What People in Growth Careers Do
The field of “growth,” often referred to as “growth hacking,” “growth marketing,” or “growth engineering,” is a hybrid between marketing and product management. Those who work in growth gather data related to website traffic and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, then design new campaigns or streamline processes and then check to see if the new strategies are more effective.
In some cases, growth hackers may have a computer science or engineering background that enables them to code changes into websites or software in an effort to improve conversions or traffic, while other times their expertise comes from a marketing background, and they’ll work with software engineering or development professionals to have the coding aspects done.
Growth hackers may also focus on a specific area, such as onboarding, customer retention, or lead generation, or work as part of a team with others who specialize in different aspects or the entire AARRR funnel. They’re often differentiated between digital marketers because they focus on low-cost marketing tactics, such as search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing, versus paid tactics like pay-per-click ads.
Who would enjoy a career in Growth?
Growth specialists are unique in that they have a lot of creativity and think outside the box, but they’re also very analytical and use data to make educated decisions. People who enjoy consumer psychology, marketing, technology, and data science do well. Being a team player and effective communicator are essential too.
Who mightn't like the career?
Growth hackers have come under fire for unethical behavior, such as harvesting contact information from the phones of consumers and using it for marketing purposes. These types of “black hat” techniques can destroy a company’s reputation, even if the campaign produces results.
For this reason, those who aren’t committed to ethical practices should be careful of pursuing the profession without proper diligence on the employer and their appetite for these tactics. Additionally, part of creating strong growth campaigns is performing A/B testing, or making small adjustments to campaigns and then comparing their effectiveness. For some, this can be too monotonous, and for others, the fear of failure can keep them from taking risks and trying new ideas. In either case, the career might not be a good fit.
Companies looking for growth hackers usually want to hire someone who has worked in digital marketing or tech already, which typically means having at least a bachelor’s degree related to either field. Professionals coming in from either area can enhance what they bring to the table by obtaining certificates or studying subjects like Google Analytics, automation tools, SEO, and email marketing.
Companies may look for someone who is skilled in all areas of growth or may assemble a team with specialists in various areas. Certain companies seek out “T-shaped” marketers. Moreover, the scope of the job and duties will vary with each firm. For this reason, it’s important to review job descriptions thoroughly and find a position that’s not only a good fit for one’s skills, but also has a corporate culture befitting of the applicant’s personal values. Additionally, it’s helpful to build a portfolio of success stories or case studies that can be shared with hiring companies.
- Growth Interview Questions
- Breaking into Growth Hacking
- I want to work in marketing / growth at a startup. How do I break into the scene?
Moving into Growth from another career
Those with a marketing, data science, product management or analytical background such as management consulting will have a leg up when trying to transition into a career in growth.
Those without a similar background generally do better learning one area at a time, refining their skills, and picking up projects focused on the area they know well, perhaps with small overlaps in areas which still need refinement. With this in mind, almost any background, from sales to graphic design, can lend itself well to a growth career provided the right skills are attained.
Growth Marketer/ Growth Marketing Analyst/ Growth Hacker/ Growth Engineer
Role: The role of a growth marketer is relatively new. In fact, the title “growth hacker” was only coined in 2010. Therefore, there is not yet a formalized career ladder, nor are the job descriptions of any two growth specialists exactly the same.
On any given day, a person in this role will likely be given specific tasks to carry out, and will also likely be allowed time for experimenting with different campaigns, and for measuring their success. In small startups, a growth marketer will handle all the planning and execution of campaigns or projects. In a larger organization, the growth marketer will work under the direction of a growth manager who devises campaigns and then assigns specific tasks to be carried out.
Role: In companies that offer leadership roles in growth, the manager position is typically the next step up. The manager evaluates opportunities, identifies possible solutions, and then assigns tasks to employees who have the right skills to carry out the work, such as growth marketers, coders, graphic designers, and copywriters. The manager is also responsible for analytics, including tracking the results of various campaigns and reporting back to the team as well as company execs what has been accomplished.
Role: Managers who do well in the area of growth, and have developed skills which extend into all areas of digital marketing, and typically marketing as a whole, may become a director.
Marketing directors generally oversee all aspects of marketing, including digital, print, media, or any other medium the company uses. They often come up with the overall concepts the marketing teams use in their campaigns, and work to ensure a cohesive branding effort is made.
It’s also the director’s job to set budgets for marketing, measure ROI, handle all business planning as it relates to marketing, and oversee all staff below him or her. It’s worth noting that large companies may have directorships for those in growth or digital marketing. In these cases, attaining a director role in a niche-specific area would be the next step.
Vice President of Marketing
Role: Vice presidents are high-level executives who work even more strategically. They naturally oversee all aspects of marketing, but their core focus is on understanding consumer behavior, expectations, and ensuring that the marketing messages speak to both. They may conduct market research, observe trends, and help frame the general feel of the brand or products, covering everything from pricing to packaging. As with directorships, VP roles may occasionally be niche-specific, either to growth or digital marketing.
Growth professionals work online, usually out of a centralized office. They don’t often travel for work. The online and globally transferable nature of their internet marketing skills makes growth professionals make international opportunities more readily available, especially to tech hubs all over the world.
Growth Marketer: With the title of “growth hacker” being so new, data for people with ten or more years in the field does not exist. However, PayScale concludes that the average growth hacker earns USD$74,369 in the United States, with professionals reporting a range of USD$38,916 to USD$131,168. In Canada, the average is CAD$59,495, with a range of CAD$34,899 to CAD$90,000. In Australia, the average is AU$90,000, with a range of AU$63,000 to AU$100,000. No data for the UK is available.
See “What is the average salary for a junior, mid-level & senior growth hacker?” for a discussion amongst professionals regarding how various organizations determine pay and what average pay may be based on skills and experience.
Growth Manager: USD$91,250. No data for other regions is available.
Marketing Director: USD$83,000, £68,073, CAD$85,300, AU$144,926
VP of Marketing: USD $138,620, £92,817, CAD$124,413, AU$161,500
Because many organizations utilize a bonus system to reward growth professionals for performance, and tie bonuses to completing specific milestones, there is significant opportunity to increase pay. However, because other organizations offer flat salaries or stock/ equity packages, an individual may not earn a yearly bonus at all.
Why People in Growth Careers move on
Again, growth is a relatively new field, so there isn’t much information about people leaving their careers. At present, the greatest frustrations professionals have surround lack of support/ understanding from company execs and frequent job transitions due to startup failures.
But, by and large, those getting into the field enjoy the excitement of the work and appreciate the unique challenges they face. Because this job is a hybrid of many things, ranging from coding/ development to marketing and product management, individuals who leave a career in growth can easily slide into a career involving their area of expertise.