(Before we get down to it, remember if you’re looking for a new role yourself to check out the Econsultancy jobs board.)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Milena Court: I am Head of Growth at City Pantry, a tech startup in B2B food delivery. I focus on improving our understanding of customers and experimenting in the conversion funnel. At the moment I am mainly looking at the acquisition and activation stages in the funnel and I use my blend of skills in marketing, data and product to find clever ways to boost the company’s growth.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
MC: I sit in the Commercial Team and I report directly to the Chief Commercial Officer. Every day I interact with lots of different teams: sales, business intelligence, UX etc. which is what I love the most about Growth. Every day you get new insights from very different sources and you need to be a bit of a chameleon to use all of them effectively to feed into your growth strategy.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
MC: You need to be highly data-driven: behind every successful growth hack there is lots of data analysis to identify problems and to assess if the solutions you implemented are working or not!
You also need to be curious about everything: as a Head of Growth you should be a jack of all trades. I often spend days where I code a landing page in the morning, analyse the success of a new campaign in the afternoon and think about new messages to test for each audience in the evening.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
MC: There is not really a typical day and that’s the best thing about this job. My day is usually a mix between digging into the data to define problems, implementing solutions and assessing their success and it can BEon one big project at a time or several running at the same time. You need to be quick to adapt and be willing to be surprised every day.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
MC: I have always been a problem-solver, there is nothing that excites me more than identifying something that is not right and trying to fix it. The flip side of this is that you may have to run several failed experiments before getting one right that will make a big difference. Growth hacking is a really big topic in the media nowadays, but you only ever hear about the successful growth hacks, not about the tens of different failed experiments before that which led to this success. Growth hackers are often seen as magicians which is not the case at all :).
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
MC: It really depends on the step in the funnel you are working on! If you work on acquisition, you will be mainly looking at the traffic coming to your website, the conversion rate to customer and the performance of each of your marketing channelS and identifying bottlenecks along the way.
If you work on retention, you will have completely different metrics: improving the retention rate of your cohorts over time, understanding the lifetime value of your customers and how to improve it etc.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
MC: A good data visualisation tool is your best friend, I have worked a lot with Tableau and it’s one of my favourite tools. Google Analytics is a life-saver as well, you can dig into everything that your customers do on your website. One more personal favourite: Unbounce, a tool to create landing pages and A/B test them very quickly without much tech knowledge.
E: How did you get into growth hacking, and where might you go from here?
MC: After a Masters in Marketing and a few internships in Marketing, I got my first role in tech at BlaBlaCar, one of the biggest European startups. I started there in Marketing as expected but quickly realised that what I really liked the most was digging into data to uncover problems customers were experiencing.
I started learning more about growth and had the opportunity to move internally to the Growth and Strategy team. Since then, I had the chance to work on some very exciting projects to help the company grow and I moved to City Pantry in November to start a growth unit. From there, next step is to continue improving my skills as a Head of Growth and to build a solid team to help me solve those great challenges!
E: What is your favourite growth hacking case study?
MC: Probably the most famous one of all: Airbnb building a bot cross posting the first few listings on the platform to Craigslist to generate demand. Most people just see it as a “great idea”, but the tech implementation behind it to get it right was very complex. This is where you can identify good growth hacks: the initial problem is well assessed and the solution relies on a combination of tech know-how and creative ideas.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in this area?
MC: If you have never worked with data before, start following some free online courses like the SQL class on Codeacademy and the Google Analytics class from Google to give you strong bases to analyse data and extract insights.
Start reading about growth ideas (the forum of GrowthHackers.com is a good place to start). Get to know people in your company working in marketing, product or data and ask them about potential pain points in the customer journey that they are aware of and think about potential solutions and the impact they could have.
And the most important of all, go talk to customers to understand their problems.