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How to evaluate your Head of Growth
learning is the output of Growth
I was interviewing for a job about a year ago that asked me “how many leads do you think you can generate within 90 days?”
They seemed upset when I told them I had no idea. They seemed slightly more upset when I told them that I didn’t think the output of my role was a specific Marketing Qualified Lead count.
Maybe it’s just me, but all of the recent “how to hire a head of growth” articles lately have got me thinking about everything that goes wrong when trying to evaluate them.
There has been a lot of great advice written by people a lot smarter than myself about how to pick the right Growth leader or how to avoid the wrong one. None of them seem to talk about the fact that people have a really hard time evaluating the work of Growth in the first place.
It’s not just hard to hire a good Head of Growth when you don’t know how to evaluate one, and it’s even harder to keep them because you’re measuring them against the wrong metrics.
Every job I have ever had, I was measured by the fact of “did Koby make the numbers go up and to the right”? Did I run a profitable campaign or make the company grow.
Can I be really honest?
Sometimes a monkey with a keyboard could have ran profitable campaigns. Sometimes the greatest Growth Marketer on the planet couldn’t have stopped them from bleeding money.
Campaign performance, isn’t performance
There are so many things that go into wether or not a campaign is going to preform well. Growth is a critical lever, but for early stage products your LTV might go from $50 to $100 within a 3 month period.
That might literally make your campaign go from bleeding cash to raking in money.
Do you ever see ads and think to yourself “how did anyone make that”? Or visit a landing page that looked like it was built in the 1990’s? Or maybe a lifecycle campaign that called you by the completely wrong name.
The “work” itself doesn’t even have to be good in order to be profitable sometimes.
This is why it’s entirely too possible to find a Head of Growth from XYZ amazing startup and when they come onboard you ask yourself why they can’t seem to make a significant impact for your product.
It’s because the last startup was amazing.
When you have true product market fit, Growth comes easy. Selling water in the middle of a desert to a hoard of thirsty people is really hard to mess up. This is almost even a hall mark of determining PMF, will people still use my solution even if my landing page is shitty and the cold email I got from the founder is bad.
It is not campaign performance or “making numbers go up” that separates good from bad, but rather the change in campaign performance.
Learning is the output of Growth
This is why I can’t tell you that on day #94 I am going to drive 103,555 leads for your D2C product. Because it’s not my job to already know.
It’s my job to learn. This is the true super power of strong Growth leaders.
If you have never hired a Head of Growth or even a Marketing Lead before, that means I am going to need to figure out how every single channel might potentially impact your startup.
How do Facebook ads work, how does Google SEM work, is Linkedin a viable option, how do we optimize our lifecycle emails, how do we optimize our landing pages, are there different revenue models we can try, what does an ideal referral program look like, what product features might increase engagement & reduce churn.
It is the week over week delta of information that causes a hockey stick growth chart.
Figured out how to get Facebook ads to work, we grow a little faster. Figured out how SEM to work, we grow a little faster. Figured out how to maximize our referral program, we grow a little faster.
When you’re at scale and working with 1-2 core channels it’s the exact same process just at a higher level of detail. This copy did better than that copy, CPA targeting is working better than CPC target, there’s a 1% lift on a $100M spend from using GTM tags instead of a GA pixel.
Performance of Growth is measured by learning & improvement, not total output.
Want to hire an amazing Head of Growth or accurately measure your current one? Figure out the rate at which they iterate and improve. The actual ROI is determined by so much, but it’s the week over week iterations, experiments, and learnings that are the input which drive growth.
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