I "accidentally" switched to be a growth PM

Being the first PM (apart from the CPO) at a startup, I’m a relatively junior PM. How can I acquire all the knowledge required for the role? Throughout my time at the firm, I may work on many different aspects of the product, but I will begin with acquisition. As far as I can tell, an acquisition-focused product manager is essentially a growth product manager. It entails marketing, SEO, and determining ways to increase website traffic. Since the product is a B2B marketplace for a specialized industry, I am limited in what inspiration I can get from the kinds of well-known B2C success tales. Does anyone have any experience as an acquisition PM?

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To acquire the knowledge required for a growing PM role, you can start by immersing yourself in relevant industry literature, resources, online courses, and webinars to gain a comprehensive understanding of growth strategies and best practices. On top of that, seeking mentorship or guidance from experienced growth PMs can provide valuable insights and practical advice to help you excel in your new role. Remember that hands-on experience and continuous learning will be key to mastering the role of a growth PM.

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In my opinion, you should handle everything that happens after “getting them in the door.” Alternatively, convert leads into users or customers. Find out what the main obstacles are keeping a lead from signing up as a user and work to make it simpler for them to go over them. Register for a ton of B2B products that are almost comparable to yours (other markets in whole unrelated industries), choose what you like, and duplicate it. By studying well-known B2C success stories, you can gain valuable insights and ideas for your own product or service. Additionally, it would be beneficial to connect with someone who has experience working as a PM for acquisitions to learn from their expertise. As for converting leads into users or customers, it is essential to identify the main obstacles preventing leads from signing up and find ways to simplify the process for them. To gain further inspiration, consider registering for various B2B products in unrelated industries and observing what strategies they employ that resonate with you, allowing you to adapt and replicate those successful tactics in your own market.

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Head of Product Growth here.

First: you need to have a fixed screen time with marketing/sales needs. That’s the main goal of it all. You are like a leverage resource for them (one that could actually build new things, features and processes, and not “just” a part of their common toolset, like a CRM Software or Analytics tool).

Second: you should find the numbers. What exactly are you trying to “grow” here? What are the KPIs? Do they keep track of it? If not, where should you build your data gathering?

Third, and most important: you should connect those growth needs with other teams. You are the focal point of a range of skillsets that those teams actually lack. Make use of it.

In our company, basically, we needed to scale Inbound Lead Acquisition to mitigate the Ad expenditure. We’ve found out the content creation would be key for that, but we needed to ramp it up to be effective. We just leveraged those channels by 650%+ and the performance team stopped being so worried about budget.

We connected engineering, content and performance teams, making a brand new solution for it all… pretty cool! Just keep in mind you will be their jack of all trades. You will be the leverage.

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You must ascertain the precise social media locations of your target audience. You don’t have to find the stakeholders, but the door to stakeholders. With that, you must launch marketing initiatives and retain only the most successful ones. There are several doors and methods for locating them. You may conduct SEO, post marketing messages in specialist groups, pose as a job seeker to obtain firm information, or question current clients about their use of social media and business channels. These various approaches will help you gather valuable insights on where your target audience is most active and engaged. Additionally, analyzing the demographics and interests of your existing customer base can provide valuable clues about which social media platforms and business channels to focus on. By adopting a multi-faceted approach and continuously evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives, you can optimize your efforts and ensure that you are reaching the right audience through the most effective channels.

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Growth PM seems to be assisting marketing and salespeople rather than doing it himself. I’m a startup, and I did all of it throughout my startup.

Does your company have someone in sales or marketing?

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There is now just one member of the marketing team. Though I doubt I would handle all of their marketing, I might need to learn how to use the product for SEO. Many products, like Pinterest, use SEO to their advantage in a strategic way in order to attract customers.

There is a sales staff, but I will be concentrating on generating inbound leads rather than outbound.

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You can try platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning, which offer courses on product management, growth hacking, A/B testing, and user experience design. As you mentioned earlier, understanding sales and marketing is crucial. Delve into resources about digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, PPC, and sales funnels. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you will be better equipped to optimize your product for search engines and drive organic traffic. Additionally, staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices in marketing will help you stay ahead of the competition and effectively reach your target audience.

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Reforge Growth Series + Product Marketing should give you a meaty baseline, highly recommended.

But at a high level it’s:

  • Define your objective
  • Identify metric that is a proxy for that objective (e.g. bounce rate, click through rate, etc.)
  • Design experiments that will drive that objective
  • Run those experiments
  • Measure and learn
  • Rinse and repeat
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Reforge is the best if you’re looking to learn quickly. Sr growth PM here, feel free to hit me up if you’d like to chat.

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Thanks, that’s very kind of you! I will do so later.

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Absolutely, Reforge’s Growth Series offers comprehensive and in-depth training on various marketing strategies, including customer acquisition, retention, and conversion. Their courses are taught by industry experts who provide practical insights and real-world examples to enhance your learning experience. By enrolling in Reforge’s Growth Series, you can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to develop effective marketing campaigns and drive significant business growth.

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Check out the GrowthHackers.com - Premier Community for Scalable Growth site and newsletter for info and resources.

Also check out Digital Marketing Courses Delivered by The Top 1% very good.

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Here’s a reply from an AI chatbot:

Congratulations on your role as the first Product Manager at a startup! It’s an exciting and challenging position. To become an effective acquisition-focused Product Manager, consider the following steps:

  1. Understand Your Industry:
    Given that your product is in a specialized B2B industry, make it a priority to deeply understand the dynamics, challenges, and trends in that industry. Attend industry events, connect with experts, and stay updated on relevant news.

  2. Learn from Competitors:
    Identify and analyze competitors in your space. Understand their acquisition strategies, customer engagement techniques, and overall product positioning. This can provide valuable insights and inspiration.

  3. Master SEO and Digital Marketing:
    Invest time in learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital marketing strategies. These are crucial for increasing online visibility and driving traffic. Online courses, blogs, and industry publications can be great resources.

  4. Customer Persona Development:
    Develop detailed buyer personas for your target customers. Understand their pain points, motivations, and behavior. This information will guide your acquisition strategies and help tailor your messaging.

  5. Data-Driven Decision-Making:
    Familiarize yourself with analytics tools to track and analyze user behavior, website traffic, and conversion metrics. Use data to make informed decisions and continuously optimize your acquisition efforts.

  6. Collaborate with Marketing:
    Forge strong relationships with your marketing team. Collaborate closely to align product and marketing strategies. Clear communication and shared goals are essential for successful acquisition efforts.

  7. Experiment and Iterate:
    Embrace a culture of experimentation. Test different acquisition channels, messaging, and strategies. Learn from both successes and failures, and iterate based on the insights gained.

  8. Networking:
    Build a network within your industry and among other Product Managers. Attend meetups, webinars, and conferences to learn from others’ experiences and share your own insights.

  9. Stay Updated on Industry Trends:
    The digital landscape and B2B marketing are constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest trends, tools, and best practices. This includes changes in SEO algorithms, emerging marketing channels, and industry shifts.

  10. Mentorship and Continuous Learning:
    Seek mentorship from experienced Product Managers or professionals in your industry. Their guidance can be invaluable. Additionally, engage in continuous learning through online courses, workshops, and relevant certifications.

Remember, the role of a Product Manager is dynamic, and acquiring new knowledge is an ongoing process. Embrace challenges, be adaptable, and stay curious to excel in your role.