Education is a shortcut to a better life.
I've taken 60+ growth marketing courses
The career of a growth marketer starts with Neil Patel and (probably) ends with Reforge. Here's my messy middle with all the courses I chain-smoked over the years.
Neil Patel — My click-baity introduction to digital marketing. I consumed an unhealthy amount of podcasts and articles.
Julian Shapiro — Read his piece about growth marketing during my student exchange at Essec and pulled all-nighters, giddy with excitement, having found my (short-term) calling.
CXL — I took their 3-month-long growth marketing mini degree and it transformed the way I'd do marketing forever.
Took tons of niche courses:
- Copyhackers for Copywriting
- Neurofied for Behavioral Psychology
- Social Savannah for TikTok Ads
- Vexpower for Marketing Mix Modelling
- Chase Dimond's for Email Marketing
- Twitter Flight School for Twitter ads
and maybe a few more that I forget.
To have on-demand access to expert help.
As you can tell, I clearly over-index on education. 😅
Growth marketing as a career
I've been in the industry for about two and half years. And I'm not terribly bad at my job. This is what some smart people have said about me.
"As a Founder/ CEO and a former Head of Growth at a Fortune 500 company, I can say without a doubt that Khushi is one of the most impressive growth marketers that I've had the opportunity to work with."
"You're a rockstar, Khushi! I can't wait to watch your career journey. You're just getting started and I know you're destined for great things🙌" - Katelyn Bourgoin (my mentor)
"5 Emerging Growth Marketers who are killing it at their job" - Aazar Shad, Growth Marketing Leader (and my mentor)
"You have a tremendous successful background already and you are on a trajectory of success and growth than most people aren’t on." - Nick Lafferty | Loom, Head of Growth Marketing (my mentor)
I hope the social proof above helps you trust me because what I'm about to say is a bit polarizing.
What is growth marketing really though?
The more experience I have, the more confused I get about what 'growth marketing' really is. This is what I understand today — it may or may not hold true as I get ahead in my career and learn more.
At small startups with a 1-2 person marketing team, growth marketing pretty much means everything.
You're writing copy, running paid ads, doing SEO work, talking to designers to ship landing pages, improving the funnel to activate users, optimizing prices, making product launches, looking into positioning and maybe a lil' bit into branding work, fixing retention, simplifying onboarding, setting up marketing automations / emails, working with engineering to set up analytics and event tooling, and so much more.
It all sounds fun. It truly is. But you become a generalist. You are mediocre at best at everything. The antidote to that is upskilling and getting mentors.
You're fighting constantly against the clock. You try gobbling up as much content as you can possibly consume via Linkedin, Twitter, Newsletters etc. It can be TMI.
But you can never compete with the specialists.
In many bigger companies, there's no real growth marketing field.
Growth marketing has become just another fancy title for paid media specialists. Paid media specialists are those that run Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Google Search ads, Youtube ads, Display ads, Reddit ads, etc.
SEO is it's own separate position. There are content strategists, technical SEO experts, SEO writers who handle all of it.
Analytics? There are data analysts and even data scientists if you get lucky.
Copywriting? There are product marketers, creatives, and copywriters who do all sorts of work for you. You only need to write briefs, not actual copy.
Go-to-market, product launches and positioning? That's owned by product marketing teams.
Forget the funnel. It's no longer a funnel you get to walk all by yourself. Everything after getting users to the site is owned by product managers and growth product teams. They take care of activation, retention, monetization, referrals and onboarding.
Growth marketing is a very misunderstood title.
Mid-large size companies don't hire for this position quite exactly as small companies.
Getting jobs is also not easy not because there's a lot of competition but because there's just a lot of bad talent, trying to pass off as good talent.
Growth marketing community is also a bit misaligned on what it means. Growth is different than growth marketing. Growth product is different than growth. 😭
So, if you're still interested in growth marketing, and I haven't scared you away...
Here's how you'd get started in the field. 😀
Start with some foundations
Then get a broad experience, trying a little bit of everything. Work at a startup or an agency.
Find what you love, and become a specialist.
I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur, which is why I enjoyed having a broad skillset and working at innovative companies where I can have a lot of impact.
But if entrepreneurship isn't what you want to do, work towards becoming a specialist OR figuring out how to climb the ladders. Problem with climbing ladders is that growth marketing as a function isn't being hired for at companies large enough to have a ladder - so you'd have to specialize. It's a chicken and egg problem.
Growth Marketing Courses
CXL vs Demand Curve vs Growth Tribe
There are some growth marketing courses like Demand Curve, CXL, and Growth Tribe. I've taken CXL and Demand Curve but I haven't taken Growth Tribe because it seemed a bit expensive at the time.
Julian Shapiro is the person I'd give credit to for introducing me to Growth Marketing — and I'll forever be a fan. He's OP. His podcasts and his newsletter is incredible too!
Sadly, I didn't enjoy Demand Curve's content. I found it too easy and not in-depth. What was detailed out in a full-fledged course in CXL's GM minidegree was a handful of lessons in Demand Curve.
Demand Curve is a better choice for founders who don't want to drown in theory but want to quickly get going. If growth marketing is your full-time gig, CXL is a better choice.
Once you take CXL, you don't have to take Demand Curve or Growth Tribe. Content's quite similar. I've taken a couple of minidegrees from CXL's suite but I actually only mention one on my profile, so it doesn't look like a content dump.
CXL is for entry level positions. They will help you get started in the best possible way but you'll outgrow them eventually.
I took their FB ads course and wasn't really able to execute as well as I should've. I had to supplement CXL with other niche courses from Common Thread Collective, Paid Media Pros, and Foxwell, and more.
After CXL, you should go get some experience. You will discover what you like and don't like.
Tl;dr: CXL's Growth Marketing Minidegree is the one you should get.
Reforge is something you should aim to do after CXL. It's mostly for mid-senior professionals. Reforge doesn't teach you how to do SEO or design landing pages. CXL teaches you real skills, and I think that's what you want initially. It's recognized by senior industry people. I wrote a review about Reforge here. And another one about CXL.
Btw, please run away from course that has uses the word 'growth hacking'. Avoid them like the plague.
I recommend getting a mentor
Best advice I heard from Mr Beast was to "Get a mentor. Mentorship is a cheat code to success. Knowledge is so ******* OP".
Courses will make it you feel like you know everything. But the minute you put into practice, you'll still make mistakes.
Being able to instantly ask for feedback from mentors, is a shortcut.
How to get mentors?
1. Cold outreach
Reach out to your dream mentors wherever they are. Linkedin, Twitter, Email, anything. I've even considered putting a billboard up to get attention (and I might still do it someday).
One DM is all it takes.
I've used cold outreach to get hour long advice sessions from top-most execs at Ferrero Rocher, BCG and more.
Be shameless when asking for help.
2. Pay for it
Cold outreach is tough work so I pay $60/month for a service called GrowthMentor. I've had 30 calls so far, and been an on-and-off subscriber. It's no longer super easy to book calls but it's much easier than cold outreach. These days, I usually have 1 or 2 calls in a month just to get a second opinion on whatever I'm working on. Everyone is super nice, kind, and helpful. I'll recommend.
I do magic and Karate