In How I Grew This, Mada Seghete dives into the stories behind the World’s top companies and the leaders driving their growth from campaigns, measurement and tests to their personal journeys becoming growth leaders.
CEO @ AllTrails: Ron Schneidermann - Leading a Small Team to Enormous Growth
Ron Schneidermann is the CEO of Alltrails, where he spent the past six years helping grow the company, which is now one of the top five health and fitness apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Before joining Alltrails, Ron led growth teams at Yelp and co-founded Liftopia, the global leader of ski lift ticket bookings.
Ron shares that the two most important things for any company are momentum and culture. If you lose either of them, they are impossible to rebuild. Have belief in your business model and look at the advantages in context. When you cannot control certain aspects of the funnel, let full-funnel growth (across all stages) be the central driver of your business.
If your app is “content-centered,” your data sets hold the power to convert and retain users. First, focus on improving the quality of data you can provide to your audience. Don’t get attached to results because any growth experiment can fail. Instead, focus on learning from successful and failed experiments. Find and monitor feedback loops based on what your users respond to. The key to growth is to keep adapting as your audience adapts because they are the chief driver of your business growth.
Re-engagement via push notification may put you at risk of annoying your customers. People may forget that they have the app installed, so it’s always better to focus on outside-the-app strategies such as SEO, personalized content, and reminders via emails to drive re-engagement through deep links into the app.
Try not to depend on one platform because it can make a huge dent in your growth charts if the platform changes. Try to own your channels of growth as much as possible.
Daily and sometimes even weekly metrics may be distracting. Monthly metrics provide a more accurate view of your audience’s changing consumption habits and are a healthier way to monitor growth.
Ron shares that to maintain culture momentum during growth, your company’s senior leadership has to be the culture vanguard and train the rest of the leadership across the org. This becomes easier if people in your organization have a personal connection to your mission and stay longer.
Ron’s final advice: be honest with yourself when making important decisions because you will be proud of the practical decisions you make and reactionary paths you avoid after you retire. Having a personal set of core values helps identify opportunities and enjoy the process of executing them.
[Greatest Hits] Growth Advisor & Former Global Head of Digital Marketing @ Slack: Holly Chen- How An Inner Rebelliousness Led to A Career in Growth
Holly Chen is an award-winning marketing and growth advisor who credits her inner rebelliousness and overall questioning of conventional thinking for leading her into a career in Growth. And she’s been a standout from the beginning. In Beijing, Holly was one of the few Chinese nationals majoring in Italian in the entire country. After taking on her first role at the United Nations, she felt the need to move to something where she could better measure the impact of her work and joined an early stage startup in New York City. Her entry into Product Management and Marketing teams at that start up eventually led to her becoming the Head of Growth at the Google Store, in charge of distinguishing the various Google Store and hardware brands. She then went on to build Slack’s Digital Marketing and Performance Marketing function globally driving user acquisition, retention, and monetization across SMB and Enterprise customers.
Amidst her current work as a growth advisor, Holly is a co-founder of Ceilingbreakers.us, a coaching platform that is rethinking the way tech leadership looks by creating a direct line to top executive coaches for specifically people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups.
Hear more about where Holly believes growth sits within a company, advice to those building their own multi-touch attribution systems, and her advice for her younger self on this episode of How I Grew This.
App she can’t live without: Apple Podcast App
Animal she would talk to if she could: Cats
App she uses that others wouldn’t expect: Chinese apps
CMO @ Fishbrain: Lisa Kennelly- Scaling as the Dominant Player in Your Niche
Lisa Kennelly has been the CMO at Fishbrain for over three years and oversees marketing operations, strategy, and vision. Since the fall of 2020, Lisa has been responsible for growing and managing Fishbrain’s eCommerce marketplace. Outside of Fishbrain, Lisa is an advisor and mentor of multiple early-stage founders and startups.
Fishbrain is a mobile app and online platform with map-based tools, fishing forecasts, social networking features, and recommendations on fishing gear. Fishing is the most popular hobby in the world… and is huge in the US, Fishbrain’s biggest market.
During the pandemic, Fishbrain was a beneficiary of other businesses and sports shutting down and also from becoming the primary online retailer focused on a variety of fishing gear. Riding this wave, Fishbrain has grown to over 13 million users.
Lisa led Fishbrain’s marketing expansion beyond their (mostly) paid advertising campaigns. Fishbrain’s social network feature attracts new users and contributes to their user retention. Fishbrain grows through SEO, word of mouth, influencers and even offline marketing (billboards, radio ads, etc) in some southern US states that have a thriving culture of anglers.
Sometimes, all that is required to stand out in the market is observing a pattern and disrupting it with a bold design decision. At Clue, a female reproductive health app, Lisa and her team disrupted the ongoing pattern of having a pink-themed female health tracker app. This bold design decision contributed “big time” to their growth.
If you are working with influencers, focus on micro-influencers because they are more approachable and have a more dedicated fan base. Nail your product benefits, product positioning, and its messaging. Be rigid about how influencers can use them and how they must not use them.
If you are in a newer, less-saturated niche, SEO is a great channel because it’s easier to find content gaps in the niche and fill it with high-quality content.
Lisa shares that to increase your premium subscriptions: make your pro membership content truly valuable and meant for the regular, high-frequency user - not just the occasional user. Split testing can be used to avoid making decisions. Sometimes, you just have to believe in your ideas and execute them because non-determinant results of A/B testing can be paralyzing.
Lisa also shares management lessons for CMO’s: empathy, honesty, vulnerability, and direct feedback help connect with employees. Sometimes, simply giving your employees a kind ear to vent can do the trick. Consuming leadership content has also helped Lisa in her quest of becoming a great CMO.
[Greatest Hits] Product @ Netflix: Michelle Parsons- How Tinkering in the Classroom Led to Innovating Kids & Family Product
How does a woman go from teacher to running Kids and Family content at Netflix? What happened along the way to lead Michelle, a pre-med student in college to a career building the experiences for the companies we know and love. That and stories of failed experiments, taking an unconventional path to product management and why empathy is your most powerful tool are featured with Michelle Parsons of Netflix.
[Greatest Hits] VP of Digital Strategy & Product @ Chipotle: Nicole West - Taking the Risks That Can Accelerate You and Your Company
Today’s guest, Nicole West, isn’t afraid of raising her hand and taking a risk, especially when it’s a project no one has ever done before. She’s built a reputation over her 14-year career at Chipotle in taking those tough jobs and turning them into big opportunities. For instance, in 2013, the then CMO asked Nicole if she would start up the new Ecommerce division of the marketing team. Pushing fear aside, she took the job. Today, she’s been at the helm as Chipotle has gone through a digital transformation which has seen digital ordering hit meteoric heights, with digital orders now accounting for over 20% of company sales.
More on Nicole’s story of how she rose the ranks, her advice to those who are inspired by her story, as well as ways Chipotle is staying true to its mission of making the world a better place, on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and more.
[Greatest Hits] SVP and Head of Product @ RentoMojo: Dharmesh Gandhi- Lowering Churn, Increasing NPS & Finding Unutilized Growth Opportunities
So much of learning how to drive meaningful growth is finding unsaturated and ripe growth channels and relentless focus on the actual end-user. This is our next guest's philosophy, Dharmesh Gandhi, the Senior Vice President and Head of Product at RentoMojo.
Dharmesh shares how early in his career at Amazon, he learned how you could easily spot what seems like a popular growth option and not always get the return you’re looking for, especially when scaling. He adjusted his approach to play the long game and focus on important but not urgent growth methods. As he says in the interview, once something becomes urgent, it’s too late. He built out a multi-year roadmap that would allow continued growth through different channels.
That experience also helped him when RentoMojo had to make dramatic shifts when COVID happened. They decided to implement a subscription pause, which reduced churn by 35% and played a significant role in helping the business continue to thrive even during the lockdown.
Hear more on Dharmesh’s story, including how culture was the most critical driver of growth at Amazon, how he became the odd one out in his family and didn’t work on the family business, his time management, and so much more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.
Educational and fun
Better than anything you can get in school. A great insider’s view of growth and marketing.
A must for app developers
I run a consumer mobile dating app called coffee meets bagel and like other mobile developers, growth is something we consntantly work on. This podcast is a gem filled with real examples and practical tips from experts. I got so many growth ideas from this. A must for mobile developers in charge of growth.
Come for the growth tips, stay for the journeys
Enjoying the tips, but really listening to hear about the guests' journeys. Great start!