Welcome to the first episode of Growth Hacker Interview Series. The idea is to bring the stories of Indian growth hackers. In early days of my product career, I struggled to filter product-growth stories that could help in the Indian context. That’s where the India of #MeetGrowthHacker came from.
I am starting with my good friend and fellow growth hacker at Sqrrl – Nitesh Sharma. Nitesh is Computer Science 2011 graduate from UIET, Kurukshetra University. He has designed marketing campaigns for several big brands at Boring Brands. At Sqrrl, he handles growth through strategic tie-ups, affiliate, and paid marketing. He has spearheaded API integration with big brands that have helped Sqrrl grow.
Check out Nitesh’s Linkedin profile here.
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What according to you is the role of a growth hacker?
I consider growth hacker as a data-driven marketer working for a sole objective of increasing user-base. KRA is to align the product and marketing team for the growth of product (normally calculated on basis of one or two metrics). Any marketing/outreach activity which doesn’t result in direct growth in user-base should not be on the priority list of growth hackers.
How did your background in engineering has helped in marketing?
Engineer background helped a lot in my marketing career. I think it made me a bit more pragmatic in solving the complex problem of user acquisition. I don’t negate any marketing channel/idea until unless data says so. Through my experience I can definitely say that you need to have some tech understanding if you want your tech team to align with your marketing efforts otherwise it becomes really difficult to bring everyone on the same page.
Do you think growth hackers need an understanding of coding and technology and why?
I think an understanding of coding and technology is a BIG plus for Growth hackers. Otherwise, it can become really difficult to get your marketing tech right (be it split testing of your landing page or personalised retargeting of the user).
My understanding of technology has helped in leading tech integration with third-party tools such Branch and strategic API integration.
As per you, what are the key traits of a growth hacker?
- Understanding of consumer behaviour
- An inclination toward tech and data
- Creative thinking
What’s the North Star for you at Sqrrl? What do you think is the importance of establishing a North Star metric?
For Sqrrl, count of transacting users is our North Star, as it captures the core value of our product which we deliver delivers to our customers. According to me, North star metric helps a lot in clearing the noise around our marketing plan. It helps in aligning team’s might behind single objective with razor-sharp focus.
Could you walk us through your typical day’s schedule?
I start my day by reviewing our numbers (north star and other metrics also). Review the team’s to-do list in a standing meeting with the leadership team. After that, we get back to execution of our action items such as the promotion of the product, content marketing, implementation and optimisation of tool required, funnel optimisation, and exploration of possible new growth channel.
What have been your 3 best growth hack tactics?
- Contextual funnel retargeting has worked wonderfully for me. Generally, when people run retargeting advertisements, they run a generic discount advertisement for drop-off from any given step of the funnel. However, targeting with a focused advertisement for each step dropoff significantly enhances the output.
- Acquired B2B users at 1/4th the target customer acquisition cost by running retargeting advertisements on Facebook.
- The last one is simple – figure out which event triggered the most uninstall. Eliminate it from process.
Which channels do you think will be more valuable and money-worthy in future for growth?
- Inbound marketing
- User engagement for retention
- Strategic Tie-ups
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a growth hacker?
Getting influencers on board without spending much money on significant traction on an organic channel in short time span.
What has been your biggest failure as a growth hacker?
Committed more than the required resource for some marketing experiment due to which some of the successful channels suffered resource crunch.
What’s the first thing you do when you start work?
Look at the metrics and figure how was the previous day from the growth perspective.
What’s your one tip for budding growth hacker?
Never be prejudiced against any channel before doing and failing the marketing experiment.