What growth hacker do you want to be?
Before learning about growth hacking you should decide what type of Growth hacker you wish to be. Growth hacking is at the cross-section of many fields including Marketing, sales, automation, data analysis, and psychology. It is merely impossible to be an expert in all of those fields.
If you are new to growth hacking I would recommend you to start by focusing on some specific field. It is also recommended to focus your learning on a specific side of the funnel. It requires quite a different set of skills to help a company increase its activation than help increase web traffic.
Here is a list of Growth hacker archetypes I saw in my career:
The project manager Growth Hacker (Can also be Head of Growth):
This is a generalist type of Growth hacker, which typically does not implement the hacks on his own but can manage a team. The key skills for this archetype are:
- Prioritization: You should be a master of prioritization as you will always run on thin resources.
- Understanding of funnel: You need a clear view of your current funnel to know what you need to focus.
- General knowledge of all channels: You do not need to be an expert in any channel in particular, but you will need general knowledge about every channel to know where to invest next.
- Curiosity: You will have to stay curious about what is new to not miss out on new opportunities
- Delegation and team management: You will not manage the growth alone and need to know how to delegate.
- Marketing strategy: You need to know the concept of segmentation, targeting, and positioning by heart.
- Reporting and stack owner management: You will typically report directly to C-level execs, so you will need to work on your presentation skills.
The demand generation Growth Hacker:
Your main goal will be to bring more traffic and leads to the website. The key skills for this archetype are:
- Deep channel expertise: you will typically focus on 1 to 2 channels, and know everything you need to know to get value from those channels.
- Web analytics to know how to analyze results.
The conversion rate optimization Growth Hacker:
Your main goal is to help increase the activation and retention of the product. The key skills for the archetype are:
- Analytics and BI: you will have to dig into a lot of data to understand how people use the product.
- Understanding of funnel: Your main task will be to optimize the funnel, so you better know what it is.
- Psychology: you need to understand how your user thinks. Depending on your industry you might also leverage some psychological tricks to push conversions.
- Qualitative research: you might need to lead some interviews with users.
- Product management: product will be a key tool to help you improve conversion. You need to know how to speak with the IT team, to get a new feature released.
- Copywriting: you will have to iterate a lot on the website and emails copy.
The sales enablement specialist Growth Hacker:
Your main goal will be to help sales with lead generation. The key skills for this archetype will be:
- Understanding of targeting: the first key to successful sales is laser focus targeting. You need to know exactly what an ideal customer profile (ICP) is.
- Copywriting: the second key success factor for sales outreach is to have good messaging. You will need to experiment and iterate with your content a lot.
- Automation tools: You will certainly have to help the sales team set up automation tools like Phantombuster, woodpecker, or Apollo.
- Understanding of sales: you will spend at least 20% of your type talking to salespeople
The automation expert Growth Hacker:
Your main goal is to save time for other people. The key skills for the profile are:
- Process analysis: you will usually work for a startup without any processes in place. Your first task will be to structure the processes to check if anything can be automated.
- Programming: it is not necessary if you want to rely on no-code tools like Integromate and Phantombuster but it will be a big plus to your profile to acquire this skill. Knowing how to code a webscraper or a googlesheet macro, would make you invaluable.
- Stack holder management: developing automation is useless if nobody will use them afterward. You will need to know how to get buying from people to use some automation. Having good didactic skills can also help train people to use your automation.
- Domain expertise: understanding the process that you automate call help you a lot. So it is nice to learn about sales or marketing, to support those teams more easily.
Where to start?
The project manager profile will be a hard one to start with as it requires wide knowledge about marketing, so if you want to go for it I would recommend starting with one of the other profiles first, and moving later on in your career.
The path to demand generation:
If you wish to go to the demand generation area, I would recommend you focusing on only one channel and try to build a case study around it. Diversify your skillset only once you have some case study ready to sell your current skills.
Learning about webanalytics will be invaluable for you. You can get some google analytics certification for free.
In terms of first work experience, you should target a startup post-product-market fit. It will be hard to do demand generation if the activation rate is not there to support you. Working in a marketing agency can also help gain in-depth know-how about a specific channel.
Path to conversion rate optimization:
You need to become a data wizard. Google Analytics is a good place to start. Mixpanel also has good training on the topic.
In terms of first work experience, you should target a startup with already considerable web traffic and a user base. A/B testing will be your main tool so you need a startup, which is already operating at some reasonable scale.
Path to sales enablement:
Hubspot has realy good training on sales enablement which could be a good starting point.
As the next step, I would recommend checking out the blog of different automation tools like Phantombuster and expandi. You can experiment with those tools to build your own Linkedin network. It is always good to connect with people in the industry, that you are interested in.
In terms of first work experience, you should target a startup with a high price point. A high price point is requires to justify a sales approach. Do not hesitate to use LinkedIn to check the size of the sales department in the company you wish to target.
It is good to experience a sales job firsthand to become a good sales enablement specialist. Spending a year as SDR would be perfect for this. You can also consider joining a lead generation agency.
Path to automation expert:
I would recommend you to start with a formation of RPA by automation anywhere. It is a free training and it will give you valuable insight to structure processes and prioritize automation projects. You will also learn what RPA means, in case you wish to sound fancy. I strongly recommend completing the “RPA program manager” certification.
In terms of first work experience, you might need to become a freelancer. The automation needs of a single company is typically too low to justify a full-time employee. You might use a part-time job in another field of marketing to build some domain expertise and secure your income while you are building your freelancing business.