We are nearing the year end and that probably means many teams are finalizing their growth goals for next year. Just the thought of the planning process is probably jacking up your stress levels. After all, setting yearly growth goals in fast changing environments feels like shooting darts blindfolded. While there a lot of goal-setting frameworks out there, no matter which one you use, I have a few recommendations to make the process better.
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Measuring the success of the growth team is a tougher question. Every team from product, to marketing, to operations indirectly influences growth. This leads to some questions and challenges: “Why have a growth team? Doesn’t everyone own growth?”
We have a big addiction problem in our industry. Hacktics, the tips, tricks, hacks, tools, and secrets that promise to solve our growth problems. As a result, marketers now get the majority of their “learning” through this hack-tic based content. As addictive as they are, prescription-based tactics and tools won’t solve your problem, and most importantly, help you become an elite marketer.
If you have a weekly one hour team meeting, it better have high ROI. The dollar cost of that meeting for a team of five is about $13K per year. A team of ten is $26K per year. (w/ conservative assumption of $100K average salary+benefits+office+etc per team member) That isn't including the opportunity cost and cost of disrupting someone. So reality is likely much higher. How do you run a meeting that gets results?
There are two attachments that are corrosive for growth teams. Learn what they are, how to avoid them, what behaviors you should be attached to, and how to encourage them.
Jeremy Crane (VP Product @ HubSpot) sent me the Bloomberg Business Jealously List 2015. It is the list of pieces that Bloomberg’s staff wish they had written. I loved the idea so much I decided to do my own version around growth. Here are the four pieces of content in 2015 that I liked so much I wish I had written them myself.
At any given time our growth team is focused in on the highest impact area we can work on given limited resources. We determine that by going through our growth process (link) using growth models to guide us. That means we might focus on virality for a period, then first seven day retention, then activation rate. At some point our team will be big enough to have full time people on each one of those areas. But even at that point there is one thing we always keep in mind...Growth Is Never Done.
Warren Buffet gives the advice "If it isn’t the most important thing, avoid it at all costs.” Peter Thiel use to famously walk around the Paypal offices and refuse to talk to you unless it was about your currently assigned number one initiative. It’s no secret that I’m a big believer that focus wins professionally and personally...
The wrong mantras have been pushed. Product is everything. You growth hack your way to success. The way to find growth is to try every channel possible. Paid acquisition is for companies with bad products. They are all simply wrong. The concepts behind growth are much simpler than most people think. As with most things, it is executing that is the tough part. Here are 10 things I’ve seen companies fail at executing that prevent them from growing.
Is growth an art or science? Some praise the creativeness of new growth hacks. Others praise the quantitative maneuvering of analytical growth geniuses. That question has been debated. But are we asking the right question?
The creative juice brings new ideas around story telling, great copywriting, unique ad creative, and never tried before growth tactics. But the quantitative science helps us measure the largest friction points, validate areas of opportunity, and understand how users behave at scale.
It seems the better question is how do we balance both? Truly brilliant growth teams are ones that figure out how to combine the nature of art and science to accelerate growth.