The Skillset of a Modern Growth Marketer

Marketing is not dead — it’s very much alive, actually. Thriving because of its younger sister, Growth Marketing.

I am not just talking about Facebook and Instagram ads here. Digital marketers have been doing that for the better part of the last decade. I’m talking about the most critical approach to achieving true growth, alongside traditional marketing efforts.

Marketers have evolved out of necessity and developed a T-shaped skillset. That T-shaped skillset also evolved.

“…the vertical stroke of the ’T’ is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process.” On the other hand, “the horizontal stroke of the ’T’ is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines.”

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

To be a well sought out or successful Growth Marketer, one must be well versed in many areas and possess the following mindset:

  • I love growth by conducting behavioral psychology experiments.
  • I love growth by storytelling.
  • I love growth by statistics & analytics.
  • I love growth by research.
  • I love growth by design.
  • I love growth by programming.
  • I love growth by copywriting.
  • I love growth by A/B Testing.
  • I love growth by wireframing.
  • I love growth by engineering.
  • I love growth by sales.
  • I love growth by funnel marketing.
  • I love growth by brand marketing.
  • I love growth by organic marketing.
  • I love growth by customer experience.
  • I love growth by email marketing.
  • I love growth by public relations.
  • I love growth by PPC.
  • I love growth by social.
  • I love growth by SEO.
  • I love growth by content.
  • I love growth by community management.
  • I love growth by business development & partnerships.
  • I love growth by conversion rate optimization and digital marketing.

What’s wrong with any of that nowadays?

They call us jack-of-all-trades!

McKenzy Germain at Google HQ in Mountain View, California

Are you still following me here? Or have your eyes literally glazed over by now?

Ok, good, you’re still here. Because these are the skills that you’ll learn through CXL’s extensive training library by running growth experiments, optimizing the channels that work best for you, and scaling your growth program.

cxl.com/institute

data and analytics | growth channels | experimentation

Let's move on to the events that led to my CXL Growth Marketing Minidegree experience.

Not too long ago, after watching Peep Laja speak at the 2016 Product Psychology conference at Stanford University, I set out to become a great Product Manager. I am creative by trade with a strong focus on people science and am looking to add myself to a team of highly motivated creatives and strategists. I want to help entrepreneurs and businesses find new ways of doing things and become more driven to excel at experimental-based growth marketing. I thrive on cool, exciting work, and if you’re still reading this, we could potentially become partners in crime one day.

At a time where job opportunities are at a rapid decline, I find it necessary to upskill. In 2018, I transitioned from a Senior Creative Services Manager role at a SAAS company to Digital Product Management for Chrome.com (marketing role). My goal was to do what I love the most at scale, solving problems by providing effective solutions.

During this time, I led a team of developers, copywriters, and UX designers to achieve their ultimate goal. Being featured during Google I/O 2019 was a dream come true. On that same note, our efforts helped Google gain additional market share by increasing Microsoft edge users' conversions. This was a huge win that granted us the trust of both Chrome Marketing and Engineering business units. Sundar, the CEO, was so pleased that he sent an email to the Head of P&E about how happy he was to see that we launched successfully for Chrome’s 10th birthday.

A bit more context, the site had gone through six teams who all willingly gave the project back before I joined the Creative Engineering department. That’s 10 years' worth of dirty code, abandoned microsites, obsolete web apps, broken links, outdated web pages, and much more. I must say that I learned a lot, as I was given a chance to collaborate with Google’s SEO team, Speed Optimization team, SEM, and Product Marketing teams.

You mean to tell me that there was a stimulating role that allows me to wear many hats and be at the epicenter of business, psychology, and sales? Sign me up forever. I had to get the job, learn the job (very quickly, might I add), and do the job with hardly any ramp-up time.

I was HOOKED!

So here’s where the real work started. After learning that the Microsoft Edge release on Chromium would be completely rolled out by Q4 2019, the Director of Chrome Marketing tasked their Lead Product Marketing Manager and me to produce a roadmap and execute a plan that would trump Microsoft’s ability to gain more market share in Q1 & Q2 2020. We hit the ground running, trying to develop as many ideas, tests, and frameworks as possible.

But then…the inevitable happened.

I was laid-off due to a change in how executives wanted to produce Web experiences for their P&E division; all work was awarded to an outside vendor. That was a devastating blow because I had finally found my calling, Product Management x Growth Marketing. Given that I only have 2 years (during Chrome.com work) of experience, I know that gaining more accreditation and seat time will allow me to compete at a higher level.

Since my departure, I’ve moved from Silicon Valley to Atlanta, GA. Being closer to family and the kiddos are great. I get to be the fun Uncle-dad for 3 amazing kids.

However, I don’t want to lose sight of the skills that I’ve recently gained. This is why I’m really passionate about acquiring my Growth Marketing Minidegree with CXL. I know it’ll help fortify the data that recruiters pull when sourcing and help me put my best foot forward when joining a new Marketing team in 2020.

Btw, if you’re interested, you can view our Google I/O 2019 feature below.

See credits at frame 614 and additional features at frame 1263.

Week one of CXL’s Growth Marketing Minidegree course has been nothing short of remarkable. Given an adequate amount of time and focus, I believe that anyone who completes this 12-week course will be able to write their own ticket to marketing rockstardom.

“FYI, week one can easily be developed into a 150–200 page book full of amazing references and actionable tasks.” -McKenzy Germain

Here’s a rundown of some key takeaways from the three Growth marketing foundations courses.

The difference between a traditional Marketer and a Growth Marketer

  1. Brand marketing traditionally is focused on the top of the funnel, so awareness and acquisition. Growth marketing focuses on the entire funnel, so your job as a growth marketer is to drive growth across the business in any way that you can.
  2. The process of growth is driven by experimentation, which is the main difference between brand marketing and growth marketing.
  3. The way that you drive growth across all areas of the funnel is to experiment with different programs constantly, campaigns, product features, et cetera, that increase conversion, create better customer experiences, generate data that you can then use to learn and improve so that you can continually optimize your funnel, grow the business regardless of kind of what your focus is.
  4. The Lean Startup methodology is probably one of the founding philosophies of the current approach in Silicon Valley and how growth marketing works now.
  5. You have to start by admitting that you don’t actually know what your customers want, and, when you think you know what they want, if you invest really heavily in building the product of a customer based on a wrong hypothesis, you end up investing lots of time, money, and resources in something that generates no results and isn’t actually what somebody wants.
  6. The reality is, most of the time, we aren’t right, or we aren’t as right as we think we are, and so rather than investing everything in this one idea without actually getting learnings about whether or not it’s the best investment, run lots of individual campaigns or experiments as quickly as possible in between now and whenever your deadline is for that goal you want to hit.

User-centric Marketing

  1. The best Digital Marketing strategy starts with the user and involves them in the creation phase.
  2. Traditional Marketing focuses on the product, but the best digital marketing strategy focuses on the customer and providing them with value.
  3. The best digital marketing strategy starts with the user because the consumer has all the control.
  4. Digital gives the consumer instant access to near unlimited choice, and that amount of choice makes them extremely demanding and selective.
  5. The best Digital marketing strategy adapts to the user.
  6. The best Digital Marketing strategy also adopts new thinking and not just new channels.

Identifying and Amplifying growth channels

  1. In business, you can’t really rely on the luck of the draw.
  2. Having your finger on your audience’s pulse will help you know what they’re looking for and equip you to deliver.
  3. The best way to do this is through utilizing growth channels, the most important of which are SEM, SEO, social and display ads, email marketing, and content marketing. A lot of these channels use popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  4. The 5 main growth channels are SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social and Display Ads, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing.
  5. You can’t focus on optimizing all 5 channels at once.
  6. Social media hugely popular but tends to carry the reputation of being all fluff or just for vanity metrics. Contrary to popular misconception, social media tracking can definitely be approached quantitatively.

Let me end this first installment of my 12-week series by saying Thank You to everyone who will follow me on this journey.

I really appreciate you.

Btw, you can read my next essay here.

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ᴄᴜʀɪᴏᴜs ɪɴᴅᴇᴘᴇɴᴅᴇɴᴛ ᴛʜɪɴᴋᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ ʜᴜɴᴛs ᴀᴜᴅᴀᴄɪᴏᴜs ɢᴏᴀʟs | ɪ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴀsᴋ ᴀ ʟᴏᴛ ᴏғ ǫᴜᴇsᴛɪᴏɴs!

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McKenzy P. Germain

McKenzy P. Germain

🎈 Sarcastically entertaining, yet educational.

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