What is a Growth Marketer and How Will They Actually Help Your Business Scale

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Out of all the roles in a modern business, marketing is probably one of the hardest ones to hire for. Marketers are naturally good at persuading audiences and in essence, they’re good at selling themselves.

When you add the fact that marketing is developed quite a bit in the past few years, the situation gets even stranger. There are now marketers, growth marketers, growth hackers, product marketers, and countless other roles.

Growth marketers are the most common in the past few years and hiring one (or becoming one) seems to be the right step forward. Today, we’ll talk about growth marketers – who they are, what the path is to become one, where to find one, what skills to look for, and more.


What is a Growth Marketer?

A growth marketer is a modern digital marketing expert whose job is to find new ways to grow a business’ revenue using a variety of marketing channels. The main difference between a growth marketer and other types of marketing roles is that they are not focused on a specific part of the sales funnel.

Instead, they cover the entirety of the funnel. From capturing demand at the top of the funnel to improving conversions at the very bottom, they do it all.

They’re a kind of jack of all trades in marketing and for this reason, they’re often the first marketing hire in growing startups.

In other words, they’re not a specialist in a specific field (e.g. content, SEO, PPC, social media) but they understand all of the platforms and know them well enough to contribute good results. As your marketing team expands over time, you’ll hire specialists to help your growth marketer do their job even better.

Experimentation is at the heart of growth marketing and this is the key trait that makes them so desirable. Each approach they try is based on data and they can immediately see if something is working or not. They optimize and split test their campaigns and their work is based on pure data.

Traditional Marketing Vs. Growth Marketing

There are some differences between a traditional marketing approach and the newer and arguably cooler growth marketing.

  1. Traditional marketing focuses on raising awareness and increasing customer acquisition. Growth marketing focuses on the entire sales funnel, as well as retention and the activation of existing customers.
  1. Traditional marketing thinks of new sales as quick wins and the customer is often forgotten after they hand over their credit card. Growth marketing nurtures the relationship between the business and the customer and aims to establish a connection – as getting new customers is more expensive than retaining your existing ones.
  1. Traditional marketing is less agile. Strategies are put in place for longer time periods (a quarter or sometimes a year). Meanwhile, growth marketing tactics allow you to make changes in your approach within a single day.
  1. Growth marketing is cheaper by comparison. Traditional print or TV ads cost a lot of money without a predictable outcome. In growth marketing, you can measure where every cent of your marketing budget is allocated.

At this point, you may be wondering which type of marketing is better for your business. There is no clear-cut answer that is going to work for everyone. However, traditional marketing is more suited for larger businesses that have time to watch bigger campaigns play out and money to fund channels like print or TV.

On the other hand, growth marketing is more agile and allows you to move quickly if the results aren’t there. If you run a startup and operate on a tight marketing budget, this is the better option for you.

Why is Growth Marketing All the Rave Nowadays?

The term “growth marketing” has been around for a few years and it seems like no one is doing “regular” marketing anymore. It grew in popularity because of its nature – it’s fast-paced, based on experiments rather than gut feelings, and if something does not work, you abandon it and try something else.

In a world that is changing at a rapid pace, traditional marketing tactics don’t work anymore. Growth marketers are familiar with the latest trends, channels, and relevant metrics and they use them at the right time. They use experiments and split-test their approaches to find the ones that bring results rather than hoping that the same old tricks work.

Last but not least, growth marketers are not as distant from the customer as marketers were in the days gone. They know all the touch points of the customer journey, communicate with the customers, and the sales and customer support team, and make informed decisions based on the data from all stakeholders.

To do their jobs well, growth marketers need to learn the sales objections, the motivations to purchase, the competitors, and their strengths and weaknesses. In short, they’re much more involved in the process and don’t just make assumptions.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see that this data-based, quick-paced approach makes a lot of sense for the world that we live in. Your product may be constant but your customers are constantly finding new ways to communicate, do research and make purchasing decisions.

The Top Skills of a Growth Marketer

Just like any other role, a good marketer needs to have a solid mix of hard skills and soft skills to thrive in their role. And while the hard skills evolve and change with the platforms used for growth, the soft skills more or less remain the same. Here are the top ones to consider when hiring a growth marketer – or trying to become one.

Hard Skills

  • Excellent writing skills
  • The ability to create a compelling story, be it in the form of blog posts, social media copy, or video content
  • Being highly analytical and obsessed with data
  • Knowledge of paid media (Adwords, paid social)
  • CRO skills
  • Basic design skills (in tools like Canva) and being familiar with design best practices
  • Knowledge of UI and UX best practices

When it comes to hard skills, it’s going to be pretty easy to see if your next growth marketer has what it takes to do the job. Just ask to see their portfolio of published pieces, their LinkedIn, Twitter or Tiktok account and you’ll see what kind of creative skills they bring to the table.

On the other hand, showing their expertise in CRO and highlighting the specific results they drove can be a challenge. In many instances, sharing these results is not possible because of the contracts they have with their clients and employers.

However, they can tell you what kind of results they achieved in general. Once they do, ask them about the specific methods they used to achieve them. The devil is in the details and here is where you can spot if you’re dealing with a rock star or a fraud.

Soft Skills

  • Excellent communication skills (in speaking and writing)
  • A high sense of empathy to understand the client’s goals and desires and resonate with their target audience
  • A highly creative mind that can handle various content formats
  • Analytical thinking not relying on their gut feeling to make important growth decisions

The good news is that most of these skills can be learned and developed. One thing that is absolutely fundamental to being a great growth marketer is an innate curiosity and the desire for continuous learning. If you have that part covered, everything else is a walk in the park.

You’ll be able to spot soft skills pretty easily – from the moment the candidate applies. You can see what they are like in their communication in writing. Once they get to the interview stage, you can tell a lot from the way they behave during the call. We suggest a video call because body language tells much more than words could.

If you’re not sure if a growth marketer would fit into your company culture and if they have the right soft skills, consider hiring them for a test period. Companies such as Toggl have a practice where each new potential hire works with the team for a week, while in the company Slack, communicating with other employees. If you’re hiring someone full-time, it’s worth to spend a few days getting to know them better, and of course, paying them for their work.

How to Implement Growth Marketing

You hired a growth marketer and you’re ready to get the ball rolling. Here’s how you can create an actionable plan and execute it.

  1. Determine your key goals and KPIs. Without a goal to work towards, your growth marketer will feel lost about the direction they need to go in.
  1. Determine the platforms you want to use. Seasoned growth marketers will be able to find the best one through experimentation, but a starting point will be more than appreciated.
  1. Allocate your budget. Don’t skimp because you can actually see the ROI of each of your marketing dollars. Especially with tactics like PPC, it’s easy to determine the return on each ad.
  1. Choose the tools you want to use in your growth marketing endeavors. This can be a PPC tool for competitor research such as Spyfu, SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush, email marketing tools like Mailchimp, or something similar.

The most important part is that whatever platform and tools you choose to constantly optimize your campaigns and split test them, trying to achieve the best results possible.

Growth Marketer Salary

Talking about salary for any role can be a sensitive topic. There are so many factors to consider, including:

  • Seniority
  • Work experience
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Specific requirements
  • Previous employment

With growth marketers, it gets even more complex because as a title, it has not been established in the same way as a “marketing manager” is. There are many places online where you can check out salaries for different positions, such as Payscale and Glassdoor. While they account for the differences in seniority and experience and location, they don’t account for the title.

Growth marketing manager
An example of a job ad on Indeed.com

So, we can talk about growth marketers, growth marketing managers, marketing managers, growth hackers, marketing directors… You name it. This is why determining the salary of a growth marketer can be a daunting task.

However, it’s not impossible. The closest title to this would probably be the one of a growth hacker. According to Payscale, the salary range is $40-164k annually, with the average being $74k per year.

If you’re looking to hire a growth marketer, you should know that the range can get pretty crazy, so do your research beforehand.

If you’re tight on your budget, you can hire a freelancer, contractor, fractional CMO, or in the worst-case scenario, someone from a platform like Upwork or Fiverr. You really do get what you pay for so don’t expect amazing growth with $5 backlinks and $10 blog posts.

If you’re not ready to commit to hiring a full-time employee, you can hire someone with an hourly wage as a contractor. Keep in mind that the price you pay is probably going to end up costing you more – so it’s best to aim for a full-time hire.

On top of the salary, also account for marketing tools and a budget for paid ads. Moreover, you’ll probably need to pay for some outsourced content creation, agency services and more. In short, do your math and set aside a sizeable budget without spreading yourself too thin.

How to Hire a Growth Marketer

Just like any other marketing role, this one isn’t easy to fill. As mentioned above, marketers are naturally great at making themselves look good in interviews. And if you have no experience in marketing and this is your first marketing hire, it’s even more difficult. But in this situation, making the right hire is crucial. Here are the steps you can take.

#1. Ask Around with People You Know

Word of mouth can often be the best source of great candidates, no matter the role. Ask around with your business partners, customers, and acquaintances. They can highlight this person’s achievements and tell you what makes them a great marketer.

More importantly, people who already worked with a growth marketer can tell you about all those things you can’t figure out from a resume or a job interview – the soft skills. If you’re looking for a quick culture fit test, this might di the job.

#2. Check the Job Boards Around the Web

One of the best things about marketing is that you can find experts around the globe and you won’t be forced to hire someone just because they live in your town. There are countless job boards that you can peruse to find a person who specializes in the kind of channels and the industry you want to be in.

Some examples include:

And many others. You’re hiring around the globe, so make sure you have a good set of criteria for what you want to achieve and what kind of person you want to hire. Since the threshold to entry is basically anyone with an internet connection, you can expect to have thousands of applications.

#3. Determine What You Want to Achieve

To hire a great growth marketer, you need to have at least a vague idea about what you want to achieve. New customers, more organic traffic, better conversions from paid media, improved conversions from free trials to paying customers… Determine what you want before putting together a job ad. “More revenue” and “more customers” are solid goals, but not ideal. The better you define your problem, the better applicants you’re going to attract.

Moreover, consider the fact that the competition for good growth marketers is fierce. The way you define your problem and the goals you want to achieve are going to make a huge difference in the type of candidates you attract.

#4. Do a Skills Test

Resumes and cover letters are a thing of the past. Nowadays, there are plenty of tools that let you test the skills of a candidate before inviting them for an interview. These are tools such as Vervoe or Toggl Hire, where you can select a marketer role and ask specific questions that will tell you if this person has the skills for the job or not.

These tests get more sophisticated each year, which means that along with hard skills, you can also test for soft skills such as communication and empathy.

#5. Ask for Their Previous Projects – With Their Specific Input

Many marketers will state that they “contributed to a 200% YoY growth in new MQLs” and put it on their LinkedIn profile or resume without shame. In this situation, they could have run the entire strategy or just created a few emails. Ask about the campaigns they ran and how exactly they were a part of them to get a better idea of their skill set.

Things can get tricky here as your potential hire can say that they are not allowed to share sensitive client data. And that’s okay – but they can share the specific tactics they used to achieve growth.

Growth Marketer Interview Questions

Once you’ve determined that your new potential hire has the experience and the skill set for the job, you can invite them for a job interview. Just like any other interview for any other role, it needs to be structured and include a set of questions you ask each candidate. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. You’re getting started in a marketing role at our company. What would you do in the first 90 days of your job?
  1. What are the typical tools that you use every day at work and what is your favorite use case for each one?
  1. What is your process for competitor analysis?
  1. What’s the biggest marketing result in your career? Tell me a few major steps you took to achieve it.
  1. What is your experience in paid media? Can you tell me some examples of results you drove?
  1. What’s your favorite growth hack for a company with no online presence?
  1. Tell me about one time when you broke the rules and achieved a great result.
  1. What is your experience with A/B testing?
  1. How do you recognize good content?

There are countless others that can emerge from these basics, but this is a fairly good place to get started with. If you already know what kind of results you want to achieve, you can adjust your questions based on the desired goals and tactics you want to use.

How to Know if Your Growth Marketing Hire is Doing Their Job Well

You just hired someone and you have no idea if they’re doing a good job or not. No worries.

The first thing you should look into is the questions that they are asking. New growth marketers should immediately look at your existing funnel and find out how customers behave and how many touchpoints they have before making a purchase. They should then find ways to remove bottlenecks from that funnel.

Moreover, your growth marketer should be creating documented processes for each new strategy they use. This means hypotheses and results and the reasons why a particular strategy is (not) working.

They should not be only trying to reiterate the same strategies you’re already using. A major part of growth marketing is coming up with experiments that can have huge potential wins. Some risk is present but there is even more risk in not doing anything at all.

Last and most importantly, you can look at your revenue and see what kind of immediate impact your growth marketer is making. With some strategies such as paid media, the results of their work can be immediate.

How Do You Know You Need to Hire a Growth Marketer? Signs to Look for

At this point, you may be thinking that all of this sounds complicated. It’s hard to find a great growth marketer, and when you do, you may have no idea if you’ve struck gold or you’re looking at someone who’s excellent at faking it.

There are some tell-tale signs that hiring a growth marketer should be the next thing on your to-do list.

#1. You Have No One in Your Marketing Team

As we mentioned above, your first marketing hire should be a generalist who can do it all, albeit not as good as a specialist in each field. If you’ve stayed away from hiring anyone in marketing so far, a growth marketer should be the first on your list. It’s a solid foundation that you can later expand once you see which strategies drive the most revenue for your business.

#2. You Don’t Have Enough Customers

You have product market fit but not enough people to come and buy them. You’re probably not making any mistakes except for the one where you don’t know how to grow demand. This is where a growth marketer can be of great help.

Also, you could have a certain number of customers but they’re just not your ideal customer profile. If you’re selling to freelancers or small businesses and looking to move to a more enterprise audience, a growth marketer can help you make the right move.

#3. You Want to Retain Your Existing Customers

Churn can kill any business, no matter how great you seem to be doing. If your current customers are slowly leaving, a growth marketer can help optimize your existing processes and uncover new ways to reengage your customers. A growth marketer can spot a leaky funnel and find opportunities to cross-sell and upsell your customers.

Most importantly, your growth marketer should be painfully aware that getting a new customer costs 5 to 25 times more than retaining an existing one.

#4. You’ve Hit a Wall When It Comes to Growth Tactics

You’ve tried content marketing, paid media, and even Tiktok – but nothing seems to be working. There’s a chance you need to try something completely different. But also, you could just be doing these tactics in the wrong way.

One of the first things a good growth marketer will do when joining your company is doing an audit of your existing growth tactics.

Who Doesn’t Need a Growth Marketer?

It probably seems like a growth marketer is a miracle maker that can save any company from the pitfalls of churn and wasting their marketing budget. But the reality is that growth marketing is not made for everyone.

You should not hire a growth marketer if you’re short on time or cash and expect results overnight. While some growth marketing methods (such as PPC) can drive results fairly quickly, others take time, such as content and SEO.

Moreover, growth marketing costs money, so you might want to take it easy until you have some money in the bank. Besides the salary for a growth marketer, you also need a budget for tools, PPC ads, producing written and video content, promoting that content and more.

In short, you need at least some product-market fit and some money set aside if you want to think about growth marketing as a strategy.

The amazing part is that hiring a growth marketer can actually help you save money even if they end up costing you a hefty salary. They have the experience; their results are based on data, and they will handle your marketing budget much better than someone without a marketing background. So, by spending more upfront, you’re saving a lot in the long run.

Wrapping Up

Growth marketers are the future of marketing. Thanks to a wide skill set and a constantly expanding list of tasks that they can tackle, they are an invaluable asset to any company. A jack of all trades and a master of none, they’re the best first marketing hire you can make in a growing startup.

If you’re looking for a reliable marketing expert with plenty of experience on different platforms – look no further. Book a call with us and we’ll see how we can meet and exceed your goals today.

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