Sara Miteva

May 1, 2021

5 min read

CXL Growth Marketing Minidegree: Week 2

Photo by Annie Spratt

This is the second article out of 12 articles that describe my journey while attending lessons for the Growth Marketing Midigree at the CXL Institute.

Week 2 started with the course User-Centric Marketing by Paul Boag, who has over 25 years of experience in UX. I really liked the way he was telling things: he catches attention very easily and includes interesting examples that make you think.

The course starts with an introduction to the digital world we live in today, and how digital marketing differs from traditional marketing. For businesses, digital has transformed the competitive landscape. You can now compete with the big players regardless of your company’s size or budget.

User-centric marketing

Then, we move on to the need of user-centric marketing. A user-centric approach to marketing starts by understanding your audience. Traditional personas are static and don’t include behavior changes, so that’s why we should focus on empathy mapping instead. So, instead of focusing on who the person and their tastes, it’s asking things like what questions do they have, what tasks are they wanting to complete, what is influencing them, and what their goals and pain points are.

Everything starts with user research, and you usually have a lot of information from your front-line staff, developers, managers, and other stakeholders who are involved in user processes. Then, the course goies into how to use surveys to get to know your audience, followed by an introduction to top-task analysis, which is something I encountered for the first time and was personally very interesting to me.

Top tasks are a small group of tasks that mean the most to your clients. You’ll be on the right track if you can make these things perform well. If you get them wrong, you’ll almost certainly lose the client.

Then, the course also mentions the importance of meeting your audience in-person.

We then move on to customer journey mapping as the most effective way to put the findings into action.

Customer journey mapping makes what we know about our customers and how they communicate more visible. It also aids in the framing of campaigns, allowing them to see if they blend into the bigger picture and contribute to the overall journey. Remember, this isn’t going to be 100% correct.

After we’ve mapped the journey, we move to user research, where we’ll validate our hypothesis and find out the actions we need to take to improve the journey. There are several ways the course mentions:

  • Design tests
  • Word cloud survey
  • Card sorting
  • Semantic differential survey
  • Prototype
  • Unfacilitated usability testing.

In the end, we explore actions we should take post-launch in order to optimize our campaigns.

Finally, to pass this course, you need to take an assessment of 30 questions. You should score at least 90% to pass the exam and move on to the next part. I have to admit that questions were a bit tricky and I failed the first time, but managed to successfully pass the exam on the second try :) However, the exam was really helpful as I noticed that it helped me remember what I learned in the course much better.

Identifying and amplifying growth marketing channels

The next course in the program is Identifying and amplifying growth marketing channels. The instructor is Sophia Eng, currently VP of Growth Marketing at Trate the Fifth. She previously worked as Senior Growth Marketing Manager at inVision and Workday.

This course gives an introduction to the most commonly used growth channels nowadays. I think the most important takeaway was that you can’t use them all — you need to chosoe the ones that work best for your product and your audience.

Here are the lessons covered:

  • Myths about social media
  • Developing a coherent strategy for social media
  • Myths about SEO
  • KPIs and goals for SEO
  • Keyword research & content gap analysis
  • Linkbuilding
  • On-page SEO
  • Local SEO
  • Intro to PPC
  • Types of PPC campaigns
  • PPC funnels
  • Content marketing

The key is to take a quantitative approach to these channels, monitoring key success metrics and using channel-specific techniques.

Research and testing

After completing the first introductury module, I moved on to the next one, called Running growth experiments. This module starts with the course Research and testing by Peep Laja. Peep Laja is the Founder of CXL and the CEO of Wynter. He has a lot of experience in conversion optimization. More importantly, he’s a great storyteller and has the ability to keep your attention and give you many examples to remember.

The course is basically a workshop Peep Laja held on research and testing and lasts for 1 hour and 37 minures. You get the presentation he’s using in the workshop with a lot of valuable examples from what he’s worked on in the past. It consists of four parts, and in the end there’s a Q&a session with many interesting questions from the audience, with Peep Laja answering to each of them in details.

Conversion research

After completing the workshop, I moved on to the next course, Conversion research, also by Peep Laja. During week 2 I just went through the beginning of the course and passed a short quiz to be able to continue with the program. You need to score 100% to pass the quiz, so you have to be extra careful when learning :)

There are a lot of people who claim to be able to tell you exactly what’s wrong with a website and how to fix it right away. Sure, certain issues could be self-evident. However, you might be mistaken — your personal prejudices and interests might get in the way. Furthermore, the better the page, the less apparent the flaws become. As a result, you’re left with thoughts. However, the dilemma is that your viewpoints are irrelevant.

They don’t, in reality. Would you want a doctor operating on you based on his or her own judgment or a thorough evaluation and tests?

As a result, conversion research must be the first step in any optimization project. It’s where you examine a website to determine where and how money is leaking. If we have the information, we can begin plugging the holes.

Next week, I’m continuing with this course, so I’ll be diving deeper into the topic.