Interview Series #1 episode 2: Sam Carter asks Jake Higgins about the challenges he faced in the role of a CMO or Head of Growth across different organisation, and how did he solve them.
The CEO of Fospha, Sam Carter, asks Jake Higgins, the co-founder of Growth club about the major challenges he faced as a CMO or Head of Growth in difference ventures and how he overcame them.
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Sam Carter, CEO of Fospha, asked Jake Higgins, a founding partner of the Grwth Club about the challenges the role of CMO or Head of Growth entails and how to overcome them.
Sam: You know, the role of the CMO, the role of the head of growth can mean quite a lot of different things to different organizations. What are the big challenges that you've faced personally in those kind of roles and that you may be observed within the organization? And how have you gone about sort of solving those?
Jake: Well, first of all, I'd say what is growth? What is this awkward Americanism I've tied my career to? I think that's the first question because I think in many ways in Europe we've lost our way and we've lost our way on what growth is during a ten year period of super low interest rates where capital from VCs was freely available.
And the original idea of growth that was born in Silicon Valley, Facebook and Uber and those kind of companies used has been softened into this kind of growth marketing, reaching a contentious peak, maybe on LinkedIn as growth hacking around 2016-2017. And I think we need to go back to basics. What actually is the discipline that we're talking about?
And I like going back to its birthplace and it was really founded because of a few different things that were happening at the time. One, developers taking over marketing departments, tools for A B testing, and all these things becoming more prevalent.
The cost to start a software business became cheaper. The cost to make a website became cheaper. So there's a few different things that led into this kind of Silicon Valley concept of growth. One of the ways it was expressed was a team that was actually separate from marketing and product and acted as kind of like an SAS squad that was sent over to solve various growth problems.
Other ways it was expressed was by being a union of marketing and product and breaking down the silos of those kind of two big departments because fast-growing businesses realized, hey, we don't need a marketing department over there and a product department over there. And that's why this kind of concept of a growth team was invented. And at its heart, it means that it's people and a team that are able to solve cross-functional challenges.
They're able to be as interested as they are in website and product, dev as they are, marketing as they are, maybe sales if it's in a B, two B context. So that's what I think growth is and why I don't really like the term growth marketing. I much less like the term growth hacking because I think in many ways in Europe it's been more of like the best rebrand of all time from digital marketer to growth marketer. It's starting to become a bit meaningless. And it comes back to the other point I made about qualitative testing, qualitative data. If you're thinking about the commercial challenges, holistically. If you're pulling different cross-functional teams together, you're not just going to be in your lane just looking at quantitative data, for example, just looking at Facebook Business Manager, whatever.
You're going to be out there speaking to customers, doing user testing, really trying to understand the psychology of the customer, and most importantly, why they're not using this product, why they're churning or not rebuying, whatever it might be.
Sam: Yeah. That's fascinating. I think probably a lens that particularly in our world, we're very much on the quantity side, but the positive side is, and the perspective is fascinating. And this idea of getting signals from multiple places and using them to sort of reinforce and challenge each other.
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