What is a Growth Marketer? And How to Hire One

What is a Growth Marketer? And How to Hire One

Is your business ready to hire a growth marketer?

Maybe it already has. It is not an easy task to succeed with this goal. And that’s where a good understanding of how to hire a growth marketer (often referred to as a growth hacker) comes in to lay the ground for a solid growth marketing strategy. Let me explain:

There are two paths to pursue growth in a company:

  1. Seeking customer acquisition at all costs with short-term growth hacking tactics.
  2. Pursuing customer acquisition that has a foundation of longevity in the marketing strategy.

The first way is super fast, and the second is sustainable. The companies that have a structured growth and digital marketing strategy based on the second path find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

What is a Growth Marketer?

A growth marketer designs and conducts experiments to optimize and improve the results of a target area. If you have a certain metric you want to increase, growth marketing is the method they use to achieve that.

Growth marketing is a structured solution that flows through the entire customer journey looking for opportunities to optimize scalability. 

And the results happen through the competency of growth marketers. 

A growth marketer lives for systematic processes. These processes are based on these steps:

  • Identifying challenges throughout all departments, not just the marketing team; 
  • Developing hypothetical solutions to address these problems, including a/b testing;
  • Prioritizing experiments; 
  • Executing MVT’s; 
  • Evaluating results;
  • Creating a structured procedure.

Yes, just like the scientific method. Growth marketers watch for opportunities to improve and come up with creative growth strategies from SEO to email marketing to make the company grow with new customers and reduce churn. It's based on metrics and how to achieve them.

But you might be wondering, what is the difference between the good-old marketing and growth marketing?

Growth Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing

As a marketer, have you ever felt like there was a gap between the company’s departments? 

Or there was something you wanted to tweak in the product, but did not have any control over that?

That’s because traditionally, marketing efforts have been separated from the product. 

But growth marketing has some authority over product development. 

Growth marketers have the power to suggest changes in the product as necessary with the goal to improve the conversion rate and retention. 

For example, LinkedIn noticed that users valued the information displayed at their profile pages. So, they took advantage of this to convince users to give out more information.

Growth marketers go deeper into the customer funnel. 

They oversee all the details necessary to propel the organization.

Growth Marketer vs. Traditional Marketer
Image retrieved from https://bit.ly/2xU1NxX

While a marketing team is responsible only for awareness and acquisition, the growth marketing team takes care of the entire funnel: Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referral. 

Also, many growth marketers take advantage of systems based on loops. 

The fastest-growing organizations are built on a system of compounding loops.

These growth loops are closed systems where inputs generate more and more outputs. And these outputs can be reinvested to generate more outputs. 

SurveyMonkey, for example, has a powerful growth loop: 

  1. A new user subscribes 
  2. Creates a survey and send it to others
  3. Others complete the survey and see SurveyMonkey landing page
  4. Others sign up as they need the product (going back to step 1)

Do you see how this generates a never-ending cycle of growth?

Furthermore, different from most traditional marketers, growth marketers are T-shaped.

In 2013, the concept of T-shaped marketers was grounded by Brian Balfour and Buffer. Having a T-shaped skillset means mastering the basics and going deep on one or two specific areas:

Image retrieved from https://bit.ly/2HabyxC

The basic knowledge corresponds to the non-marketing skills that will suit you well, no matter what. 

The marketing foundation skills are subjects that will be helpful across all marketing channels. 

Finally, the channel expertise is related to the audience and acquisition channels.

Because growth marketers must have a holistic approach and look for improvement opportunities over all departments to create hypotheses, it is crucial to have enough knowledge of the basics. 

Should Your Hire a Growth Marketer?

Do you know what Airbnb, Facebook, Uber, and Google have in common?

Besides being all worth more than 1 billion dollars, they can attribute a huge part of their success to their growth marketing and growth hacker teams.

If you have product-market fit, then it is time to hire a growth marketer.

But don’t ignore the “if you have product-market fit” portion of the sentence. Making sure that your product satisfies a strong demand is key. Because if not, you will end up having tons of leads going straight to the drain.

However, if people love your product, the next step is to grow. 

Hiring a competent growth marketer will help you to achieve your goals. Here is why you should hire a growth marketer:

To make your customers stick around.

A typical SaaS company loses between 2% and 3% of its customers every month.

That means that these companies must grow between 27% and 43% every year if they want to keep the same revenue.

Enough said.

To create a bridge between gaps.

Without a growth team, all other departments will not be optimized to grow to its full potential. 

Your marketing team will often have to stop its creative process to wait for developers to get work done. Or can't optimize expected positive results since they don't have the ability to make changes to the product.

Growth marketers bridge the gap between engineering, product, sales, and marketing.

To sum the small parts.

Companies do not grow because of one single practice. They grow because of combined efforts in the same direction. 

Growth marketers are the vital piece that removes the boundaries of marketing to empower every aspect of the customer experience to focus on one goal: growing by attracting more engaged customers.

How to Hire a Growth Marketer

Hiring a growth marketer is not a simple process. That’s because the skills and experience set that form a qualified growth marketer are super-specific. Everything must be balanced forming a perfect equation.

Let’s dive into the key aspects to look for in a growth marketer candidate:

Look for Outstanding Analytical Skills

Observation and analysis is a crucial part of the day-to-day of a growth marketer. Any growth marketer should master the ability to interpret data to make informed decisions. 

When hiring a growth marketer, it is a good idea to evaluate the candidate’s ability to apply logical thinking in order to break complex problems into their component parts. 

Besides looking for results achieved, it is important to ask candidates about familiarity with analytical tools such as AhrefsSEMrushSimilarWeb. Using SQL for better attribution is a plus.

An exceptional growth marketer must live and breath data with a dash of creativity.

Look for a Creative Mind

The ability to interpret data comes to nothing if your potential growth marketer doesn’t find creative ways to handle it. A growth marketer must see challenges as solutions. This means always questioning traditional way-of-thinking to find ways to grow.

From developing a more efficient way to pull data from a specific channel to suggesting an adaptation on the product that will make it appealing to new audiences -- being a problem solver is an essential characteristic to be a growth marketer. 

Look for Ability to Prioritize

The ability to prioritize is essential to understand when and what hypothesis must be put in place first. A growth hypothesis can affect anything from onboarding to top of the funnel. 

It is crucial that a growth marketer has created processes for generating and prioritizing ideas. 

To evaluate this aspect, you can ask what results the candidate got from A/B testing or mutlivariate testing. Ideally, the candidate will mention specific prioritization processes, such as the ICE method (expected Impact created by the hypothesis, level of Confidence that it will solve the challenge, Easiness of implementation). It is also important that the candidate has experience with tools such as Google Analytics, Omniconvert, and Unbounce

A structured process, with prioritization steps, will lead to a never-ending formation of great growth strategy ideas. And of course, it will save you on resources.

Experience Validating Ideas

More important than having the perfect solution is putting the solution in place. That means using landing page tools like LeadPage, for example, to make tests. A growth marketer must be proactive and understand the importance of minimum viable tests.

It is okay to fail. In fact, most ideas fail. But the key is to fail fast and move over quickly to the next solution. 

However, that’s not easy to do without experience. Unexperienced growth marketers tend to marry with a hypothesis. And that mistake can hurt the entire process. 

So, look for evidence that your candidate knows how to admit failure. A powerful growth marketer demonstrates grit and motivation to stay on course, even among adversity.

Technical Expertise

Since there is a lot of exploration and discovery within the job, the broader the marketing knowledge of the candidate the better. 

However, there are specific technical skills that a growth marketer must master:

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is an important part of the marketing funnel and crucial for bettering the user experience. A high-converting system depends on how the marketer takes advantage of automation. Being familiarized with ZapierMarketo, and Drips is an indicator that the candidate can use automation to retain customers.

Paid Advertising

Deep knowledge of paid advertising is a must for any growth marketer. You cannot expect the candidate to identify growth opportunities from analysis if they don’t have paid advertising expertise. Some points to consider is the ability of a candidate to drive results from location targeting, customized and lookalike audiences, and ad sequencing. 

Copywriting

The ability to engage the audience through captivating content is also something to look for in your potential growth marketer. Copywriting is essential for many different marketing campaigns, including email, social media, and landing pages. Make sure to ask your candidate for relevant copywriting samples.

Basic Design Skills

The capacity to create simple landing pages, presentations or ads will help your growth marketer to launch projects with no delay. This is an important aspect to take into consideration since projects must be launched with urgency in the growth field.

Bonus Points for Concrete Results Achieved from Scratch

There are some specific experiences that can put growth marketers years ahead. If the growth marketer is a former founder, for example, he or she certainly knows what it takes to meet goals. Keep in mind that if the founder failed, that still counts as an awesome experience.

If the candidate worked at a fast-growing startup, that’s also a plus. That’s because the startup environment gives the marketer the holistic knowledge necessary to be a growth specialist.

On a startup, every cent invested should bring a high ROI. For this reason, the marketer must run experiments all the time -- to ensure everything will work as expected. At the same time, these experiments must account for the expected lifetime value of customers, not just short-term revenue.

Whether the potential hire was in the founder position or in the employee position, the discovery-and-building characteristic of small companies makes up an excellent school for growth marketers. 

Time to Grow

No doubt growth marketers can do wonders for your business. But before you start growing, you must find product-market fit and the right growth marketer candidate fit.

When you get these two aspects balanced together, the equation will result is sustainable growth. 

Keep in mind, hiring the ideal growth marketer takes time and effort. But it will certainly be worth the investment. 

Ready, set, grow.