Growth

What are the characteristics of companies successful in growth marketing? – Become a growth marketer

By aazar-ali-shad ·  October 30, 2020

Growth marketing, growth marketers, experimentation – these are the keywords we keep coming across on marketing platforms. 

But what do they actually mean?

To better explain what a growth marketer does, how you can become one, and how a company can adopt a growth marketing mindset, we have asked an expert in growth — Aazar Ali Shad, Head of Userpilot.com — to share his experience and approach in the last 6 years working within the Growth marketing environment.

This is what we wanted to know from him:

1. What do you think about experimentation and how should you start with it?

2. What kind of companies should adapt growth experimentation? What should they do to enable this function within their strategy? And what kind of companies are not a fit for it?

3. Can you tell us about some of your wins and failures with experiments?

4. What’s the most important thing about experimentation? 

5. Tell us about the ideation phase – how do you come up with ideas for new experiments?

5. What’s your framework for prioritizing which ideas to work on?

6. What do you do after an experiment is successful?

Let’s go!

1. What do you think about experimentation and how should you start with it?

Aazar:

I think experimentation should be a part of the life of every true marketer, as well as a part of everyone’s life when they are working. The most important thing is that growth experimentation is a mindset to apply in everything you do, regardless of which stage you are at. 

However, at particular stages, you are able to experiment more.

For example, at the early stage, you can have a blog, but you can’t do A/B testing on your website because you don’t yet know what works. That is why you have to know how to adapt to the situation around you and experiment when it is possible. 

Over time I realized companies who experiment a lot, are growing much faster and learning much faster than the ones who don’t. I believe that people in growth marketing are, in general, more experimentation oriented than people who are not. They are also better at adapting to changing environments. Growth marketers also have to adopt, but probably not as much because they are constantly in this mindset.

2. What kind of companies should adapt growth experimentation? What should they do to enable this function within their strategy? And what kind of companies are not a fit for it?

Aazar:

Companies that are not afraid to experiment and the ones that are flexible and open-minded enough to embrace this mindset in their everything. 

You can embrace experimentation in the early stages. Why should you do that? You should do that because it makes you humble, it makes you challenge your principles and it makes you challenge your understanding of a specific topic. 

The experimentation mindset makes you rework your basic principles and think about all the things that you have normally accepted because the world has told you that that’s what you should do. 

When I think about experimentation I have in mind that I work with people.

Sometimes you need to give people chances. 

One example of that is when I employed a teacher. I gave her a chance to become a customer success manager. I experimented working with her, mentored her and it was successful. 

Now, when I hire people, I give them a project to experiment with, and then I decide if they are a great fit. So it has to start from hiring.

Companies should also experiment with a belief for certain things. If someone previously experimented with products that are similar to your consumer market and they said, if you reduce activity, you will see conversion. Mostly you will recreate what they suggested and work the same way. But now, I will not just repeat the same. I will challenge that result and experiment to see if that is really so. 

3. Can you tell us about some of your wins and failures with experiments?

Aazar:

Recently I started to experiment with different pop-up forms. I found out that pop-up forms are still converting more than other form formats. I used standard forms on my website, and I have decided to try if pop-up forms are still a good tool to generate leads. Therefore, I have decided to start my experiment with 3 different tools. 

I started to experiment with: Drift bot, Checklists, and Pop-ups. 

Drift bot

I came across a suggestion that the Drift bot works well. So I run an experiment on Drift bots trying to convert more people to get signed up for demos.

Drift bot

I found out that this part doesn’t work compared to forms and pop-ups. So that was eventually something very useful to know.

Drift bot results

The main takeaway is that you should experiment with different things, not just follow someone’s suggestions. Rather follow the data you generated yourself while experimenting.

Checklist

We experimented with a standard checklist and told viewers to go through certain steps. 

Checklist with 2 dummies

We saw a 6% completion rate when we changed that specifically into a psychological cue that’s called the chronic effect and that is showing a couple of tasks already done by the user. This way, the user is more motivated to finish it. 

I completed one task that got a 27% completion score right away. And then one or two weeks later, I added one more task, with two dummy tasks where it automatically check marks the tasks that have been completed.

results from checklist with dummies

I was preaching the economic effect of this strategy, but I didn’t do it myself. Then I did it and I saw that this works. This proved my belief was correct and I went to tell more people about it.

Pop-up form with the testimonial

Once I had established that pop-up forms work I started to experiment with how to set it up to convert more people. I have been reading different psychology books and there I read about studies connected with human psychology when buying online. One of them was that people follow social approval. When they are looking for products, they are also looking for social proof, a testimonial. So I decided to test that and come up with 3 different pop-ups.

One of the offers said: “Join Product Adoption School and fix your user journey funnel today.”, but it didn’t contain any social proof.

testimonial without social proof

So I recently decided to add social proof. Testimonial from a product marketing manager describing her content with our Product Adoption School. 

testimonial with social proof

What I discovered from this A/B test was that more people converted and that this experiment worked. 

What my take was from different experiments is that unless you dare to start experimenting, you are not going to see drastic results. I have challenged other opinions, dared to experiment and used generated data to improve conversions. And this is what I would suggest to other people as well. Experiment more, and learn from it. 

4. What’s the most important thing about experimentation?

Aazar:

My golden rule is that you need to have a proactive belief about certain things and test them. You should not accept everything as it is because somebody has written a blog about it and somebody has researched it.

5. What’s your framework for prioritizing which ideas to work on?

Aazar:

I have a list of experiments, the backlog. And the ideas can be found on different blogs, websites, books; everywhere if you know how to capture the opportunity. When I read something interesting I write it in a huge sheet of frameworks and then try to apply it.

Ideation process

However, I pick just one or two things to experiment with at the moment. Not too many because then you can’t keep the track of all of your experiments. You have to experiment, but also make it scalable. You should extract the data out of it and prove if it worked. The biggest pitfall of experimentation is that you do too many things at once, and you don’t know what actually worked.

6. What do you do after an experiment is successful?

Aazar:

After proving that the experiment is successful, I embed it into my company work. However, after six months I evaluate if it’s still working or not. It’s usually after the experiment that I write a blog about it and share my experiences.

Conclusion

Every company wants to grow its revenue as fast and as effective as possible. And that is possible if your company has a growth mindset

As we just learnt, having a growth mindset means to experiment in every stage of your business and in everything you do. But it is not only about experimenting, it is also about what you have learned from this data and how you put these learnings again into practice. 

About the author

Aazar Ali Shad Aazar Ali Shad is the Head of Growth at Userpilot and has more than 6 years of SaaS experience. He is currently helping 600+ SaaS companies improve user onboarding and increase product adoption. His latest User Onboarding Best Practices article was awarded a distinction in the UX category by ProductManagementToday. Aazar is passionate about SaaS Sales, Marketing, Product Management, UX and Growth.
Aazar Ali Shad