December’s Top 10 Must-Reads for Every Growth Marketer

1. Dropbox’s Playbook for International Expansion, with ChenLi Wang

Estimated viewing time: 6mins

Dropbox’s growth is based on two pillars: the freemium model, which lies on referrals and WoM (word-of-mouth) and a localization & partnerships model, which helped Dropbox grow into new geo-linguistic markets. This article offers a fascinating glimpse into the latter and introduces a global framework for international growth.

The article addresses questions such as when to start putting efforts into international growth, which countries to go after first, etc.

Favorite quote:

“Once a business has reached product-market fit and is starting to think about their next horizons of growth, that’s the right time to ask whether or not they should tailor the product for an adjacent second market. That next frontier could be international, or it could be a different platform, a second product, or a different customer base.”

Related reading:

Last month I shared several articles related to reaching growth at scale, learning from the giants and building an impactful growth teams. A few of my favorite include: “How Pinterest, Dropbox, and Yelp Drive Growth @ Scale, “Mailchimp’s Un-Silicon Valley Growth Strategy” and “How To Setup A Growth Team For Maximum Impact”.

You might also be interested in the next article on the list “How Pinterest Uses Machine Learning To Keep Its Users Pinned”.

2. How Pinterest Uses Machine Learning To Keep Its Users Pinned

Estimated viewing time: 1min

This article illustrates the five ways Pinterest is harnessing AI to keep users engaged. 30% of the user engagement on Pinterest is tied to personalized real-time suggestions. Applying artificial intelligence is a key player in reaching these engagement percentages. This includes Identifying visual similarities, categorizing and curating, prioritizing local taste and more.

3. Snap Your Way to Success: The Snapchat Marketing Playbook

Estimated reading time: 46mins

A must-read to anyone considering Snapchat as a marketing channel. This article offers an extremely thorough introductory guide to the basics of Snapchat and Snapchat marketing.

This includes Snapchat engagement numbers (110M DAU), basics of how Snapchat works, it’s core features, appeal to brands, using Snapchat as a marketing channel and more.

Favorite quote:

“More than 100 million people use Snapchat every day, including a massive 41% of 18 to 34 year olds in the United States. Snapchat users are also watching in excess of 10 billion videos a day. That’s a huge potential reach of highly-engaged users - especially if you’re targeting the under-35 crowd.”
״All Snapchat users really want is a glimpse into your life, or the life of your brand.״

Related reading:

A few weeks ago I shared a case study on using Snapchat Geofilters ads as a growth channel (“How to Use Snapchat Geofilters as a Growth Strategy”). If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend reading it before running your first campaign on this channel.

4. Successful customer onboarding never stops

Estimated reading time: 6mins

When reading (or hearing) the term “onboarding” most of us instantly think about “signup”. In reality, signup is just one use case of user onboarding. If this comes as a surprise to you - read this article.

“.. when we think about onboarding we usually don’t think beyond signup. In reality, your onboarding is just getting started.”

In reality, every time you launch a new feature, you open another onboarding cycle. This is introduced in this article as ‘Continues Onboarding’. The article includes a case-study of a new feature launch and how using a Continues Onboarding approach helped them reach greater feature (and product) adoption.

Favorite quote:

“When you’re building software, remember there are hundreds of products competing for the same job. If you’re not continuously showing your customers how to get value out of your product, you’re not encouraging product dependency. You’re leaving the door open for someone else to come in and persuade them their product is more valuable than yours.”

Related reading:

In the last couple of weeks, I shared many articles related to user onboarding. A few of my favorite include: “The Growth Hacker’s Guide To Better Onboarding”, Strategies for onboarding new users”, “A Guide to Proven Customer Retention Strategies”, Intercom on Onboarding” (eBook) and “Onboarding With The IKEA Effect: How To Use UX Friction To Build Retention”, From signed-up to satisfied”, “How to Increase User Engagement Throughout the User Journey”, “The Growth Marketer’s Guide to Aha! Moments”.

5. 95% Of Your Churn Should be Ignored. Here’s Why

Estimated reading time: 9mins

When it comes to growth, dealing with churn is inevitable. This article identifies the two types of churn: voluntary and involuntary and offers a focused approached to handling with the former. The article introduces the 3 types of customer: good-fit, bad-fit and ‘stretch’. While a good fit customer is pretty self-explanatory, a bad-fit customer is one that doesn’t get any value from your product, nor expected to get any value from your product in the future.

A ‘stretch’ customer is a customer that doesn’t get any immediate value from your product, but might value from it in the future. According to the article, these ‘stretch’ customers account for about 5% of all churned users and these are the ones you should focus on bringing back. How? Well, you’ll have to read the article to find out.

Favorite quote:

“Numbers can be deceptive; and many times, they don’t necessarily speak the truth. If you’re taking numbers at face value, without digging deeper and getting to the bottom of it all, then you’ll most probably get blindsided.”

6. 5 Techniques to Help You Truly Understand Your Customers

Estimated reading time: 8mins

Knowing and Understanding your customers at every part of the funnel is key for growth. This article offers 5 qualitative and quantitative techniques to collect and analyze data that will lead to understanding your customers better. This includes: creating robust buyer personas, collecting behavioral data and using predictive models to identify cyclical patterns and trends that can inform decision making.

The techniques offered in this article focuses on websites, however, can be easily adapted to mobile apps, too.

Favorite quote:

“Many marketers make the mistake of using generic demographics like age, profession, and location to develop their buyer personas. These data points simply don’t provide enough information to create messaging that resonates with your audience on an emotional level.”

Related reading:

What I Learned From Developing Branding for Airbnb, Dropbox and Thumbtackshared on “November’s Top 10 Must-Reads for Every Growth Marketer”. Other articles on user psychology can help you better understand your users behavior and as a result better understand your users. A few of my favorite include: “How to Leverage User Psychology to Trigger Growth and Adoption, with James Currier”,Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products “(Nir Eyal) and Contagious (Jonah Berger).

7. How an $800M Company Grows through Influencers and Content

Estimated reading time: 11mins

An interesting case-study on how Ipsy, a subscription model beauty company, uses content as their main growth loop, fueled by influencer-driven content marketing.

Favorite quote:

“Most customers don’t start as customers; they start as people looking for information around a general problem. The job of content marketing is to sharpen their awareness around that problem and then to offer trustworthy information about possible solutions (but not necessarily branded ones). Finally, in the last stages of customer awareness, when leads have been nurtured and qualified by the previous stages, content introduces a product..”

8. How to Grow as Fast as Slack

Estimated reading time: 4mins

This article shares insights on the rapid growth of Slack. One of the most interesting insights relates to Slack’s successful distribution strategy, which relies on viral adoption through end-users and complemented by traditional top-down selling. This bottom-up first approach changed the entire sale funnel for the company.

Favorite quote:

“The beauty of viral user adoption is that, when done right, it’s an engine with high future predictability that replaces or complements uncertain marketing activities. By mining the existing pool of users, one can efficiently route leads to sales teams where it’s cost effective.”

9. Leanplum’s Data Science Year-in-Review

Estimated reading time: 6mins

I love Leanplum reports. If you’re a growth-marketer and haven’t heard about this team before, no worries! This article is exactly what you need to get started. Here, the Leanplum team shares some of the most basic must-know data insights for anyone focusing on mobile growth.

This includes: benchmarks for open-rate per device and optimal sending time, the affect of personalized content on user engagement and push notifications strategies for increase user retention.

Favorite quote:

“On average, 1.5 percent of people open a push notification sent with generic content. Conversely, 5.9 percent of people open a push notification that contains personalized content - anything from a name to an event parameter. That means personalizing the content in your push notifications can result in a 4x lift in open rates.”

Related reading:

In the last few weeks, I’ve shared many articles related to optimizing retention & engagement through personalization and user behavior. This includes the LeanPlum report on Personalized Push Notifications“, Can push notifications really help app retention? Find out”, “What You Must Know To Build Savvy Push Notifications”,“How to create effective push notifications” and 3 Behavioral Push Notifications You’ll Want to Steal for Yourself”.

10. 2017 Predictions for the App Economy

Estimated reading time: 8mins

A nice end-of-year read. This AppAnnie article shares insights from 2016 mobile economics and predicts the top 10 trends in the app economy expected in 2017.


This list was originally posted on the growth marketing weekly digest. Sign up above!