OUR RESEARCH PROCESS

We interviewed a dozen growth experts, responsible for driving $100 millions in ARR growth and teams of more than 100 people, and synthesized the very best insights from across their experience.

IF YOU REMEMBER NOTHING ELSE

  1. Growth teams come in two general flavors: marketing-led, and product-led. The first is mostly performance marketers and applies experimentation to top of funnel. The second is mostly engineers and tends to be both top and bottom of the funnel.
  2. For a marketing-led team, hire an analytical growth marketer first. For a product-led growth team, hire an analyst first.
  3. Both growth analysts and marketers should be analytical, experimental, and comfortable with iterating quickly and abandoning experiments that aren’t working.

Card Count Icon 3 cards
Card Count Icon 2 minutes

First clarify what you mean by “growth.”

There are two main flavors of growth teams. The first focuses on the top of funnel and is mostly made up of marketers – performance marketers, content and brand marketers, SEO people. They brand themselves Growth, as they should, because it pays better. THat’s most often on the B2C side. The other flavor is more product growth. That’s usually engineering with a talented PM that will also try multiple ways to grow the company.


Marketing-led team

Product-led team

Led by

Marketing

Product

Mostly made of

Performance marketers

Engineers

Main activities

Performance marketing, Content marketing

Product referrals,

Product retention,

Performance marketing,

Customer service and growth,

Any growth opportunity nobody wants

Main channels

Paid ads,

Social media,

Email,

Inbound/SEO

Product,

Paid ads,

Email,

New channels,

Anything else that can deliver results

If...

You should start with...

You’re building a growth team to span multiple functions – product, marketing, sales, or customer support.

A growth analyst.

You’re building a growth team focused mostly on marketing to drive top of funnel.

A growth marketer.

Then pick your first growth hire

Which kind of team are you trying to build?


Growth Analyst

Details

-Often the first role on a growth team

-Often will evolve into a specialist over time

-May focus on aggregating data to allow experimentation

Responsibilities

-Ensure data instrumentation to conduct analysis and experimentation

-Deliver analysis of pipeline to identify where to focus growth resources

-Conduct early growth experiments

Activities

-Collect and clean growth data, and set up data and experimentation tools

-Analyze growth data

-Conduct simple experiments that require minimal technology (e.g. experiment with pricing)

KPIs

-Experiments run

-ARR or user growth

-Funnel metrics

What to look for

-Hungry, wants to join a startup

-Needs reasonable quantitative background and interest

-An analytical, experimental approach to problem solving

Where to look

-Banking or consulting

-Biz ops

-Marketing automation or operations

What to look out for

-People who fall in love with their analysis and aren’t comfortable throwing away the majority of their work (since >70% of growth experiments will fail)

-People who don’t display a structured problem-solving approach in case interviews

What kind of marketer should you hire

Key question

If you answer…

Then…

Have you proven a channel?

Yes

Start out with someone with experience in proven channel.

No

-Experiment before hiring or hire a generalist

-Focus on a channel where you have significant resources to work with (e.g. social media engagement, email list)

How much data do you generate?

A lot (e.g. 10Ks of SKUs, millions of sessions to test on, frequent user interactions)

Data drives strategy. Look for someone who is more data-heavy, with a strong analytics and technical background like email operations or paid acquisition.

A moderate amount (e.g. dozens of products, longer sales cycle)

Look for someone who is more focused on user need, like email or content marketing strategist.

What to look for in a growth marketer


Performance Marketer | Growth Marketer

Details

-This role can span media: onsite, social, email

-At scale, this role will evolve to focus on a specific channel

-At scale, this role may evolve to focus on a specific stage in the user lifecycle

-This role may manage SEO, creative or ad agency

Responsibilities

-Campaign design

-Campaign implementation (or management, if working with agency)

Activities

-Developing campaign strategy: customer segmentation

-Implementing campaigns: identifying search terms

-Writing copy, or managing creative team

KPIs

-Campaign performance: CAC, users acquired, users re-activated

What to look for

-Focus on consumer need

-Deep familiarity with the ad channels and platforms your team invests in

-Analytical A/B testing approach

-Someone who understands user needs, not just behavioral or demographic segmentation

-Math-based undergrad (e.g. Math, Physics, Computer Science, Economics)

-Entrepreneurial, problem-solving attitude

Where to look

-Performance marketing teams

-Digital ad agencies

-Platform companies (e.g. Google, Facebook)

-Marketing operations

What to watch out for

-People who start in email understand power of segmentation, how to implement campaigns gets done (e.g. I could run amazing campaign with 20 segments, but that’s a lot more work, but i can combine 3 or 4 and be equally effective)

-Junior paid acquisition people tend to think in terms of targeter, not in terms of user; they’re great at A/B testing and optimizing but tend to miss the customer need

-People who aren’t comfortable throwing away experiments that don’t work and iterating quickly