“Who are the good Growth people in the city?”

More and more, I’m being asked:

“I’m looking everywhere but I can’t find. Who would you recommend to hire for growth in the city?”

It’s an interesting question to receive as the range of people who ask it expands:

Some people have heard of growth and are wondering how they can get their hands on a mystical growth person.

Others are under the assumption that “growth people” are marketing people.

And then there’s the bucket of people who are unable to distinguish between what a junior and senior growth resource does — or where and how they actually do it.

It’s all very blurry, vague and grey.

It seems nobody clearly understands what growth is, what it does for (and when), and what its expected impact should be.

And it’s creating a massive friction against startups’ ability to clearly define ROI from growth.

Worst of all, a bunch of people are standing up claiming to operate as “growth hackers” who are junior digital marketers in disguise. And when they don’t deliver the massive impact their hiring managers expected them to, growth marketing as a whole takes a reputation kick in the balls.

“I hired a growth hacker and it was bullshit.”

This has caused a pretty big problem across Montreal and other cities.

Startups are getting better at realizing that their challenge is to reach product/market fit as quickly as possible, and then to build scalability, repeatability and consistency across the next stages of growth.

They know this!

But they don’t know how to get there.

They’re having a LOT of trouble actually finding people who are capable of executing at the level required to compete. At the level which makes you say, “shit, there’s a process to this, and core disciplines attached to talented growth marketers.”

I tend to work mostly with companies down in the west coast, mostly because they are at a stage where I can deliver a lot of value across their organization. They tend to believe in baking growth from within.

But when I chat to Montreal startups, we always end up discussing marketing positions. What the fuck?

I’m starting to believe it’s time to do something about this, and what I’m thinking is taking the form of a CERTIFIED growth accelerator that can turn marketers, designers or developers into full-stack growth resources capable of designing and executing growth systems for pre-market fit startups and for growth startups alike.

Thinking about the model, it would look like an accelerator — an intense 8-week curriculum requiring you to come in with a project to grow, which trains you through each discipline and tests your knowledge against them on a weekly basis, as well as a final examination to grant you a verifiable growth marketer certification as well as a guaranteed growth position in a tech startup in the city.

The disciplines I believe should be taught are conducive to creating “T-shaped” or “full-stack” marketers (however you wish to call a growth resource with a full stack) with a deep understanding of the growth engineering funnel beyond just acquisition.

These disciplines should include statistics, basic programming, product design, UX principles, behavioural psychology and storytelling.

With core discipline understanding, we can then dive deeper and start thinking about things like conversion optimization, testing, wireframing, funnel marketing, copywriting, database management and analytics manipulation.

Certainly, a large part of achieving market/fit requires top-of-the-funnel acquisition skills that need to be verifiable. Thus, there’d also need to be a layer of focus that hones in on execution skills, including but not limited to:

  • Market-fit discovery by systematically testing distribution channels
  • Full stack Ecommerce marketing to grow sales and profit
  • Building paid traffic strategies that acquire customers at a profit
  • Building conversion funnels that reduce acquisition costs while increasing lifetime value
  • Building and executing content strategies that gain new prospects and build relationships
  • Optimization & Testing to diagnose opportunities and test solutions that help squeeze more profit out of existing traffic
  • Developing organic search strategies that will stand the test of time
  • Crafting email campaigns that get delivered opened and clicked
  • Building growth models that map out weekly execution focus
  • Using funnel data & analytics to develop clear and focused KPI dashboards

But importantly, the curriculum would open the eyes of its students to influencing performance under the acquisition layer, notably introducing growth engineering playbooks that identify, test and implement high-lift product iterations designed to:

  • boost user activation;
  • increase monthly and daily use retention;
  • generate user referrals; and
  • improve core revenue metrics.

The goal of the “Growth Bootcamp” would be to transfer working knowledge on a wide variety of growth disciplines while taking the time to identify paths to building expertise in any given core skill.

The point isn’t to graduate a bunch of jack of all trades.

The goal is to graduate core discipline specialists that can be called upon by specific startups looking to solve specific problems.

It will be up to graduates to keep up and continue expanding the depth of expertise across the disciplines taught throughout the curriculum so that they may access a broader range of opportunities.

Assuming you’re interested in building yourself as a growth marketer, how would you rate your personal level of interest in participating in such a growth bootcamp?

There’s a lot of interest from startups to send their own employees to the camp, so the spacing would be pretty limited.

Pricing would be about $2,500/head for the entire curriculum on-site at a location TBD, certification and startup placement. We’d probably also offer spots without on-site attendance, certification and startup placement at around $500/head.