Growth Hacking Geniuses - Maree Jones - Visual Summary

Maree Jones

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

You know, it’s a funny story and it’s something that I would never ever – ever – recommend for a business to do.

I actually started out managing social media for a company that I was working for many, many years ago. It was a magazine publishing company. I was already working there, doing advertising, sales, and I was doing really well. I was very motivated and won several contests. But they kind of put me in-charge of social media and, really, my only qualification was that I was the youngest person in the office. And so, kind of by default, I was given that role and took it on for an additional $25.00 a week.

Since then, I’ve kind of found my niche and have grown that role but, yeah, it’s something that I would never recommend businesses to do.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

You know, I believe growth hacking and growth marketing is really a response to the way that different online avenues have really changed the marketplace. Being reactive is really being the new proactive. As these technologies emerge, people who are able to respond, who are able to practice growth hacking have a huge advantage over people who only practice kind of the traditional marketing.

Growth hacking certainly does not take the place of traditional marketing but it’s a really cool compliment to it in that you can have those longer planning cycles but you can also be reactive in real-time.

What Are the Top Three Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?

I think the first one is that they’re always looking for partnerships or integrations that make sense.

The smartest growth hackers that I’ve seen and worked with understand that one plus one equals three and that, the more you can find people and organizations to work with and to kind of grow your business, the better off you’re going to be in this environment.

You know, the second one I would say is a sense of curiosity or experimentation – being willing to try new things, new approaches, and really being reactionary while the marketplace may change or new technologies may develop.

Finally, I would say that user experience as well as the technical chops are very important. But thinking about the value that you can provide to a potential customer or partner is really important. Yes, you do have to have the technical chops to kind of bring it to life but you also have to have that creativity and that understanding of human experience to kind of bring to the table as well.

What Are Some Resources You Encourage People to Explore?

You know, a lot of times, I will come across clients who are maybe startups or entrepreneurs and they’re simply strapped for cash. They do not have a budget for marketing or PR or social media management. They can’t afford it so they kind of resort to approaches that are more along the lines of growth hacking – you know, referrals, loyalty programs, and things like that. Because of that lean cash flow, I like to point them in the direction of free resources as much as possible, if I can help them.

Sites like Kissmetrics have a wealth of information about growth hacking and even some of those non-conventional sites like Quora have a lot of information that’s community-driven and, really, heavily slanted to growth hacking.

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

I specialize mostly in PR, content, social media, and there are lots of different ways to kind of growth hack those and to put some things on automation so that you can continue to work on your business. You can kind of set it and forget it, so to speak.

I really like tools like Hootsuite or Buffer that really make managing those multiple channels and social media more effective and having to log into an account or change a password or things like that. It saves people a lot of time in which they can work on other things and not have to worry about social media growth. It kind of puts them on auto-pilot a little bit.

For email marketing or content, there’s lots of really great things like CoSchedule. I use Emma for email marketing. I’ve also used MailChimp. Those kinds of tools have a lot of options that are very affordable if not free. They’re really great resources to kind of build your email list, build your social media following so that you can embrace kind of those principles of growth hacking.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Andrew Anderson - Visual Summary

Andrew Anderson

How Did You Become Passionate About Business Growth?

Unlike a lot of other people that come from a traditional marketing background, […] to teach history and history is nothing but a bunch of lessons of we thought we were going to do this and we ended up doing that. We get a lot of sanitized versions of it but pretty much nothing in history has ever gone exactly according to plan and that fact has always been a passion for me and the stories of that.

Growth is about finding those opportunities in the business world and in the companies I work for – all these things that we think we should be doing this and we end up doing that and finding those things and learning those things and teaching about all those opportunities is really what I love doing.

What Results Have You Gotten?

I’ve been doing this for fourteen, fifteen years now. I’ve worked with 300 different companies. Again, all of my favorite stories are those that come from we thought we’d do this then do that.

A perfect example, I was working with one of the largest SEM programs in the world for a financial services company and they had seven key products and they wanted to build a landing page that just served the products and information based on what the person was searching for – which is something that was suggested and didn’t come to practice. Instead, we talked him into testing out the content to everyone to see if it was matching right because, if the product meets the match, they’ll be the best performer and, every other outcome, we would find a better outcome.

What we ended up finding was, if we had done exactly what they originally wanted to do, we would have lost about 18 percent of leads which is millions and millions of dollars for them. But, instead, by doing that, we discovered that the only correlation between products was a couple that didn’t match but, by looking at browser or time of day and serving content based on that, we were able to get about a 24 percent increase.

Again, it’s another one of those cases where we thought we were going to go left and we ended up going right. Those types of stories happen in my current role in all the different companies I’ve worked for.

What Do You Do Differently than Other Practitioners that You Think Is Hugely Valuable?

So much of the space is about how do we measure and do what we think is going to work best. In the optimization space, a lot of how do we validate this hypothesis or validate these ideas that we have and everything that I do is about how do we look at all the possible options and prove ourselves wrong, not right. You’re able to get into a lot of things that other people aren’t even aware of.

In my case, I’m a math nerd so things like fragility, math of efficiencies and system thinking which allows us to both validate if those ideas are right but, in the day, we actually make more money when we’re wrong. By doing that, we’re able to have far more successes, far higher rate of impact to businesses and be more efficient with it.

That’s really the core of what I teach and how I work with people – again, teaching them the discipline to go past their own egos and their own previous thoughts and keep building on it.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking or growth marketing, in a lot of ways, is one of those open-ended terms that you use for a lot of things. In a lot of cases, it’s just data-validated marketing. “We’re going to do what we did before, we’re just going to throw a different name of it and kind of measure things.”

To me, it’s really this opportunity to rethink classic marketing or classic online marketing and to go past just looking at channels or looking at outcomes to, again, explore and exploit information and to keep building things.

There’s a lot of great voices out there but there’s also a lot of voices that use different words to teach people to do what they’ve already been doing or to feel better about what they’re already doing. And so, growth marketing kind of gets a bad name in my mind from that. But there’s also a lot of key people out there that really help people learn and go a different way.

You know, to get a different outcome, you have to be doing a different action. And so, whether you want to call that growth marketing or exploration or whatever, it’s a great opportunity learn and grow and go different ways whether it’s how you do spend or how you talk to customers or even what channels or markets you explore into. It’s a great wide unknown and it really allows you to keep going in different directions as opposed to being under the constraints of classic marketing.

What Role Does Data Play in the Day to Day Grind of Growth Hacking?

Data is like oxygen, right? We don’t exist without data, but just having data isn’t enough.

So much of marketing and data usage is for validation or what I usually refer to as data-justified marketing, not data-driven marketing. You know, there was that classic saying that you use data like a drunk man uses a light post for support rather than illumination.

To me, data is all about how do you just have the discipline and be able to disassociate the outcomes or the measure of the outcomes from the concept you want to do and the execution that concept. By doing that and only using data to really drive decisions as opposed to find something that proves what I’m trying to do, it really opens up conversations and gets far more results.

One of the things I tell people is you can ask for data on anything but, unless you can prove how it’s going to add marginal value, it’s not something that I’m going to provide to you because you’re just doing it to make yourself feel good.

Data is both the most valued and least valued part of just about any organization.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Pierre Lechelle - Visual Summary

Pierre Lechelle

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

I formed the business a couple of years and it formed brilliantly – mainly because of product. I’m a good product guy when things are getting started. Like, when you have traction and stuff like this. But I’m a bad product guy when it comes to getting started from the ground up.

Basically, starting the company was awful for me. Beyond the product, we sell for over two years and, at the end of these two years, we started doing marketing and all that sort of stuff. But it took me so long to get the product out there and gather feedback from people. I was just too late.

You know, running these marketing campaigns, I learned that I was a good marketer but not a very good product guy – at least not at the beginning of the project. And so, that’s how I got started and, you know, getting to know all these strategies, tactics, and working in more and more businesses basically led me to where I’m at today.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

You know, I think it’s quite a weird word. You know, you’ve got tons of people doing growth hacking and growth marketing. Basically, what we do doesn’t have a real title. I think it’s coming closer and closer to growth marketing itself but growth hacking to me is like everyone is talking about scraping tactics, about finding leads or LinkedIn, pouring them all into big campaigns and seeing the results and doing all that sort of stuff.

I think, you know, some people come to see me and they expect me to be like, “Hey! We’re going to scrape this and Craigslist and do all the good stuff.” I’m like, “Sorry but I don’t do that.” I think what’s the main reasoning behind this is I think growth hacking is mainly about finding that one small tactic that’s going to give you traction but it’s not going to be sustainable in the long term.

So, it might help you gain your first few hundred users – maybe the first customers – but it’s not going to help you grow sustainably over the next

five to ten years and this is what I like to focus on because this is what is going to have the greatest ROI for you and your business. If we’re just basically finding tactics, it’s not going to be very helpful over the long-term. I think that’s a huge distinction between growth hacking and growth marketing.

People – I believe – should focus on the latter because you’re not going to build a business or scraping and doing illegal stuff and weird tactics. Yes, that’s where I stand.

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

You know, I think we live in a world where we can have very augmented businesses. So, I don’t think everything should be fully automated or that everything can be fully automated. But, you know, if you are a consultant or you are a SaaS software, no one is going to go from no clue who you are to “I’m going to purchase a $1,000-a-month product.” There’s no way someone is going to go through that thought sequence in just a second.

I think it’s important for us marketers and for business but also for customers and prospects to basically go through these funnels that they can basically get nurtured into. Like, I don’t know if consultants, a lot of SaaS businesses are going to start with blog articles and they’re going to push you to some sort of an e-book then you may have multiple other e-books, email courses, and all that sort of stuff.

That’s going to educate you about the product, about what it can do for you, and the advantages it can have for your business. And then, later on in the journey, when you’re finally ready to purchase the product, it becomes a very simple decision-making process because it just makes sense. “I’ve been with that company for so long, why not give it a try?”

I think HubSpot is a very good company doing this. I’m a user of Modern Mark and they do listings of B2B SaaS companies and all that sort of good companies and they basically have a newsletter where they share content, share very interesting content.

Before I went about and became a customer, I was reading that newsletter. Every week, I would discover new features, I would discover new content that would allow me to put outbound sales to work and, you know, all that content, when I was thinking about doing outbound sales

myself, I was like, “Well, Modern Mark is all I need to speak to.” I think that is, in the end, what conversion funnels and high-level funnels are. It’s not necessarily about the different steps between a payment processing but it’s mainly about what’s the customer journey, customer life cycle that maximizes the number of customers that are going to end up at the end of the process, if that makes sense.

How Do You Get Customers a Quick Win?

I think it’s mainly a question about where should the business be focused. You know, when you get into a new business, you always have these huge low-hanging fruits – you know, you see weird things happening in the AdWords account.

I think the last business that I audited, they basically had 25,000 emails that never received any email. They were basically getting new email subscribers every day but they didn’t send any email to these guys. And so, it became obvious to me that we are to email these people and reactivate them and make sure they are great content and great experience. But, in the end, it’s about looking at the entire funnel of your business, the entire customer life cycle, and looking at where you have missed opportunities. It’s often going to be in emails.

One of the huge ones that every business can have is basically look at all the lost deals, all the leads that never got engaged, all these lost leads that you lost track with, and just emailing these people can tremendously help your business. But, yes, looking at the entire funnel and seeing where you can have impact.

How Do You Start a Growth Team?

I think it’s a very complex process. You know, we’ve talked earlier about growth hacking, growth marketing, and all that stuff. I think what people see is, you know, they want to experiment. Everyone wants to experiment and everyone is going to try to launch new things and do different tactics.

I think our entire discussion is mainly about creating a growth team. It’s about finding where you can have the most impact, generating quick wins so that you can show to the organization and board of directors and VPs and everyone in the organization that you can have impact. It’s about showing that you – you alone or a small pool of people – can have impact on the business.

As soon as you show to everyone that you can have impact by launching experiments, you can then start with a small pool of people, generally promoting a few people from the organization, probably the same ones that already participated in these experiments, and then you can expand from this.

Let’s say you are the growth manager, a designer, and an engineer. You start experimenting by finding these high-impact areas, launching experiments. You’re getting these quick wins and then you can expand on that group of people.

If, for instance, you see that design is your main goal, you can basically hire one more designer and start moving more quickly through the experimentation cycle. That’s basically then all about brainstorming ideas for experiments, launching more of them, and making sure that you’re having positive results on your bottom line.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Jordan Benjamin - Visual Summary

Jordan Benjamin

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

Well, you know, I initially wanted to be a lawyer and found out that that didn’t really align with what I wanted to do. And so, in school, I changed my major to business and then just kind of got aligned with a few folks that were doing different startups in kind of the early stages.

And so, my junior and senior year in college, I went to work for a friend’s company. I think it was maybe the fifth employee. I was an intern doing sales for them. We really had to kind of just start thinking about how do you bring digital marketing? How do you find your list of prospects?

From there, that kind of got me started on that path of really wanting to work with startup companies – being able to kind of see how does everything work internally. And so, it really kind of just got me started on that path and connected into the startup kind of mindset and group of folks.

There’s a really good community of startups in Boulder, Colorado, where I’m originally from. So, I was out there for about five, six years, working with startups. And then, I actually moved up to Boston to join on HubSpot to kind of watch how a startup moves from startup into public company. I got here and got to watch the IPO and got to watch us kind of move and then got me thinking about how do I start my own projects or business trying to drive growth as well.

What Problems Have You Solved for Customers?

A lot of the time, it’s about how to get new customers. How do you drive growth? How do you drive growth efficiently? How do you stay motivated? How do you prospect? How do you really bring more data to the table?

One of the things that I love about digital marketing is we can really look at analytics and very easily measure – not what just drives a new hit or visitor to my website but what actually turns somebody into a customer? How do they move through that process and how do we leverage data?

As a startup or as a young company or as anybody, really, how do we really use that data to say, “Well, what’s the most efficient? Where should we spend our time? What drives the best ROI?” And so, that’s where most of the companies I’ve been working for it’s how do we drive a more effective cost per lead or how do we actually bring data to understand what drives people through our sales funnel more effectively?

Now, I’m starting to work with companies to think about how do we lead more intentionally, how do we perform at our best as humans? Really kind of start bringing all those pieces together to really bring a kind of whole person/company/organization into the ecosystem.

What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Marketing?

I think, when you’re trying to approach growth, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer or prospect. The word that we’ve been using a lot lately is empathy. How do you empathize with that prospect?

You go beyond just thinking about what do they want. You think about what do they really care about? What do they struggle with? What can you actually bring to the table that adds value?

When you think about “what does this person want to achieve?” then you can build resources, you can build content, you can build answers to their questions that they might be asking online or other places.

Really, what you do is you build trust, you build value, you build credibility before you ever ask for their dollars. And so, I think that kind of encompasses probably all three. How do you put yourself in the shoes of your prospect? How do you really understand them so you can lead with building trust so you can build credibility so you can really then measure everything that works? And see what works most effectively and then spend your time in those areas?

What Are the Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Growth Marketing?

The one that I see continuously, I was working with a small business owner last week on this, he was starting to go and try and prospect and try

and get in front of more potential customers. The email that he started sending says, “I saw this. I want to know about this. I want to hear other things.”

And so, it’s really critical to think about how do you focus on that prospect? How do you talk about what they want and what’s really important to them? Because that’s what grabs attention.

Today, so many people are blasting different business owners, marketing managers, sales leaders, or whoever it is with “here’s what I want, here’s what’s important to me,” and you’ve really got to flip that on your head and kind of go against what you would normally do to think about “What do they want? What’s important to them?” to lead off with.

I think another mistake is there are so many tools, so many people are bombarding you with coming to use them, but really see what you can do to measure everything. If you can use this data and understand digital presence, understand how your website is working well or not working well, from there you can really leverage those tools to measure everything.

I see a lot of businesses that say, “Yeah, we just have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of that,” or “All of the intellectual property is in my brain.” Most small businesses fail because they don’t have systems or processes that are repeatable. So, then when they actually have a little bit of success and they go hire somebody, it becomes nearly impossible to train someone effectively so you can continually grow.

So, really thinking about how do you measure everything, how do you build systems and processes, and how do you think about what does your prospect care about most as opposed to what you care about or what you want to get done.

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

A lot of times, Google Docs, I love the Google apps. The Google suite is just so easy. It’s very inexpensive – you know, $5.00 or $10.00 a month to get email, to get Google Docs so you can actually share documents, hold people accountable, have meetings so you’re actually face-to-face. I think it’s great.

One of my favorite free tools as well is using Join.me to have webinars with folks or calls using something. HubSpot has a free CRM that’s just absolutely wonderful to use and totally free which is great. I think early stages it’s especially wonderful to have stuff that doesn’t cost very much money but then can scale with you. There’s also some free marketing products that HubSpot has or Google Analytics has some great tools to actually help you understand that interaction with your website.

If I’m trying to sell or prospect, using tools like BuiltWith or Datanyze to help understand, “Okay, do these people use tools that would be a good fit or my services are for me to sell into?” And then, you know, a tool called Zapier that really helps connect different things together. Depending upon the systems you have, it can really help you start getting a more holistic view of everything you’re doing.

I think those are some of the tools.

And then, I use Stitcher to listen to different podcasts, different interviews. Obviously, my Kindle to read as much as I can and learn from a lot of other people – to keep growing.

I’d say those are a handful.