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.
[Greatest Hits] Product @ N26: Kristina Walcker-Mayer- How Mobile Banking is Taking Lessons From Fashion E-Commerce
Kristina had never imagined working for a bank but when the opportunity came along to innovate the mobile experience for N26 she took it. Coming from a background in fashion e-commerce, Kristina asked, "How could we transform the learnings about mobile UX from e-commerce and apply them to the financial world to make everything less painful?" This and stories of why you shouldn’t build what your customers ask for, and reasons to always speak your mind, are featured in this episode with Kristina Walcker-Mayer of N26.
SVP, Digital & Growth @ sweetgreen: Daniel Shlossman- The Incredible Velocity of Customer-Oriented Growth
Daniel Shlossman is the SVP, DIgital + Growth @ sweetgreen. He leads marketing, product, and digital channels. In his three years at sweetgreen, Daniel has been focused on enabling customer growth through channel expansion and improvement, including the launch of sweetgreen’s off-premise business, via Outpost and delivery. Daniel’s incredible background includes roles at Uber (as Head of West Coast Operations & Marketing) and at NFL (as their Director of Product for Fantasy Football).
Disruption in any market starts with passionate founders who see opportunities to scale in all domains and are not limited by a particular mode or channel of growth. Don’t think that you need to build a mobile app because “everyone else is doing it”. A mobile app gives you the opportunity to use your resources to add value to your customers’ lives and grab a huge chunk of the market in the process.
Even with a great product-market fit, your team is the most crucial aspect of building a mobile app. A collaborative culture among people who love to work together allows for that facilitation across different departments and different channels and is crucial to make growth happen.
You should identify opportunity areas and really go after them. Even if you don’t know something - you will make mistakes and learn from them. It’s important to have candid conversations to get better with each decision. Follow a detailed diagnosis process within your team to learn from your mistakes as well as projects that were fully or partially successful.
Sometimes, the best ideas come from taking something your customers already love and making it even better. One great way to turn such commonplace ideas into massive growth opportunities is to combine a few popular features that customers are experiencing in your app or your competitors. Also, look at enhancing key features to add something new to the app.
Successful pivots in tough times like the pandemic require nimbleness and agility in executing a response to the new situation. At sweetgreen, they found this opportunity via shifting operations to donations to frontline medical workers in need. They repurposed and adapted their existing processes to respond to this opportunity.
Personalization allows you to get close to the customers. At sweetgreen, Daniel thinks about personalization from the perspective of the customer. This way, personalizing a service goes far beyond small changes that give customers some control over the product you create for them. It means letting them care about the product in a way that grants them ownership of the product resulting from the service, including full customization of chosen ingredients.
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.
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!