Some of my favorite articles to read are the marketing AMAs at Growth Hackers. There must be hundreds now (I was lucky to be included in one, some time ago). If you’ve yet to check them out or if you’re looking to grab some great ones, here is a list of my 10 very favorites.
Co-founder of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout
Q: What did you believe about growth a year ago, that you now disagree with?
For many years now, I’ve focused on the fundamentals of growth. These fundamentals are built on being obsessed with the customer. Being data-informed instead of data-driven. Tactically executing as if everything in a business is started as an experiment built to learn something. I don’t have anything from a year ago that I disagree with now… I just focus on the fundamentals of growth as I see them. Then I build a foundation for growth based on learnings from experiments that are oriented around the customer.
CMO of Rapid7
Q: What are things early stage startups have to do to not only survive, but thrive?
1) Hiring the right people
2) Creating a winning culture
3) Understanding your model and the metrics for success, listening to the market, learning fast, and adapting. (You need to be able to know if you are on the right track)
4) Knowing whether what you are selling is going to be worthwhile for people to invest in.
Director of Marketing at Autopilot
Q: What marketing channels are most effective for driving top-of-funnel demand?
We always leave room for new experimental channels, but here are the core channels that have delivered consistently month-over-month:
> Organic (SEO content, WOM)
> Search engine marketing (Adwords)
> Facebook & Instagram advertising (especially retargeting and lookalike audiences)
> Events & Webinars
> Email (customer journeys like lead nurturing, newsletters, etc.)
> Business review sites (G2 Crowd, Getapp)
While every campaign has its own success metrics, we typically measure channel conversion rates from session to free trial, and free trial to paying customer. Our monthly KPIs include volume of leads acquired by channel, quality of those leads (using Infer’s predictive lead scoring), and ultimately, revenue attribution.
CMO at Grommet
Q: I’d love to know how someone at your level stays on the bleeding edge and finds success!
IMO, the keys to success for marketing leaders to stay on the cutting edge are:
1. Develop a strong network of peers to share learnings and best practices with
2. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – launch and manage campaigns or shadow someone on your team who does. You need to understand what they do and how they do it in order to help them grow.
3. Continue to test new channels and partners as much as possible
4. Ask a lot of questions of your team, partners, vendors, peers, etc.
5. Follow industry experts and publications
Head of Marketing at Segment
Q: Thanks everyone for doing this! What is the best way to setup your analytics to track acquisition and activation funnels?
We usually recommend people keep it as simple as possible for as long as possible. Basically choose ~5 events that will answer 80% of your questions and worry about the trailing 20% of random events later.
Usually those ~5 events fall into 3 categories: discovery, engagement, conversion. Depending on your business model those vary a lot, but here are a few examples…
Discovery = Viewed Product
Engagement = Added Product [to cart]
Conversion = Completed Order
Discovery = Viewed Blog/Docs
Engagement = Signed Up, Used X Feature
Conversion = Started Subscription
VP of Marketing at Trello
Q: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of growing Trello?
The most challenging aspect of growing Trello is also the thing that’s the most fun: Trello can be used for just about any project- its horizontal nature means everyone from Fortune 500 companies to book clubs use it to organize their teams. As a marketer, this means we have to be able to appeal to literally all kinds of users.
the product was built to be totally horizontal from day one.
You have to have a lot of patience and capital to build a product that is truly horizontal.
Co-founder of SaaStr
Q: What other ways besides content marketing are there to generate traffic or leads for a startup?
What I mean is, content marketing is a black box.
Try everything. And most importantly, do what you believe in.
When I launched EchoSign, I knew nothing about PR or content. But. I did this on launch day, and it worked: https://techcrunch.com/2006/01/02/echosign-solves-signature-page-woes/
What I knew how to do was hustle. So I did that.
But our blog was terrible, our content was terrible, even our marketing site was B- at best.
Fast forward to today, you might think I am “good” at content marketing. But really, I’m doing again what I’m passionate about.
The content marketing we’ve done for SaaStr that is rote and inauthentic doesn’t work.
CMO/COO at Lucid
Q: Do you find the saturation of content marketing to be a positive change (now easier for those who do create value to stand out) or a negative change (quality companies now fighting consumer trust)?
I have become inherently skeptical of most content, as it seems like there is a diminishing rate of content (1) being written by true experts; and (2) delivering something new and unique.
VP of Growth and Marketing at Duolingo
Q: How do you think about scaling traffic growth?
First you need to define if it’s worth it (ROI) and if the channel is actually scalable. That means considering available inventory, required resources, audience size and fatigue.
Then, optimize the process: write it down so anyone in the team can replicate and people can operate without bumping into each other or going back and forth.
Sr Director of Product Marketing for Analytics at Adobe
Q: How do you think about scaling traffic growth?
As you scale demand gen up, you eventually max out channels. I like to think of them as farm fields – you can only get so much corn off of an acre of dirt. You can certainly optimize the yield from a channel (just like you can the corn field), but eventually, you need more channels.