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4 Skills Needed to Work on Growth

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Day in and day out.

It’s what we think about.

Asking ourselves, do we have the right people? Do they have the skills? How do we show them the ropes?

Well, if you’re like most teams you don’t necessarily have the exact mix of people to work on Growth. Fair enough, It’s not like these people are easy to come by. They have a rare mix of marketing and product know-how that isn’t taught in the classroom.

So the question becomes - How can I get my team to think about Growth? In a field where it’s all about experimentation and creativity it’s not that simple. Aligning engineering with marketing is easier said than done. There’s a base level of programming, marketing and data expertise that they need to have.

So if you’re looking to pick up a few of these skills scroll down and check out the crucial elements of marketing a growth team should understand.

1. Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO is the use of analytics with creative copywriting and design to improve the performance of a website/web app/etc... The general case for CRO is marketers can find combinations that will lift conversion rates on their landing pages/display ads by using a/b and multivariate testing over time or by reaching statistical significance.

Although many growth marketers are now using CRO and applying it to retention and referral activity as well. Examples would be the use of tools like Qualaroo for gathering user feedback and Referral SaaSquatch for generating/optimizing customer referral programs. Clearly, this is one of the essential skills in a growth marketers’ toolkit, as it can be used to improve every stage of the marketing funnel.

Further Reading:

Free E-book - Beginners Guide to CRO

Blog - Optimizely CRO Best Practices

Blog - Unbounce Blog - CRO

Article - CRO Rulebook

Article - 5 Essential Steps for A/B Testing

Article - 5 Principles of High Converting Websites

Article - CRO Best Practices De-Bunked

Guide - How-to-Guide for CRO

2. Analytics and Data

You definitely can’t work on growth if you don’t know how to dig into your data. I’m not talking about low-level passes through GA. I’m talking about setting up advanced measurement through tools like KISSmetrics and Mixpanel. Or going further and creating a slave database of your product/platform and writing Database/Sql queries.

Learning the advanced ways to get insight from your data is crucial to creating growth and optimization experiments. I’m not saying analytics tools can’t get you close to developing an understanding of your users and blockers within your system, but giving yourself the ability to go a bit deeper can help you chase down the necessary data you need for your next growth initiatives.

Further Reading:

Free E-Course - Lean Analytics

Free E-Course - Sql for Marketers

Free E-Course - Data Analytics for Beginners

Free E-Book - Inbound Marketing Analytics E-Book

Free E-Course - Academy

Article - Beginners’ Guide to Startup Analytics

3. Consumer Behavior

A crucial element of being a marketer is knowing how your target audience thinks and interacts with products. This is an age-old strategy that is more relevant than ever, you can’t get caught up in the traffic and product usage data.

Remembering that your users are human is the key to not only a better product experience, but a more meaningful relationship with your prospective users. This will help you with everything from creating customer profiles and writing better copy/content to user onboarding and customer success.

Further Reading:

Free E-Book - Complete Guide to Understanding Customer Psychology

Free E-Book - Conversion Psychology and Consumer Behavior

Round-up Article - 15 Psychological Triggers

Article - Psychology of Anticipation

4. Copywriting

A highly underrated skill in the realm of startups, but time and again you see companies fail to address basic copywriting issues in their product, landing pages and tag-lines. At the core copywriting is all about describing your product in a simple yet understanding way.

This is the key to effective copywriting, without product knowledge you won’t be able to understand what messaging can bring in your target customer. Matching compelling copy with great design will largely improve the effectiveness of your conversion experiments.

Further Reading:

Free E-Book - The Definitive Guide to Copywriting 

Paid Course - Kopywriting Kourse by Neville Medhora 

Paid E-Book/Book - Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joe Sugarman

Paid E-Book - The Web Copywriting Bible by Peep Laja 


Though recruiting for people who have worked at the intersection of product, data and marketing might have its' drawbacks. Often times people who are working on growth are looked at as people who are “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” These generalists give the growth game a bad rep.

The reality is, just because you need a base layer of experience that runs the table from marketing and advertising to programming and data science. Doesn’t mean you don’t have deep channel expertise in one or two of those areas, in fact many of the skills are complementary to one another and help people understand the entire direction of a company. This holistic understanding has growth team members well-positioned to run their own teams in the future.

Image courtesy of bplanet/