Thoughts on Growth — Mar 6, 2018

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1. For a quick salary bump, switch over to growth

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We recently polled 3,500 respondents in the Reforge community on compensation for growth roles versus non-growth product roles. The findings were startling. 

  • 54.9% of PMs in dedicated "growth" roles made salaries in the $101K to $150K range
  • 31.4% of PMs in non-growth roles hit that same range
  • The largest percentage of non-growth PMs made salaries in the $80-$100K range (46.2%)

So, growth all the way, right? 


I ran this by Brian Balfour, former VP Growth @ Hubspot, to get some perspective on the salary discrepancy we're seeing for growth vs non-growth roles:

“Core product is essential, but anecdotally I'm seeing a lot of demand for growth PM roles. At the same time, since growth is a much newer function, we're seeing scarcity in terms of candidates who have that experience. It makes sense for now, but as more and more people learn growth practices and gain direct experience running growth in their orgs, we might see things even out.”


2. Ads are biggest CAC category, followed by content marketing



We've heard it before: growth is getting harder and more expensive, driven by more (and better funded) competition and platform consolidation.

But, what exactly does that CAC breakdown look like for the majority of Series B - public companies?

We surveyed the growth teams at 155 companies that have been through the Reforge Growth Series to ask them:

What is your single biggest growth marketing spend area?

  • Paid marketing comes in first place, with 43% of respondents citing it as their primary spend category
  • Content marketing accounted for the majority of spend for 25% of our respondents

The most surprising insight was the appearance of "Influencers" as a category in this year's responses. In our 2017 State of Growth survey, influencers didn't even register on the radar, and now it's a primary spend category for 9% of survey respondents. 


I brought in Simon Tizminesky, VP Growth @ ipsy, to share his thoughts on what this means for companies looking to continue to grow efficiently.

"ipsy is an ecommerce, so paid has traditionally been a core part of our growth mix. But, as we're hitting some audience saturation in certain pockets on Facebook, we're moving more of those dollars over to Instagram.

Interestingly, we're finding that paid influencer marketing on IG has converted into high quality paying subscribers at a better rate than our previous direct response ads, both on that platform and on Facebook. I'm talking about influencers who have low-millions in followers and have engaged reach with our target demo."


Past Issues


Thoughts on Growth — Feb 23, 2018

  • The data behind discounting
  • How to monetize in the direction of value
  • How Duolingo aligns its growth vectors (incl. monetization) to hit a $700M valuation
  • Google launches Auto Ads for AdSense — what it means for paid marketers

Thoughts on Growth — Feb 16, 2018

  • AMP for email might change everything
  • How LinkedIn 1000x'ed their user base with a strategy that most companies are ignoring
  • A Quora ads follow-up
  • Exponential growth is a myth?

Thoughts on Growth — Feb 9, 2018

  • Content marketing CAC — no longer cheap, and rising at a rate faster than paid
  • Virality is decaying, too :-/
  • Netflix is moving “personalization-at-scale” up the funnel
  • Quora just launched behavioral targeting for its ads

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Thoughts on Growth is curated each week by Susan Su. Please Tweet for submissions.