Master Lean Marketing: Tips from Conrad Wadowski, Partner at the First Growth Hacking Agency

Posted by Anant January 13, 2023

Conrad is a partner at the world’s first growth hacking agency. In this episode he gives us a clear view of the lean marketing funnel that he uses, and he teaches us the highlights from his course on customer acquisition.


→ What is Growth Hacking Agency

→ When did it begin

→ What is the growth hacking funnel and how does he implement it

→ The clear view of the lean marketing funnel that he uses

→ The highlights from his course on customer acquisition

→ His success with Pro Hack

→ And a whole lot more


Conrad’s LinkedIn Profile

Growhack Website



Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Conrad Budowsky with us. Conrad, thanks for being on the show.

Conrad: Thank you. Bronson.

Bronson: You had your partner on as actually the the second episode. Morton Griffo I remember doing his interview and having no clue what I was doing. So now you’re up in the eighties somewhere, episode 80 something. So hopefully this one will be even better than his.

Conrad: That’s great. That’s great. No, I’m looking forward to it. And yeah, this is great.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Now you are a partner. Like I said, with my time at a grocery. Yeah, you call it the world’s first growth hacking agency. So we have to talk about that. It’s growth hacker TV. You’re on the first Growth Hacking Agency. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about Grow Hack. When did it begin?

Conrad: Sure. So Grow Hack began about a year ago. And you know, in a sense though, I almost think of Grow Hack beginning even earlier than that. I mean, you know, I was doing this growth stuff earlier and didn’t really have like a specific, you know, definition for it. I didn’t really know exactly what I was doing at first is actually, you know, I thought of it as almost being like a generalist, and I’m doing all these different things. Mm hmm. Is it the traditional way you think about, you know, I think careers as you specialize. And so so I ended up sort of doing this consulting work for a couple of different consulting, couple different startups. My time was doing the same thing. And so we said, well, you know, we started talking about it and said, Well, can we just kind of combined forces and why don’t we start doing this together? And so that’s kind of how growth group came together. You know, both of us combining forces, both of us saying that, you know, we’re doing similar stuff, so why not why not share some of it? And, you know, and I think that it’s it’s kind of worked out in some ways. And and I think that, you know, there’s a lot of potential for.

Bronson: No, that’s great. Well, let me ask you this. What would be the main difference between how, let’s say, a traditional marketing agency might approach a startup as opposed to how Grow Back would approach a startup? Because I think that I really delineate what it is you do. That’s true. You can special.

Conrad: Sure. I think agencies focus on so large, you know, full shop, full service agencies of which there’s a lot of the New York focus on creating awareness and on, you know, being able to allocate lots of money.

Bronson: Yeah.

Conrad: I think for a startup it’s kind of, you know, the opposite in both senses. One, you don’t want to generate a lot of awareness. You want to convert, you want to whether whether it’s turning someone into a user or to monetize someone immediately, that’s kind of what you’re focused on. Not that early stage in the final part of the funnel where you’re just getting word out the other side is that you don’t have any money to allocate. So so I think that, you know, what we do is, you know, focused on, you know, how how you can actually how you can within your product convert a user and then and then how do you do that for for a very, very low cost. And potentially, how do you create an engine to kind of do that?

Bronson: Yeah. You know, you mentioned the word funnel already. And, you know, when you say, you know, a traditional marketing agency is going to bring awareness, I think to myself like that’s even like pre funnel, like, oh, you know what that fits in like awareness. What, you know, it’s like I do with funnel so much that when you say it, I try to figure out well that the acquisition is that where we add that it’s like, no, that’s nowhere. That’s just they’ve heard of something sort of familiar with you, you know.

Conrad: That’s exactly it. You’re not, you know, as a startup, you don’t have time to think about awareness. It’s, it’s just you need the conversion. Yeah. And you know, if you’re not doing that, then you kind of have to, to rethink, rethink what you’re doing.

Bronson: Yeah. So let me ask you this. What kind of companies do you work with? Are they just startups or do you work with other brands that maybe they’re not startups, but they get it? Like they know that awareness is not always the answer. I’m just interested personally. And what kind of companies come to you?

Conrad: Sure. You know, it it is a mix. So I think the general focus for like the growth model is, you know, seed and series funded companies. I think that companies that are earlier don’t have the resources or maybe are trying to bring in growth a little bit too early. I think that companies beyond the series stage are looking to hire somebody full time. And so, you know, so the way that our model works is that I’m able to work with multiple companies, sort of a portfolio of companies in a sense. And, you know, the best way to do that is to, you know, is to focus on that particular stage. There are larger companies that are interested in in all of these different tactics and different ways of thinking about growth. Um, so. So we’ve been talking to a lot of big companies about it, working with them and figuring out ways they can they can better use some of these tactics and and in best practices for for user growth. Yeah. So, you know, I don’t want to go to these so I don’t wanna go too into the bigger company side. But, but I think that there’s a lot of interest and it’s still a little bit early stage and in figuring out what are the ways they can use it. One maybe kind of quick point to put in is that I think what, you know, growth I think comes down to like a process. So, you know, the first step of the process is generating an hypothesis. And then the second step is, is testing out that hypothesis. Mm hmm. So I think a big company oftentimes is looking for help on that first step, how to generate, you know, the best types of hypotheses. Mm hmm. And so I think that they’re very interested in that. I think that they’re curious about how you can use some of these startups to do it.

Bronson: Yeah. Yeah. I think I think growth hacking in general, it’s going to become more and more mainstream in bigger corporations. But you’re right, I don’t think it’s there yet. I think startups are still trying to figure it out and they’re still trying to get their head around it. But I mean, fast forward five years and I wouldn’t doubt that, you know, Proctor and Gamble is going to have a growth hacking team really worried about more than awareness and commercials and worried about actually driving people through the funnel online and maybe even other ways as well. So I don’t get there. I agree, but it’s not there. Yeah, that’s for sure.

Conrad: That’s that’s a great point, too. You know, some of the so we do some some workshops out here in New York. And one of the things that we do is we take some of these large companies and we just take their landing page, their their home. We just kind of rip it apart. Um, you know, if you show up to any of these home pages, to anybody that’s on a growth team somewhere, they’re just going to, you know, think they’re just going to see so many different problems with it. And, you know, they’re not focused. They don’t really have an objective. It’s it’s it’s someone that sort of developed the website but didn’t think about the conversion side of the website.

Bronson: Yeah.

Conrad: It’s the common problem that startups get, which is over building features and just links everywhere. Whereas, you know, potentially and I, you know, I think it’s true that, you know, a larger company could focus know their calls to action a little bit more.

Bronson: Yeah. Well, is it fair to say that maybe they do their websites with the same kind of awareness mentality they do their commercials with, so, you know, their home page. And it’s like, hey, here’s a charity we give to. Hey, here’s a note from our CEO. Hey, here’s four new products that came out last week. And then you look at it and you don’t know what to do with any of it because it’s half corporate, half consumer. It’s a little bit of messaging, a little bit of, you know, legalese. It’s just like, what do I click? I don’t know, pick something. There’s no funnel.

Conrad: And that’s where you lose somebody. You lose somebody in that that those first couple of seconds, you know, you might have someone so motivated, they want to order flowers from one 800 flowers, you know, through the website. But many times someone’s going to land on the website and they’re going to be like, Oh, there’s all this stuff here. You know what? I’ll just do this later. And then what happens is that they’re like, All right, well, let me let me just buy two flowers for my girlfriend on the way home from the local bodega, you know, and then you lose a sale. So. So, yeah, I think that’s an interesting point to think about. You know, are these big companies at some point going to have growth names?

Bronson: Yeah, you know, it seems like like a growth hacker is all about focus where, you know, marketing is all about almost a broad lack of focus by definition, not that it’s good or bad, it’s just very different because, you know, you think about the home page, we’re talking about growth. Hackers focus the home page. You think about marketing in general growth. Hackers focus on conversions, not awareness and brand building and reputation and things like that. So almost at every stage, take a marketer, chop it down and focus it. And you left with a growth hacker in some senses.

Conrad: Yeah. You know, I mean, I think that, you know, these larger companies maybe are incorrectly thinking about, you know, their website. You know, I think awareness is great. I think that they can create awareness, for example, allocating funds into a large budget and doing ads. That’s fine. But once somebody gets to the page, you know, what can you do to convert them? The principles are pretty similar. Know what can you do to get somebody to take action? And, you know, otherwise you’ll have a startup that’s, you know, a one 800 flowers knock off that’s going to be getting those conversions without even creating awareness. Yeah. So, so I think that that’s a way to think about it. Yeah.

Bronson: Well, no, I think that’s one of the reasons why this whole kind of mentality has, you know, risen to prominence in some circles is because it allows you to compete just because you’re actually converting people when they hit your site. You don’t have near the traffic, but you’re converting, you know, such a higher. The rate that you’re able to compete in a way that’s kind of absurd.

Conrad: It’s exactly it’s exactly that. If you can you know, your conversion rate is probably like if you’re a flower startup and you know, you’re converting really well. So let’s say getting someone through the funnel like a 10% or something, that’s probably ten times what it’s doing right now.

Bronson: That’s a great way to think about the two kind of worlds. And so let’s talk about some of the successes that you’ve had with the Pro Hack. You know, you’ve got a number of different clients. I don’t know if you can give their names or not. You may not be able to, but tell us some of the successes you’ve had with clients, and even more so maybe what you did or some of the big pieces that were all that you really put in place that helped them.

Conrad: Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, so for some clients, you know, in India is there. And so some of the conversations, you know, I would love to have, but I can’t. But one example is, you know, and I’m just going to kind of not talk about the name is, you know, one company that was trying to improve conversions from their home page to signing up to having an actual sign up user. Mm hmm. And what? And, you know, the consulting process is always interesting because I think there’s also a healthy skepticism from anybody for someone to come in and to start to make these sort of potentially big changes to their through site. They’ve thought about their site. They believe they’re experts in their customer and in the way that they can convert the customer. So even if they’re looking for help, they’re still a little bit hesitant. So with this particular client, you know, and then maybe just as a general point advice, if this, you know, someone is doing consulting, start with a small project and and then show really, really good results. So in this case, the first project that we did for them was, you know, using Optimize. So taking a snippet of JavaScript code, putting it into their their homepage and simplifying their sign up process, making sure that it’s very easy to once you’re at the homepage to sign up for the site had, you know I don’t know 14 different fields to fill out 14 different field and then and then like that’s not even counting like the checkboxes. Like there’s like the whole checkboxes and then, you know, the button to go to the next step is like tiny and it’s the same color as like the rest of the page looks nice maybe, but the user doesn’t really know what to do. That’s a lot of friction that you just. You’re asking for somebody. Mm hmm. And some for that. They had all this text explaining, talking about how great their product is. And, you know, someone, the way that we process the Web is we’re just you know, if you’ve ever seen somebody or just observed somebody on the Web, they’re kind of like this in this A.D.D. state, they’re they’re like clicking click, click, click. And, you know, that’s you need to get very quickly to the point. And there’s a lot of competing interests. There’s a lot of links to get someone out. So so one, reduce the reducing the amount of text, simply reducing the number of fields, improve their conversion about four or 500%. You know, it’s this all all very kind of quick changes that I that I could’ve done all ABX tested and you know in something that builds a lot of trust with the clients at this point. You know, we’ve done a series of other tests completely redid the home page, did the entire flow. Now they’re converting the homepage to new user is at about over over 1500 percent compared to their it was it was a low rate to begin with. But you know, one.

Bronson: Increase, though, that’s great.

Conrad: Still it’s still a big increase.

Bronson: Yeah. I think one of the things you said, which may be the takeaway of this episode already, is when people are on the Internet, they have A.D.D., they are riddled with A.D.D. and if you just keep that in mind with every stage of the funnel, every bit of copywriting, every video you put in front of them, like if you just keep that in mind with everything, then you know it’s going to make every conversion rate go up. I mean, I don’t I don’t see how it couldn’t.

Conrad: That’s that’s that’s exactly it. You know, understand, you’re your user, right? You know, in person, you know, the pitch that you’re making to someone is going to be very different potentially. You might use similar words, but the way that it’s set up is going to be different. So that’s that’s a very good point.

Bronson: Yeah. Now you have an upcoming workshop where you’re actually going to be teaching about user acquisition and growth hacking for startups. And I saw this online. I thought, all right. Conrad has to walk us through this because it’s gonna be perfect. And that’s why I’m not going too much into what you’ve done for your clients, because my guess is you’re teaching it through this course, and we’ll talk about a little bit now, but you have like four or five steps here of how the main sections are going to be teaching. And it starts with implementing the growth hacking funnel. Talk to us about that. What is the growth hacking funnel and how do you implement it?

Conrad: Yeah, so. As far as the naming, we kind of change the naming from the growth hacking funnel to the lean marketing funnel. And the idea with that is, I think that a lot of people don’t have a lot of startups don’t have a framework of thinking about, you know, what’s the priority for them. You know, marketing is often, you know, someone running around with their head cut off and they’re not sure, you know, there’s so many things you could be doing. And how do you prioritize that? So the Lean Marketing Funnel is, is it’s basically taken a lot from our metrics from Deep.

Bronson: McClure as we all do.

Conrad: And acquisition, activation, retention, referral revenue. And, you know, thinking about taking that framework, putting into the, you know, the image of a funnel. And then having a startup think through their business or their business idea through that perspective. Mm hmm. I think it’s also, at the end of the day, a good communication tool, too. I think there’s kind of best practices, almost just, you know, using the broader concepts of the funnel that a lot of startups make. And so it’s easier to communicate those different, different points if if you have that funnel in place.

Bronson: Yeah. And you know, you mentioned work framework and frameworks can just unlock so much potential because the things you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off doing, they might actually have a place in the funnel and they’ll be a lot more effective if you know where they’re in the funnel and why you’re doing them. And the funnel helps you prioritize. You know, you’re doing the wrong thing because you don’t see the funnel in your mind as you go about your job, as you go about your task. So there’s something about or the funnel, the lean marketing funnel you’re talking about that just it makes sense of a very, very complicated world of marketing for startups.

Conrad: Exactly. You know, ideally you’d have the resources to have one person at each part of the funnel. You know, if you look at, you know, growth teams that a lot of companies right now don’t have somebody focused on acquisition, somebody on retention, somebody on activation, somebody on referral, maybe multiple people on different parts of referral. And so, you know, when you’re a startup, you’re limited on those resources. So you find the place in the funnel that you can make the most impact and then focus just all of your effort on that and then move on to the next step.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. And the next thing you have on the is kind of section here is to build viral feedback loops. Now, viral is the word we all kind of go to when we think about growth hacking, but what do you mean, build viral feedback loops?

Conrad: You know, so, you know, as just a general point, I think that know virality is something that a lot of startups or people getting into startups think about when they probably shouldn’t. One of the first things that that I do with somebody or I think a startup should just do is focus on those other parts of the funnel beyond virality first. You know, virality at the end of the day is a form of acquisition. You’re getting your users to bring in other users into the top of the funnel. So if you have a weak funnel, virality doesn’t it is not going to have the same effect. You might as well just it becomes pretty difficult. I think that, you know, so that’s the first point just to get that out of the way. You know, there is things that you can do with virality. You know, I think one of the points to start with is maybe thinking about the selfish reasons that someone can bite somebody else into a system.

Bronson: Okay.

Conrad: So I think a lot of people will, for example, think that if someone lands on your your homepage. They’re going to want to share it. I think I think it happens.

Bronson: In this case scenario.

Conrad: Scenario. But, you know, it’s it’s you know, you tend to share because you want to brag about something. Mm hmm. You know, and so. So thinking about those motivations and motivations that I think are the most significant are ones that you don’t think about too much with the Web. So one of them is is sex. So I think, you know, not overtly, but I think sex is a big motivator for just people in general. Status recognition, stuff, money, influence. I think those motivations can be built into a system and they could be built in a way to. To get you to spread the word about something. Hmm. So the one side of it is, you know, can you do something to motivate somebody to to share something with somebody else? And then the other side is make it really easy to do that. So, you know, some of the like the, you know, the free sort of viral channels that we kind of talk about are API’s kind of integrating an API into your product, you know, phone contact, address books, something a lot of startups or mobile startups are looking into right now, importing web mail, email addresses, something that LinkedIn did. Pretty well before. Every user doesn’t have to invite a whole bunch of people. It could just be 2% of users, but those 2% will invite a ton of other people in.

Bronson: Yeah.

Conrad: Another thing that’s kind of, you know, not appreciating too much is is just contact files from customers. So just thinking about, you know, how, you know, the users that you have with your particular products can invite anybody else into the system. Mm hmm. You know, the ones I just mentioned are pretty common, but maybe there’s some other ones that just your product itself is is going to be good for. You know, I think of kind of like like, for example, a B2B startup like Yammer. You know, when you’re first signing up for Yammer, you sign up with your, you know, your business accounts. And and then it’s a lot easier for somebody to figure out how to invite other people in the startup to figure out how do you invite other people to the system, you know, whether it’s maybe even reaching out to somebody or it’s or maybe it’s requesting that information from a particular company in a certain way.

Bronson: Yeah. No, that’s great. And then we’ll go back to something you said, you know, at the very beginning when we start talking about virality. You said virality is just a form of customer acquisition. Yeah, I want to say that again, because virality gets so much hype and so much attention and it becomes the heart, the engine. You know, it dominates our focus when really it’s just a channel of customer acquisition. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s nothing special or magical that it has the ability to be free sometimes and very impactful when done right and right context. Yeah, it is just customer acquisition, so it’s still about putting people in the top of the funnel and making sure the rest of the funnel works of morality is just going to leak out the bottom like everything else.

Conrad: Yes, exactly. And reality becomes just another funnel for you to focus on. Yeah. And, you know, it’s just a question of priority, a mixing of priorities, you know, kind of back again to that. You know, it’s probably better to focus on the other parts of your product that are not acquisition based. So the non referral base and the non acquisition base first. Yeah, get down and then start to think about all right what are some ideas that I that what are some channels, what are some motivations that I can take advantage of that to do this rally.

Bronson: When do you know you’re ready to focus on acquisition? Because it’s a hard question I have to kind of deal with on my own is okay, is my funnel solid enough? Yeah. Like, how do I know? When do I go back to the top and really dove into it? What are some little themes that you guys use there?

Conrad: Yeah, I think one that I really like is and I think this applies it’s tough because you can’t really say there’s one metric out there that applies to every startup. Sure. But if I were to pick one, it would be day one retention. I think if you can if you have a solid one, you know that there’s something interesting in your product. So as as an example of what is a good day one retention.

Bronson: So something so defined day one retention force as well, just so we’re clear.

Conrad: Sure. Sure. So so day one retention depending on. So if it’s a mobile app, day one retention is somebody downloading your app the next day, coming back to the application and opening it with a web app. It’s it’s not someone coming to the site and coming back the next day. It’s someone signing up for your site. Experience the core of core value of your product and then coming back the next day.

Bronson: Okay. Which might take how many weeks to get to that point. But then they come back the next day once they have the Aha moment.

Conrad: Exactly. And the idea is that the Aha moment is good enough to have brought them back the next day.

Bronson: Don’t have that. You’re not worried about it because they haven’t really experienced it yet anyway.

Conrad: Exactly. You know, at that point you will just be maybe you’re your content product. You know, if you’re if you’re just your media company, that’s fine. That’s great. But if you’re a startup, you know, it’s it’s a little bit different. Yeah, yeah.

Bronson: No. Okay, that’s great. Yeah. So once you kind of have the day one retention up, then that’s when you focus on it. Are there any, you know, numbers in your mind of like what percentage should the D1 be?

Conrad: Yeah, totally. So I think if you’re at about a a 12 to 15%, you’re okay. You’re not doing too well. You’re there’s you know, you should consider potentially dropping what you’re doing.

Bronson: And this is when you are considering giving up.

Conrad: What you want to do. So if you’re below 12%, definitely change your if you’re like 12 to 15, you know, start to consider like what are the big changes you can do if you’re at about 20%, you’re at a decent D1 retention. There’s something that you’re doing well, but, you know, want to optimize that. I think I think 20% is where you get to the point where you’ve got some product value. Once you’re like 25%, 30%, you’re onto something. If you get to, let’s say 50, 60% plus, then you’re you’re doing a really good job. So. It’s a you know, it’s a little bit, you know, a sensitive question because, you know, there’s one side of it which is determining if, you know, a certain number of people are coming back to the site through metrics and understanding it through metrics. But the other side of it is also the qualitative side. So what are people saying about the product and the experience? You know, I think that, you know, if if the products didn’t exist, would you be very disappointed asking that type of a question? We’ll just give you a lot of information. Whether you’re at that stage where you can kind of go to these other things in other parts of the funnel and start to prioritize those.

Bronson: Yeah. Now that helps a lot, you know, seeing it as kind of like 12% up to 50, 60% because essentially if if only 12% of people want to have the experience, that’s supposed to be the magical experience the day after they experienced it, something’s wrong because it just means it wasn’t that magical. They just didn’t care that much. But once we get up to 20, 25, 30%, a third of the people that experienced it want to re-experience it. Which means now you have something that you can build a product on that’s meaningful, and now it’s worth going and looking at viral loops and customer acquisition and all that, because a third of the people or a fourth of the people want to experience it again. So now you’re not wasting your energy pouring water to the top of the top of the funnel.

Conrad: Exactly. Because you know, your funnels and it’s not, you know, it’s better to focus on these other areas. Yeah.

Bronson: And now one of the other sections you talk about in this class is to plan and execute rigorous AB test. I know earlier you mentioned using optimize with one of your clients and you simplified the kind of the registration flow and it went up by many hundreds of percent, that kind of thing. Is there anything more to it than that that you teach or is it just simply do ab test.

Conrad: Your I think just do the A-B test. I think it’s as simple as that. You don’t need multivariate you need something even more sophisticated than that. Get get, you know, a hundred people on the E in the B test or maybe even get 30 people on the B test. I think it’s you know, your confidence interval is not going to be perfect, but I think you’re going to get some good information. So yeah, I think optimizing is a great way to start that. You can also do you know, you can also build a system to do some of the AB testing as well. Mm hmm. So a lot of startups do that as well. So if you’re doing like, you know, feature AB testing, you can do that in general in the earlier stages of a company. You AB testing is a little it’s a little difficult. So you want to get a lot of qualitative feedback on your approach first and then start to get into the quantitative side.

Bronson: Just because you don’t have all the quantitative yet.

Conrad: Yeah, exactly.

Bronson: The numbers aren’t there to really learn from because, you know, early on in a startup, you know, if you have one traffic source that’s a big traffic source, they could dominate the entire analytics platform for a while when really it’s just a reflection of somebody else’s users, not your own.

Conrad: Exactly. Yeah.

Bronson: So you got to go off the qualitative a little more. So after the AB test, you also talk about identifying your most valuable marketing channels, what you mean by that.

Conrad: So it comes down to, you know, figuring out, you know, for your particular where where do you customers they are. And, you know, there’s a lot of common places for entrepreneurs. For example, one place is Quora, you know, just finding people in general, Craigslist, a lot of people use Craigslist. And, you know, it’s thinking about taking all of the ideas or even the ideas that are kind of crappy, just put all down into a list. Once you have them down on a list, think about each of those channels in terms of the cost and the conversion later on. You’re also when you’re thinking about sort of like the growth engine for the business, you’re going to think a lot about volume at first. You just want a little some users to be coming in so that you can kind of better optimize your product. So thinking about, you know, all those channels in terms of, you know, how well do they convert with your particular products? Can you get some initial users from them? There’s a lot of creative ways to do it. You know, for for Quora, you know, sometimes it’s pretty, pretty obvious, you know, what you should do. But it’s about first prioritizing them, just logically saying, hey, I think that, you know, this channel is probably going to convert a lot better than this one. Then it’s testing each of those different channels and saying, okay, well, you know, I’m not sure if CORE is converting better than Craigslist. Let’s let’s try these things out and let’s see let’s see how many people are actually coming through the funnel and and, you know, being monetized or becoming engage users.

Bronson: Yeah. Now makes sense because you really just want to double down on what’s working in the day. And you mentioned there, you know, at first it’s not about the volume, but eventually it will be. But again, it goes back to what’s there. Do you want our attention? And now let’s focus on volume. But one thing to maybe keep in mind at this point is not to worry about a channel too much if it can never bring you the volume you want, because some channels just have a limit on what you can do with them. So it doesn’t matter if you. Optimize them and make them awesome. They still only bring in five new users a day. It doesn’t really matter.

Conrad: Yeah. And a point maybe to put in there. Is that how you almost want to make investments a little bit in channels potentially. So let’s say there is you know, let’s say you’re looking at Facebook early days. Facebook in the early days had had a lot of you had a lot of users, but maybe there was other places you could find users. But it was growing very quickly. Mm hmm. And you you make the investment in a particular channel and you say, look, I think that, you know, I’m going to take a bet that this channel is going to get even bigger or so. And at the same time, those channels that are growing very quickly oftentimes have opportunities that a lot of people haven’t seen yet. And so they haven’t been. So as an example, Zynga early days going back to Facebook, Zynga early days with with Facebook. Zynga took advantage of Facebook at, you know, when it wasn’t saturated with a lot of people competing and racking up the price of what it takes to do advertising. And so you can you know, you can take advantage of one of these kind of fast growing, you know, distribution channels in the Web. And and potentially that can be your engine for growth. So you can be kind of creative about, you know, what what is the channel exactly? You know, like, you know, could be a channel. You know, it’d be company. And you’re trying to get clients maybe maybe put on an event for a client. And, you know, if you have if you can bring a whole bunch of customers in your room and, you know, close one of them, that’s that’s a pretty good advance.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we actually use Meetup as one of our customer acquisition channels for growth actor TV. I go and find people that have technology centric meetups and I develop some kind of low level partnership. And I say, Look, I want to give everyone your group a free month. Here’s the promo code, and now I got somebody marketing to a couple of people for me on my behalf. I mean, it’s, it’s one of the things and I can do it repeatedly over and over. And there’s a whole lot of meetups around the world, and that’s just one little channel that a lot of people ignore.

Conrad: Yeah, exactly. And and, you know, and when somebody is ignoring it, that’s when there’s the opportunity. So, you know, I don’t know if in a couple of years from now it’s going to be the same way. Maybe it’s going to change a little bit.

Bronson: So yeah, I probably will, but I’ll be on to the next thing.

Conrad: Yeah, exactly. Or maybe Meetup might have changed the way that their channel is like set up like Facebook at first, you know, Facebook’s constantly making these changes. And so if you can sort of see the change happen and then take advantage of the change, and then, you know, there’s a little bit of a dance a little bit sometimes with some of that.

Bronson: Well, I have to do that dance with Meetup. I mean, that’s not like a big channel for us, but, you know, it’s a small one, but it’s still one of them. But with them, I can only message a couple times a day to the event organizers. And so what I do is I Google their name, get their email address outside of the meetup ecosystem. So then it’s on my terms in Gmail, not on their terms in an internal dialog messaging system. So then I can create these partnerships en masse anytime I want without being restricted by their API calls. So it’s just little things like that, you know, you have to dance around.

Conrad: Exactly. Exactly.

Bronson: Yeah. And then the last thing that you say is to optimize conversion at each step along the way. Again, this one’s, you know, probably pretty, you know, obvious and basic. But what? Yeah. What is it you teach there?

Conrad: Yeah. So it’s the the main premise behind that is focus. And so it’s, you know, if you’re and I think what we do in the workshop is actually focusing more on the home page because that’s where, you know, that’s the first place it’s someone lands. And so we’ll talk about, you know, what are the sort of the best practices to convert somebody from the home page to activation. So getting their email address or or just get into the next step in the final. And so in that sense, you’re just, you know, what’s the thing that you can focus on at a particular part of the funnel? Have you have you also have you identified each part of the funnel? Do you know, like what’s what’s the step by step process in your product? What’s the end goal? And typically there will be like one part of that funnel that’s going to be it’s going to be the bottleneck and you’re putting your effort there. And then that bottleneck is typically the homepage from us. For most startups, you.

Bronson: Know, they just don’t even get started on the right foot.

Conrad: Yeah, it’s just, you know, it’s. It’s pretty. Yeah, it’s pretty. It’s very common.

Bronson: Now. Well, thank you for walking us through. Have all those things that you given that presentation. That’s great. Now, speaking of meet ups, you’re actually the organizer of the Enterprise Tech meet up up in New York. So who is this meet up for and why did you start and tell us a little bit about it?

Conrad: Yeah, so I started it when I first came out to New York and, you know, I was I was very interested in the you know, if you go to San Francisco right now, I think there’s a lot of big companies with their core competency is of technology in New York. It’s different. In New York, you don’t have these really large companies that have technology as their core competency. And so in that case, they’re more open to talking and having conversations with startups. I think that’s, you know, in some ways that. Most companies are an enterprise startup, even as a company that’s monetizing with ads. You’re pitching sponsorships to a brand, you know. And so the traditional idea of, you know, this is a consumer company and this is, you know, an enterprise B2B company. I think they kind of, you know, come together in some ways. And so, you know, so the meetup is for is for entrepreneurs of all types, whether it’s somebody that’s in the consumer side that wants to learn a little bit more about how big businesses think, or it’s also for investors, it’s for people from these larger corporations. So we’ve had, you know, a lot of big companies come in to present and talk about, you know, what their interests are and, you know, and making those connections happen between the two. So, you know, I think the best way for it to happen is in person. But, you know, it’s a way to to bring in the startups as opposed to just a general statement, startups having to have a of a problem. And they’re, you know, they’re trying to find and reach these decision makers at the companies. Executives at the same time are pressed for time. And they you know, it’s difficult for them to vet startups. So, you know, the idea behind the meetup is and, you know, one of the products that I worked on, I wanted to position the product in a way, and this is kind of how I got into it. And I started sort of it was a B to C product. One of the highest grossing finance apps in time was called SC filings. And we, you know, said, hey, listen, maybe there’s some opportunity to bring this B to B. And so I spent three months just reaching out to these guys, was able to get a lot of senior level meetings, probably about a dozen executives like CTO level type meetings. You know, all of these guys were interested in the product, but their their timeline was just very different than our timeline. Mm hmm.

Bronson: So so timeline is now there’s this next six months.

Conrad: You know, hey, let’s let’s let’s let’s do something, you know, next week. Hey, let’s, let’s meet up again. But, you know, in this case, actually, most of them were like, hey, this is this is great. Let let me help you out. Like next year, I have this thing that I really want to invite you to and I love it. And this is going to be perfect and you’re going to do all this and. All right, well, next year.

Bronson: You know, let’s do that. Right next year. I’ll be on to my fourth product from now.

Conrad: Exactly. And you know, and so there’s that inefficiency there that, you know, you know, it was I had to learn how to how to reach out to these companies. I had to hustle, you know, if I was able to, you know, talk to some of these companies a little bit earlier, I would have been more efficient about understanding what their needs were and if those were immediate needs they were trying to to handle or if this was just something on their their roadmap, you know, starting next year. So, you know, I think that that’s so that’s the idea behind the meet ups there. And, you know, and it’s it’s going pretty well.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Now, as you think about kind of the funnel that you’ve laid out for us, online marketing funnel and the things you apply and the things you teach, how do enterprise companies apply that those techniques as opposed to, you know, consumer facing companies? Is there a difference in the way they approach the growth kind of problem or is it really the same thing, just different words?

Conrad: You know, so I tend to think about, you know, growth is almost like sales on a massive scale. So, you know, the sale the sale amounts are just smaller. And, you know, the the decision is easier to make. Like, you know, me getting my email address, you know, it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s it’s still a sale. And I.

Bronson: Gotcha.

Conrad: You know, and so to a to a larger company, I’m doing that in person. And the sale is a little bit more difficult. And, you know, if I were to maybe define what even like an enterprise sale is or what even an enterprise company is, I’d say it’s something where you have where there’s even more complexity, where you have you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders. So on the web, you have one person clicking from one step to the next where you also usually have you know, usually the user knows what the problem is with an enterprise company, the sale you have to pitch multiple people, get them all on board with it, deal with all of their different motivations that they have. You know, all the ones that kind of talked about with virality therapy, similar status recognition, sex, all those sort of things, you know, maybe not as much that, but, you know, whatever. And so it’s it’s just a matter of how do you deal with with these problems in person and then how do you deal with these problems on the web? So, you know, so the way that I think about, you know, consumer, for example, is that it’s you’re making that immediate sale to one. One particular person. And with an enterprise, you’re making it to multiple stakeholders. So in that case, kind of thinking about what are the things that you can use to persuade a group of people as opposed to a single person? Yeah. And so in that case, that becomes a lot of times inbound marketing, which is something that you you see to inbound marketing, you know, producing content, content and getting people to sign up for our newsletter to get more content is an example of of inbound because it’s you’re not going out your approach, somebody’s third coming but coming to you. That’s a pretty good growth tactic that I think if you execute it well, can work very can work in an interesting way, particularly if you think about the enterprise company just having a much smaller market, you know, like there’s tons of people that could use Facebook. Not so many people that are curious about box in an enterprise sense. Yeah. Or, you know, using it in or using Yammer. So, you know, this is the way to think about it is the sale process is just different. Tactics are different, but the leading marketing funnel is the same. It’s just a matter of how, you know, what, what part of the funnel you’re focusing on. And, and, you know, as a B2B company and or a B2C company, how can you use the best practices for both sequel to, you know, to make the types of sales you’re looking to do?

Bronson: Now, you bring up a lot of good points about kind of differences in the enterprise and the consumer that at the heart they have the same motivations are being move through the same funnel. But there are differences. The market sizes are different, decision making is different, multiple minds instead of one mind. There are nuances that if you don’t really, you know, wrestle with, you’re not going to be able to convert through that funnel very well. But it’s still the same funnel we’re talking about.

Conrad: It’s still the same policy of the day, you know, and, you know, I think in the future there’s going to be more. I think, you know, you can you’re starting to just take some of these like B2C tactics and starting to use them in the B2B world. And so, like one example of that is, you know, the Yammer or the Salesforce APIs. So as a as a company, as a startup that’s trying to sell to a lot of different businesses, you can start to think about these APIs and think about these consumer bases that some of these, you know, already somewhat established B2B companies have and then using that as a way to get customers. And so those those type of opportunities are going to keep keep increasing. And, you know, if you’re if you’re one of the first type of startups, that is, let’s say, the expense application you yammer, then the customers that Yammer currently has are going to look at that and say, oh, this is the expense application. So maybe this is this is the one I’m going to use, whereas maybe in a couple of years from now, there’s going to be like ten of them.

Bronson: And so what you’re saying is normally when we think about API integrations, we think about consumer. So I have a consumer product like a Zynga game and I’m going to use a Facebook API to blast it out to as many people as possible. But now you can actually do that with B2B because now Yammer has an API that no one’s using. And if you want to latch onto that, you can be the first whatever in that platform, in that ecosystem. That’s a great point.

Conrad: It’s just, you know, it’s you know, it’s the idea of that, you know, what’s that new channel that’s out there? Mm hmm. And so the one that I’m seeing right now is those B2B APIs. And I think there’s going to be some people that take ADVANCED+.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Now, you know, through your consulting and through or meetups, you’re kind of surrounded by startups. I mean, my guess is every day, every week, there’s the new startups. You’re hearing all the cool things that people are doing with. They’re not doing all that stuff. In kind of your assessment, what are the growing startups have in common? Do you see any pattern matching there? Do you see any trends there? Is there anything we can be like? All right, growing startups usually do X, Y and Z.

Conrad: Yeah, yeah. And that’s that’s partly a big part of my motivation for wanting to to work with earlier stage companies. You know, it’s there’s different points of risk in a company that’s that’s new. So like the first stage is, you know, are you creating product value? And the second stage is then how do you how do you go to market? And so the thing that’s kind of in common with the enterprise and growth hacking is that step and figuring out how do you how do you distribute? So I think the startups that have figured things out and figured out both of those two questions, which is one, you know, do I have core product value? And to have I figured out a way to distribute that. And so I think those are the ones that are more successful. You know, at the end of the day, though, everyone has to have that core product value. Mm hmm. And, you know, if you don’t have that, you know, figure that out first. Yeah. Or you’re going to waste a lot of resources figuring out distribution when it’s a little bit too early for that.

Bronson: Yeah, I think what you do. Pause for a minute and think about what you just said. Right. Because the two things you just brought up, I don’t know if you can get more fundamental. Right. Value distribution. Like, that’s it. Like every funnel, every tactic that everything you’ve ever heard about any kind of marketing comes down to those two things. Value and distributing that value. And if you don’t do either of those, you completely lose a half percent. Like it isn’t you do one or the other. Everything is about getting both of those right and nothing else matters. I mean, is is it that fundamental in your mind?

Conrad: That’s exactly how I think about it. You know, if you can, you know, from from just an abstract level, you know, if you can figure out those two. Yeah. If you can figure out the answers to those questions. I think you’re you’re going to be the successful startup and, you know, all the other things at the same time. Like, you know, there’s a lot of other things you can focus on. But if you can do those two things well, I think the other things are going to fall into place. Yeah.

Bronson: So that’s another good point, is that if you have value, you can mess up in a lot of other ways. Yes, that’s the thing. You know, here’s what I here’s the analogy that comes online. It’s a really dumb, corny, cheesy analogy. But if I had the winning lotto numbers and I emailed them to your house, but the only caveat is there’s dog poop smeared all over them and you can still read them. Would you want them? Yes, right. You would. Even though they smell they’re horrible like you. Like you would still want them, though, because the core value is there and they’re being distributed to you. Right.

Conrad: I like that example.

Bronson: It’s a horrible analogy, but in my mind, if you have the core value in the product, you can give it to somebody. It doesn’t matter how disgusting the ridiculous everything else you do is.

Conrad: Yeah, exactly. You know, and the idea is, is how can you figure those things out at the lowest cost possible? Mm hmm. You know, at the end of the day, you could. You can make the promise first. You can say, this is what I want to do, and this is the value you’re going to get. You could create an ad for it and you can see if people are actually interested. And then you could spend more money on building out the product and optimizing the product and the flows and the product and then and then, you know, then actually build out a path. You know, that all applies in the same way in enterprise. That applies also to the consumer.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. So given that you have seen a lot of startups, what’s maybe the single best growth hack you’ve seen? Now, obviously, the world doesn’t revolve around the one tactic that worked. We know that it’s all about the whole funnel, it’s about the conversion, it’s about the ratios, it’s about everything we talked about. But we got to still ask the fun question What’s the single best growth that you’ve seen?

Conrad: You know, if we’re going to you know, if we’re going to take the definition that growth hacking and sort of the the best practices, tactics and best practices for user growth. And we kind of say that, you know, you can expand this to enterprise and you can expand this to other types of companies. I think Meetup is an incredible growth hack.

Bronson: How so? Talk to us about that.

Conrad: So so imagine, you know, you’re you’re you’re trying to go after a senior executive at a big company. How do you get that senior executives attention? It’s difficult. They’re pressed for time. There’s a lot of other things they could be doing. They really don’t want to work with you. You’re not different than anybody else. But if you invite them to speak at something.

Bronson: That’s great. They’ll like it already.

Conrad: You appeal to so many people’s motivations that maybe you’re besides the the job itself. You appeal maybe tangentially to the job. And so and in terms of the amount of benefit you can get from, you know, from bringing in a new big client from a big company, it’s pretty significant. So I think, you know, one is is, you know, events just doesn’t really meet up. Could just it could be a conference put on a conference or something, get everyone in the same place and and then and then start to think about how you can make a sale.

Bronson: Yeah. Now, that’s a really great insight there. And it makes me it reminds me of what we’re doing with growth hacking TV. I mean, if you look at our, you know, list of guest, why would they come on here? Well, I’m appealing to their motivations at a very base level, like, look, don’t you want to educate? You’re so smart. Don’t you want to come on and be the star of the show? Don’t you want to have the world revolve around you for an hour and let people immortalize you forever when it comes to growth? And they go, Yeah, I do want that. And they come on and then there’s a relationship there that I can build upon. But it started with really appealing to their motivations, the way the media packed us.

Conrad: Yeah. And you’re appealing to its motivations that are similar to the motivations that you get on the Web. You know, it’s status recognition motivation. You know, it’s it’s it’s the, you know, the money stuff. Motivation. Mm hmm. And so all of that comes into play. And, you know, whether it’s you’re making a pitch to somebody, you know, in person or it’s or if it’s on the line.

Bronson: So, you know, it reminds me of a quote that I heard about raising venture capital. And it said, if you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money. Yeah, because that’s what’s going to happen, right? If you ask for advice, your appeal, it is something so deep within them, they’re probably going to want to fund you eventually if your idea is not horrible. If you’re really just genuinely asking for insight. But if you just go and ask for money, those give you a bunch of free advice because they don’t want to invest.

Conrad: You know, if you ask for advice, also someone’s telling you what their needs are, you know? And so once once you know what someone’s needs are, it’s a lot easier to to satisfy them.

Bronson: Yeah, I’m starting to learn that you’re about half a psychologist, aren’t you?

Conrad: I think I think all of this growth stuff is it’s just it’s sales on a massive scale, you know, elements. Understanding the motivations behind people. And then and then it’s about being really efficient, about delivering the value to to somebody.

Bronson: Absolutely. Well, it’s been awesome. Conrad, one last question for you. What’s the best advice you have for any startup that’s trying to grow?

Conrad: So if I were to let’s see one piece of advice, I would give one piece of advice.

Bronson: I would all love.

Conrad: Let’s let me think about this here. You know, there’s a couple of different ways to think about it. Mm hmm. But if I were to take one thing, and this is going to sound maybe pretty corny, but it’s going to be think a lot about your process. Think a lot about prioritization. Mm hmm. And, you know, I think that a lot of startups are trying you know, I think there’s two sides to it. One is, you know, implementing the tactics, very important. You have to generate good ideas. And you have many of those ideas to come from somewhere. Mm hmm. But the other side of it is, how quickly can you test those ideas out? I see a lot of startups make that that problem where they’re just not testing the ideas out fast enough. Mm hmm. And they come asking for help, whereas they could have found a lot of what they’re looking to do if they had just been able to create that process. You know, so somebody that’s that’s already created a successful startup, they’ve they’ve experienced that process and they can replicate it somewhere else. And that’s why they tend to be maybe a good investment, because they’re like, well, you know, if they experience the process, it might be a different domain that you’re investing in in that particular entrepreneurial set if you’re like A, B, C or something. As a as a startup marketer, I’m investing in people too in a in a in a similar way. And, you know, so how do you do have that process and and how quick are you?

Bronson: Yeah, no time seems like something you come back to, you know. Is that the framework, the process, the conceptual, philosophical understanding of what it is we’re about and how we’re going to do it and how we’re going to do it quickly. And then all the tactics and initiatives and strategies will fit into that. Once you have this process really down.

Conrad: Exactly. You got it.

Bronson: Now. That’s great. Well, Conrad, again, thank you so much for coming on Growth Hacker TV.

Conrad: Appreciate it. Thank you.

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