The Framework For A Marketing Team That Delivers

The Growth Report #36

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Today's topics include

📈 Marketing Strategy:
The Framework For A Marketing Team That Delivers

⚒️ Tools of the Trade:
Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

⛑️ Reflections from the Trenches:
Work On What Matters

📈 Marketing Strategy

The Framework For A Marketing Team That Delivers

In a recent article on FirstRound, Jaleh Rezaei, CEO and Co-Founder of Mutiny and ex-Head of Marketing at Gusto, explains how she created a "winning culture" in a team of over 20 marketers.

For years she obsessed over channels and tactics, before she discovered that speed is the secret ingredient of a successful marketing team that delivers results.

I believe that speed is the single most critical — and most overlooked — characteristic of a winning marketing team.

At GrowthBay we mostly talk about steady, sustainable growth that compounds over time. But I think Jaleh has put together an incredibly effective way of leading a marketing team that does not contradict with our philosophy.

It's more about prioritization and agility than raw speed though:

“To find the one program that might be a real game-changer, you probably have to sift through 10 other ideas. If it was as easy as pulling out your credit card to use AdWords to grow a company, that’s what everyone would do — and soon drive the ROI and scale in that channel down to nothing."

In her article, she outlines six strategies that you can implement to get your marketing team unstuck and moving faster.

Six Strategies to Speed Up Your Own Marketing Team

1. Play the Devils Advocate to break down large problems

For a big upcoming project, ask the question: “Let’s assume that it’s one year from now and we’ve failed at our goal. What went wrong?” You want to get a list of 5-10 major assumptions why this project could fail.

The next step is to flip the negative statements into positive ones and reframe them to include the key levers that will make the program work. Instead of: ‘There weren’t enough partners in the market,’ you would say, “There are at least 50,000 partners in the market if we think we can get a 10% penetration rate to hit the goal of 5,000 partners."

2. Lean into motion goals to get into the "just ship it" mindset

Instead of spending all your time building the perfect plan, the best thing you can do now is to try to ship something within one to two weeks. This is probably the biggest shift in the way marketing teams tend to operate.

An example of a good motion goal could be to “sell a program to one partner this week”. But it actually doesn’t matter if you hit that goal of selling it to one partner in a week; what matters is that it forces you out of the basement and helps you get real data.

3. Obsess over weekly targets

Here Jaleh says: "The biggest light-bulb moment for me was switching to weekly goals in every single program, no matter how new it was. Quarterly goals are important, but they also leave a lot of whitespace, and you have no way of knowing if you are on track. What can you do every single week to move the needle?"

If you only think about goals on a quarterly basis, your learning- and iteration-cycle is dramatically slower. A marketer with weekly goals has 12x more at-bats than someone who is only lifting their head up and evaluating quarterly.

4. Establish a bi-weekly learning meeting

Every two weeks, you hold a meeting where you try to codify learnings across the team. Try to articulate what you and your team has learned that they didn't know two weeks ago. When you force yourself and your team to think about what you have learned on a regular basis, then you automatically start optimizing your weeks towards experimenting and learning.

5. Pick the right tools - not just the shiniest tools

At the beginning of a new project, keep it low-tech to not fall for the sunk cost fallacy later on. But then when you made your first learnings, decide on your programs' top five workflows you need to speed up before you can scale and implement those with the right tools.

6. Make a decision on whether to go forward

Jaleh puts it bluntly: “If after one quarter of iterating, you keep missing goals and just can’t get it right, honestly consider if you should abandon the program. Can you problem-solve your way out of it, or is it a waste of time? It takes guts to pull the plug”.

“When I’ve needed to pull the plug on a program, it usually comes down to having the wrong assumptions about the customer’s desires and capabilities. We want them to be one way, and it would be really convenient for us if they were good at X, but they’re not.”

If you run a marketing team, I encourage you to read this article in full. It really lays out a lot of the problems and inertia that is plaguing most marketing teams. While speed is not always the answer, Jalehs approach to quick iteration and evidence-based approach are often what's dearly missing in the marketing world.

Read the full article for a ton more detail on the framework.

🛠️ Tools of the Trade:

Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

Prompt of the week (by James Clear):

What are the important problems in your field?
And if you're not working on them, why not?

Marketing Education

Brands and Products that caught my eye

  • Rosaluna - A Mezcal brand with beautiful photography, visuals and a well-told story.

  • Watercooler - This tool enables slack-integrated audio chat rooms. So like remote-watercoolers. Cool idea, wonder if they can make this concept work so that it feels anything like the real thing.

  • RunwayML - This seems to be a piece of creative software that enables creators machine learning- and AI-based tools that are otherwise only available to big companies. Mostly for video and photo editing.

  • Projector - I've been using this for a while now. It's kind of a content-creation tool, especially for social media. Think Photoshop, but with built-in GIFS, emojis, templates etc.

Interesting reads

⛑️ Reflections From the Trenches

Work on What Matters

We all have a finite amount of time to live.

And we are all trying to balance our career with our the other life-affirming activities like supporting our families, exercising, hobbies, you name it.

The paradox is: The deeper we get into our careers, the less time we have available for work, while at the same time our responsibilities and the expectations around our impact keep growing.

And while sleepless nights and deprivation of non-work activities may work for a while, we realize sooner or later that the work just keeps expanding relative (or even exponential) to the effort we pour in. Increasingly senior roles require that we accomplish more and more, and do it in less and less time.

The only way to drive more impact in less time is to work solely on what matters.

What can I work on that matters?

  • What only you can do: If we start with taking a hard look at which of all the tasks in our (work)-life lie at the intersection of stuff we are exceptionally capable at and stuff that we genuinely care about, we are already half-way there. I’m not talking about work that we can do faster or better than others, but work that simply won't happen if we don't do it, because our input is crucial. This category of tasks will get narrower and deeper the further we go into our careers.

  • Editing the small things: A lot of projects, processes, and routines are just one small tweak or change away from succeeding in a major way. Look all around you, what meeting-process, team-constellation, KPI or stuck project needs just a little nudge from you to lead to a disproportionally large positive gain or breakthrough?

  • Finishing Things: We only get value from finishing projects, and getting a project over the finish line is the magical moment it goes from risk to leverage. What is unfinished on your plate that if finished becomes leverage instead of a drain on your mind? Double-win.

  • Fostering Growth: We can grow the team or people around us. Who could majorly profit from a little coaching or mentoring from us? If we can un-stuck people or help them remove obstacles out of their way, not only do we make our relationships stronger, but we also help ourselves and the company be more effective.

What are some common mistakes we can avoid?

  • No "Snacking": Given a choice between work that’s easy/low-impact (aka “snacking”) or hard/high-impact, choose the latter.

  • Don't drain your energy: As James Clear says, "be "selectively ignorant". Ignore topics that drain your attention. Unfollow or avoid people that drain your energy. Abandon projects that drain your time. Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgable you can be.

  • Lack of prioritization - How Louis Grenier said it best in a positioning course I am currently taking - "By running back and forth between the things that might be important, we forget to spend time on what really is!". Meaning, pick 2-3 things that you want to work on, focus on those and consciously postpone the rest to later.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but entails a few things that resonated with me and that I found help me to feel like I work on things that matter.

Inevitably there will be periods in our lives where we have to do the shitty stuff as well and feel drowned by it all. But if it's taking over our lives for too long (and yes more than three months is too long!), then we need to change something.

So let's end with Will Larson, who has shaped a lot of my thinking on this topic and whose article served for outlining of this essay:

"The only viable long-term bet on your career is to do work that matters, work that develops you and to steer towards companies that value genuine expertise."

That’s it for this week.

Enjoy your well-earned weekend 🏡

See you next week,