Tam Nguyen Post 1 - CXL Growth Marketing - Week 1 Reflections
Last updated: Mar 22, 2020
After leaving my last job as a data analyst, I decided to switch gears to marketing analytics. I’ve always wanted to apply analytics to marketing. So I explored some online options, looking for a structured learning approach. I chose CXL growth marketing mini-program and applied for the scholarship. I’ve been amazed at the incredible learning materials they have.
The program is comprehensive by combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills. I can learn analytical skills, research combined with copywriting and email marketing. These are skills that aren’t taught much in universities. And they take practices and real life experiences for improvement.
Some courses are 3-7 hours long while some courses are within one hour. This is perfect for learning to combine those courses at the same time. I also haven’t seen any online learning materials that has so much depth of content like this.
Basic premises of growth marketing
In this post, I’ll sum up “The foundation of growth marketing” course taught by John McBride. This is an incredible intro course to get to know the field.
The growth marketing approach is inspired by the book The Lean Startup. The main idea of the book is to maximize learning about customers. This helps companies to understand what customers want. This is better than building a product without knowing if customers like it or not. It can reduce a lot of waste for businesses, i.e. labor cost, time and energy by creating products customers want.
The ultimate goal of growth marketing is to understand each individual preference. Then they can tailor the message, offer and customer experience based on that need. This personalisation purpose also make a company stands out from competitors. Every company has the same approach to optimize their messages using A/B testing. But those who can tailor the messages to individuals will be the winner in maximizing conversions.
The three layers of depth of growth marketing are as follows:
- Does creating a landing page have an effect on conversion?
- What’s the right message? How could I create the best message?
- Understanding how customer A is different from customer B. Then tailor that message to every individual based on their differences.
The best companies do this type of practice religiously because it’s the holy grail of experimentation. This practice makes customers become loyal to the brand.
Half of marketing money will always be wasted. It’s better to constantly experiment so we can either learn something if we fail or make impact when we have successes.
Characteristics of successful growth marketers
The instructor also sums up the key elements of successful growth marketers:
- They understand on the channel level how marketing works, at least some channels experience would be helpful. If they don’t have experiences on this, having the hunger to learn is important since you cannot teach a person to be hungry.
- Analytical ability. They would be able to extract insights from data, which is the lifeblood of growth. Often times marketers would be very good at planning but they might not know how to extract data in an insightful way.
- Having understanding of strategic thinking and project management. They know how to pick the right experiments, how to prioritize, how to work with stakeholders and other teams. Having business acumen I think is also important to understand what businesses need.
- They would have a T formation of skills - having deep knowledge in a set of skills and have a broad knowledge in other areas. That’s why sometimes a general education or an MBA can help.
- They apply the methods of growth to themselves - trying to learn new things, coming up with new experiments and optimizing the process. Come up with ways to improve themselves.
- If possible, run experiments by themselves. Have their own blogs and try to build emails from scratch without being asked. It shows the hunger for growth and the drive for growth.
Traditional marketing focuses on marketing mix, which is often taught in universities. This is different from the practices of growth marketing. This new way makes impact using a data driven approach. The attitude is learning as much as possible about customers and their preferences.
The product innovation team in my previous company does not use this approach at all. They are not serious in using experiments to figure out if their customers are happy with it or not. Some products even have terrible taste. It’s healthy, but if it’s not tasty they would not like it. The company released hundreds of new products, which discontinued after a while. If they want to reduce waste, they could prototype first then find ways to test if customers like it or not. By exploiting this power of experimentation, I can see how much impact it can bring to a company. Traditional companies aren’t aware of this approach. Now I can see tech companies are the quickest to adopt this approach since they want to scale fast.
People learning marketing in university will have to differentiate themselves with practical experiences. Building a portfolio can help as well. Technical skills are important since most schools don’t teach Excel or Google Ads.
At universities, it’s not ideal to learn knowledge that cannot be easily applied in businesses. A roommate of mine learned marketing in school. And she is works as a printer helper since she has no practical experiences and no portfolio. My another roommate has an MBA struggles to find jobs since school did not teach her practical skills.
I plan to build a growth marketing portfolio like what I had for data analytics. It’s not easy and it will take time, but I’ll have to do it again and see how it goes. Now I’m equipped with more arsenals like copywriting and other essential skills. I’ll have to put it into practices.
I recommend taking notes since the learning materials are deep. It’s important to review those notes later when applying these concepts to projects.