are awesome inspirations to see what they’re doing. Again their hustle – I work probably 50% if that of what Gary Vee works, and that teaches me how to be a better hustle. These days I look at their actions and the little things they do outside of that which really inspire me. Morgan Brown is another great guy and Sean Ellis, creating a great community around this. There’s so many people so it’s hard to list off these things.

The counter to that is it doesn’t matter. These guys are all great and inspiration, you can read all the knowledge you want on growth hacking and growth, but at the end of the day, it’s not about what you read, it’s about actions, testing, and then figuring stuff out, then scaling. At the end of the day, execution is the key, and these people personally inspire me to execute.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

One, don’t believe everything you read. It’s probably true, but it’s very situational. Everyone write an article on how Hotmail did this, or how AirBnB grew by this, or how my company did this and that happened. Look, it probably did happen, use that for inspiration. Minimize your reading or silo it so that you’re reading maybe one hour a day and not throughout the day. Tip number one is focus on execution and try to read less, don’t ever thing you’re going to get the same results. Think “Oh, this is something I can test.”

Number two is split up your ideas and planning. That is right brain and left brain thinking, meaning your ideas should never be limited, but you don’t want to execute and plan when you should execute your ideas when you’re thinking so freely. You need to write everything down, so many people make this mistake is that they may be great at executing, but they don’t execute on the right things. And I’ve made this mistake many many times. In fact, I make it probably fairly often because I work on so many companies. But at the end of the day, let your right brain be creative and brainstorm ideas, write them down in Excel or on a napkin, but make sure you come back and you think about what’s the impact of that, maybe even sleep on it, and the next day plan when you can execute those based off of resources required and the impact it’s going to have. I emphasize the impact, because tactics are never going to be a winning strategy.

That’s kind of my last piece of advice. Whatever you’re doing is getting old. Digital marketing and growth moves fast. The lifespan of a tactic or strategy is getting shorter and shorter and that’s ok because the resources and tools and avenues for us as marketers to grow and leverage is getting bigger, so it kind of counters things out. So always be thinking about what the next thing is going to be, and think of how you can test. So, that way, as you have scalable channels that you’re working on for your business that are consistently growing or predictable growth, you’re also testing in new channels that may be unproven but you still have proven channels on top of unproven ones. So you have a chart, of graph of consistent growth, and then you have these crazy graphs of ups and downs of things that could work. And realistically, probably you’re not going to get everything you test to work, maybe one or two out of ten, and that’s ok, you still have the consistency. So combining those two is very powerful. Never rely when you’re done or out of scalability on your current channels to then start testing, you’ve already lost a strong foothold on growth.

I recommend that you spend 25-30% of your time in the exploration phase. This will also help you and your team be creative and think outside that box, because frankly as a marketer the worst thing you can do is not innovate because six months or a year your strategy is going to be either milked completely dry or not as scalable. If you look at Facebook ads, years ago they were the hottest thing, you could get clicks for cheap. Now you’re paying more than Adwords sometimes and how much things cost. Things get expensive, and if your economics don’t work out, if you’re not first there or early in, you might be starting at $6 CPCs and that may never work for you.