Even with all the hoopla, growth marketing is still a nascent skill.

And traditional methods of training marketers don’t produce better growth marketers.

More than anything else, training in growth marketing is all about nurturing the right mindset.

Let’s get the facts straight: growth marketers…

  • deal with problems related to business not channels
  • prioritise progress over perfection
  • focus on measurable outcomes.
  • discover alternative solutions despite the constraints.

You can’t teach a growth marketing mindset by teaching someone how to set up an Adwords account.

Over the years, I’ve been working on perfecting my own methods for training growth marketers and here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Hands-on training is essential. But ineffective at teaching people the growth marketing mindset.
  2. Small growth marketing teams require different specialisations. And unless you can create a specialised training in everything from Paid Search to Content Marketing to Analytics, you need to hire ambitious self-starters.

One solution is to get your growth marketers trained by professionals.

That can be effective but not something every team can afford. 

So, here’s what I recommend instead:

Step 1: Hire people for the right mindset. Skills can be taught at work, you don’t have the time to start teaching the right mindset.

Step 2: Train them to become better at problem-solving. Rather than micromanaging how they do it, get them to focus on working their way to the end result.

It comes down to hiring for aptitude over skill.

The type of people you’re looking for is what Dave Hoover described as “relentlessly resourceful”.

Deloitte has advice on how to find relentlessly resourceful people. They have:

  1. a long-term commitment to increasing one’s impact in a particular domain (for example, banking, medicine, gardening, or visual art).
  2. a questing disposition that seeks out new challenges and views them as exciting opportunities to learn.
  3. a connecting disposition that actively seeks connections with others who could help address these challenges.

Here’s the thing: you don’t need expensive, week-long training sessions to produce high performers.

Keep in mind that any formal training is only as effective as people’s ability to practice what they’ve learnt.

So, get them practising first.

Once a month bring people together to work on a specific problem.

I get together with the growth marketers in my team and client leads each quarter.

And we work on answering these four questions:

  1. What big business challenges did we work on during this quarter?
  2. How did we perform, what did we learn and where can we improve?
  3. What are the big challenges for the coming quarter?
  4. How are we going to make our client successful at their job?

The first two questions are a review and we cover that within the first 30-minutes.

Then we spend 60 minutes on questions 3 and 4.

Having client leads with us brings in the business context.

And by focusing on our objective, ‘making the client successful’, we brainstorm everything from growth marketing solutions to digital development and more.

You don’t have a solution to every problem you come across.

Nor can every business problem be solved with growth marketing alone.

We often find ourselves in need of service designers, creatives or developers to solve problems we come across in our quarterly meetings.

As a manager, you don’t always have to fork out a fortune to train your growth marketers. Sometimes you can connect your team with other experts inside your organisation to get the job done.

And you should involve your team in finding solutions to meaningful problems.

Especially when it’s outside their day-to-day responsibilities. Involve them in developing new services or improving existing ones.

But it’s not enough to just ask them to do it. Set a specific goal.

I like to use OKRs but you can use the performance management methods that suit you. 

The idea is simple: set a big goal and then break it down into smaller steps. Then start measuring progress against those steps until you achieve the big goal.

Most important: don’t hog the spotlight.

Instead, point it at your team because this is how you build their confidence.

The other thing that builds their confidence is celebrating. Both the victories and the failures – no matter how small.

Why celebrate failures too? Because it removes the stigma of failing and shifts the focus towards finding the learning in that experience rather than feeling shame for a failed attempt.

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