The Growth Marketer You Need to Know

Everette Taylor keeps it real. If you ever get to meet the marketing sensation in person, that’s one of the first things you’ll observe about him—he is undeniably authentic, business savvy, kind—and unabashedly honest. He’ll consistently give you advice that strays from the norm. But somehow, when you listen to him, you sense that what he’s saying is true.

When Everette was the Chief Marketing Officer of Sticker Mule, website traffic more than doubled and revenue increased more than 40%. It’s fair to say the guy knows a thing or two about growth marketing from personal experience. He’s also one of the co-founders of GrowthHackers, which has become one of the most popular growth marketing communities on the web.

These days, Everette is focused on building the marketing consulting company he founded, MilliSense, while also serving as a growth marketing strategist to Microsoft. He’s gone far in the tech world since the days of being homeless at 17 during his senior year of high school.

Everette recently joined us for a Product Hunt for a LIVE Chat and shared his thoughts on startup marketing, early-stage growth, personal branding, and more. Read on for some of the highlights—by the time you’re done, you’ll see why he’s becoming one of the most beloved growth marketers in the startup world.

If you had $1,000 to use for marketing (in a month or quarter) as a budget for an early stage startup, what strategies and hacks would you implement to attract users to your startup? — Alex Rodriguez

Save your money. The ROI you’ll get on $1,000 dollars in marketing spend isn’t worth it. You’re thinking inside a box with marketing budgets instead of out of the box — which can’t be the mentality of a startup marketer. All the things you need to do early traction wise — creating valuable content, building an email list, creating lifecycle marketing campaigns, building social media audiences, speaking with your customers, studying data to develop the product and marketing strategies best suited for your target audience, optimizing your website, etc.

All of these things can be done with little to no marketing spend outside of paying for some software. And a lot of marketing software you can use for one month for free.

What is the one piece of advice you find yourself telling clients and startups, time and time again, when it comes to early stage growth? — Emily Hodgins

You’re wasting your time if you don’t have product/market fit.

What is the one growth hack that has given you the highest ROI? — Justin Kwong

I think creating had the highest ROI. The reason for creating the site was to build a community around growth marketing that would also bring brand awareness to our Qualaroo product due to association, and funnel more sales. It did exactly that. Our Head of Sales for Qualaroo at one point asked people who trialed with us, “How did you hear about our product?,” and 1 out of 3 people said GrowthHackers. The fact that GH went from a hack into growing into its own brand/company is pretty kick ass, too.

How do I go about encouraging the acquisition of groups of friends, rather than just individuals? — Danny Lowney

The key is forming a value proposition that encourages people to share the app either via word of mouth or easily giving people a way to add friends within the app. If people find value, they’ll want to share it — simple as that. During the onboarding process I would encourage the adding of friends. I would also come up with clever push notifications that can serve as a retention and referral hack for people to reengage the app and add their friends. Social sharing with creative copy via the app can be a strong engagement tool as well.

What do you think most startups are doing wrong when it comes to marketing/growth? — Seth Louey

Not focusing enough on product development or really taking the time to get qualitative insights back from their target audience. Also, making sure that your attribution is correct on your analytics dashboards.

My question would be for the marketing of podcasts and audio material. What elements of habit formation could be baked into the product itself? — Harry Stebbings

The most successful podcasts are consistent with the day and times they post—that creates habits in itself. When people know they can expect to get a podcast on a particular day, it creates a rhythm. Another thing I’ve noticed is that some popular podcasts have names for their audience, which also builds habit and creates a loyal sense of community.

You can also get creative with transcriptions of episodes that you can post on your website to create more shareable content and add some SEO juice. It’s important to build in strong social sharing for particular quotes that have high viral capability, which you can post under the episode or have social sharing for certain quotes in the transcriptions.

Short sound bites that are easily shareable on social media could work really well too. Also, put an emphasis on building your email lists and growing your social channels.

A few days back, you tweeted about the cons of a personal brand and what comes with it. Could you elaborate on what you view as some of the cons surrounding establishing a personal brand? — Ross Simmonds

The cons: Some companies genuinely don’t want to employ someone with a large personal brand. I’ve actually been told by a former colleague at a company I used to work for, “No one person can be bigger than the brand.” I also talked to an exec at a unicorn company who admitted that the company culture was against hiring people with large personal brands due to stereotypes about humility and focus.

What people have to realize is that building a personal brand opens up doors, but it can close doors/opportunities for you, as well. Certain companies will not hire you or support your personal brand, and it can cause jealousy amongst colleagues/people you work with. I’m a strong believer that you can kick ass while still building your personal brand, but some people aren’t of that belief. Big personal brands tend to be more appealing if you’re working for an early stage startup or building something yourself.

I always preach that building a business > building your personal brand. But if you can do both simultaneously, why not?

What are some steps that startups can take in the beginning to make sure they grow into a diverse culture? — Rashaad

It doesn’t start with companies, it starts with people. People have to take it upon themselves to want to be more open-minded and eliminate the biases that plague the hiring process. A lot of companies talk about how they want to build a more diverse workplace and set these awesome goals, but it doesn’t matter if the mentality of the people at your company isn’t changing.

I’m frustrated. And so are so many other women, minorities, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, etc. Companies have to take it upon themselves to take diversity seriously and make a real effort to educate people. They should also partner with companies like Jopwell and Blendoor to start really eliminating biases and creating more diverse cultures.

If you were releasing a new song today, what growth hacking techniques would you use to promote the song? — Nik Sharma

You should never figure out your growth hacking strategies the day of. They should be planned in advance, and honestly, it’s more of a grind than a hack. Strong networking and relationship building with influencers who can share your music, having your personal network ready to go to promote your music the day of, contacting music blogs/podcasts ahead of time, having social media posts in place for all networks, and having a list of places (online communities) that you can distribute your music to the day that it drops. I would focus on also building your audience on social media in advance of the song release date. Music is just like a product; you want to build an audience in advance if you can.

For more! Check out @Everette’s full LIVE Chat on Product Hunt for his thoughts on Snapchat (he’s been crushing it), the LA startup scene, and the most valuable lesson of his life.