If the collapse of the speculative Internet bubble, or dot-com bubble, taught us anything, it is that an extreme desire for rapid growth can result in poor judgement, bad decision-making, and consequently weak businesses.
After all, it is the last time a large number of internet companies grew like crazy.
And the end result?
And most importantly, we all learned that growth alone means nothing. The harder you come, the harder you fall. Sales and profits are what is important; not growth.
This was common knowledge from around 2001 until 2010.
As recently as 2010, nobody was clear on how Facebook would make money.
We knew that the company and service were growing at breakneck speeds, acquiring 100 million new users each year…
But we didn’t know how (or when) Facebook would (finally) be profitable. Pundits were arguing that the website was overrated at $33 billion dollars.
And for all we knew, they were right.
Until things started to change.
Just 2 years later, Facebook made $1.59 billion in revenue.
Then it bought Instagram for a cool billion.
Somewhere along the way, we all learned a valuable lesson.
When growth is guided by skepticism and results, instead of hype, it can be – and is – a valid goal to build a business around.
Moreover, aggressive growth is often the only way for small companies to compete with huge corporations and their vast budgets.
This is why companies like DropBox, Google, Instagram, Uber – anyone who is anyone, really – have been heavily recruiting growth managers and growth hackers. In a previous post, we highlight several growth managers of well-known companies.
The question is, should you be doing the same?
We think so because in a world where the competition for growth is increasingly aggressive, you need a dedicated growth manager.
Not having one makes you easy pickings for the competition, and all but guarantees that you will shrink and ultimately fail instead of ending up at the top, where you want to be.
So here are 6 reasons to start looking for your growth manager sooner rather than later. The first, of course, is…
1. To set growth objectives
Growth is not necessarily the main goal of your existing departments. Marketing, R&D and sales staff all have their own priorities – and making your company bigger is not one of them.
That is why you need one person responsible for growth goals. This individual will decide how much you need to grow – and how you are going to do it.
They will also hold your other employees accountable, making sure your company gets to where it needs to be.
With growth being a necessity, and not a luxury, you need someone to oversee growth – and that person is your growth manager.
However, this is not (strictly speaking) a primary reason to hire one, because it is superseded by the next 2 points.
2. To collect and interpret data
Growth hacking (and growth marketing) are driven by data derived from real-life results.
This means that a growth manager’s primary function is to create an effective way to collect and interpret data. This is the foundation that your business’s growth is to be built on – and the single most important ingredient of continued growth.
Specifically, a growth marketer will…
- Create a data collection system for your business. In the digital world, this means using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Mixpanel, … to learn more about what people do on your website (and in your app).
- Research current best practices that may benefit your business.
- Interact with customers and evaluate their experiences with your business.
Once all that is done, it is time…
3. To use data
Once data has been collected, it can (and should) be used to provide customer insights.
Specifically, the data should be used to make better customer avatars; identify consumers’ needs, wants and habits; figure out ways to increase sales and minimise costs and returns.
Once you start acquiring data, turning it into valuable insights like these becomes a full-time job – which is what you need a growth marketer for.
Of course, there is also the question of…
4. Coordinating marketing, sales and R&D
There is no “I” in growth, and this is important, because consistently growing your business requires your whole organisation to work in unison.
Specifically, the sales department has to work to find new ways to move more products while decreasing returns.
Marketing has to improve advertising ROI and find new ways to acquire clients (while reducing churn).
R&D has to consistently create products, product uses and packaging options that appeal to buyers.
And who is going to coordinate all the employees in these departments?
Your growth manager, of course! And that is reason #4 to have one. Reason #5 is…
5. To come up with new ideas/experiments
Once you have got all the data you need, and your departments are working together, you have got to start trying new things.
That is how you find new ways to sell, grow and build your brand.
And who do you task with coming up with new ideas?
Your growth manager, of course!
They are the person sitting on all the data in the world, so they have got the best perspective for coming up with new things.
At this stage, you might be wondering how one person is going to have the time to do all the things we are talking about.
This is a great question – and we will answer with the sixth, and last, reason to hire a growth manager.
6. To automate, scale and systematise
As you are probably realising by now, growth is time and labour-intensive.
For this reason, growth managers are huge on finding ways to automate tasks – even those that cannot be automated on first sight.
In fact, the rise of growth hacking has directly led to the creation and growth of services like Zapier and IFTTT, which allow you to create chains of actions across hundreds of apps, like Gmail and GetResponse and as such reduce tasks that might take hours to one click of a button.
This is the sixth reason you need a growth manager – and the reason one person can realistically accomplish everything we have talked about in this article.
Now, let us recap by going over the 6 reasons you need a growth manager:
- To set growth targets
- To collect data
- To use data
- To coordinate other departments for optimal growth
- To come up with new ideas and strategies
- To automate and scale your operations
Of course, hiring a new member of staff is a big commitment – and not one you are necessarily prepared to make right away.
After all, getting the wrong person into your organisation is a costly mistake. And if you have never had a growth manager before, you might (and should be) worried about making the right choice.
This is why many people turn to growth teams like ours instead of hiring a single growth manager outright.
Aside from being a prudent choice for many companies, it is an opportunity to build an organic growth culture in your organisation before committing to any new employees. Before making up your mind, there are four dangerous pitfalls to avoid, which you can read more about here.
So if you would like to learn more about bringing in an outside growth expert, why not talk to us? We would be happy to schedule a call with you and see how we can help you. All you need to do is leave your details below and we will get in touch with you!