Scott Brinker

Recently, Scott Brinker published the book Hacking Marketing. Scott Brinker is the editor of chiefmartech, the program chair of MarTech, and the author of the before-mentioned book. It centers around some very relevant and exciting keywords: growth hacking, agile management, and software development compared to the marketing world.

I had a chat with him where he explained why the software developers and marketers should work together and how e-commercers can benefit from such teamwork, what growth hacking is, and how to master it, and he gave his inputs on the future of online marketing.

Scott has always been at the intersection of software and marketing and started as a software engineer, but all his projects focused on marketing aspects. His key expertise would be marketing technology management—mostly focused on technology in the context of marketing. Technology is the easy part—the real challenge is how organizations change their process, their culture, and the way their teams work to take advantage of these new capabilities.

Here are the major takeaways from the Scott Brinker interview

  • The software world and marketing world, are not that different. The customer experience can be compared to the user experience.
  • Balance the company’s big vision with smaller implementations
  • Agile management is the way to do it. Implementing that approach doesn’t mean you eliminate the yearlong vision, it is just treating the vision as a strategic objective

This post will definitely give you some different and interesting inputs to your marketing strategy. What’s even better, is that: if you follow Scott’s advice, you will much likely improve your customer experience and optimize your conversion – so happy reading!

Ready to start growth hacking?

Scott Brinker has always been a major player in the software engineer business and he knows all about growth hacking. He’s now giving you the ultimate checklist so you can get your growth hacking on right away. Get your checklist right here.

Free Downloadable Bonus
Download Scott Brinker’s ultimate checklist to growth hacking right here.

User experience = customer experience

Scott has noticed that marketers’ activities started to look like the patterns in software development. Marketers have digital touch points – they are not just sending out communication but are actually designing the customer experiences. In technology phrases, it is the same as user experiences.

His book has two parts: The first part helps marketers to see the parallels, and the other part is the framework marketers could adapt to. If you are a non-technical marketer, the book will give you a non-technical introduction to all of the frameworks and concepts in the software world and help you apply them to your marketing work. Looking at an ecommerce website, it is a big piece of software, and it is now the marketers who are tasked with the responsibility of shaping the customer experience – similar to the user experience. You can compare the work marketers do to that of a software developer.

Optimize the buyer’s journey

In many ways, e-commerce is the clearest example of the buyer’s journey. We see scenarios in which people go through distinct stages of sales: discovery, consideration, final selection, and purchase. These stages can happen during a single visit or over a series of visits.

We are seeing more and more marketers who recognize that designing the user experience can be incredibly valuable. Amazon is a terrific example. In his book, Scott talks about some of the ways in which Amazon optimizes a buyer’s journey. Amazon sets the bar.

Think big, implement incrementally

Traditionally, marketers have tried to think big. Now, we have moved into a digital environment where it is not just the one big campaign but the explosion of different touch points and micro campaigns. The big challenge is balancing that trade-off – having a big vision but, at the same time, allowing the operational implementation of that vision to be responsive, doable, and experimental.

Here is Scott, presenting the frameworks that marketers can use from the software development world and his fantastic ideas for implementing those frameworks:

The effect of doing that is that management and frontline eCommerce marketers work a lot faster and more agilely. It is such a good match.

How to implement agile management

Applying this agile management approach doesn’t mean you eliminate the yearlong vision; it is just treating the concept as a strategic objective, but you are implementing the smaller initiatives more rapidly. It doesn’t require a significant change in the vision.

You just have to understand what you are doing now and what you want to do during those sprints. Be clear on your overall goal and priorities. Focus on the few and most important things to do. Start making a few of the sprints and see how the feedback is and adjust based on that.

Hack that growth

First of all, what is growth hacking? Here is Scott’s straightforward and understandable explanation as to what growth hacking is and how it could benefit ecommercers:

So, to elaborate, once there was a product team that created the product and a marketing team to market that product, but no one had much control over the two departments. Marketing was just pushing messaging into the world. Growth hacking means that the marketing and product people collaborate to reach their goal of growing.

Ask yourself, is there a way to adjust the product to make people use it more, recommend it, and buy it more often? LinkedIn was one of the first companies that did that. Amazon is a good example of that—there are continually implemented changes to the Amazon experience to make people come back, shop more often, or spend more money. More and more companies are starting to do that—marketers and engineers are collaborating.

There is a tremendous opportunity for e-commercers to start considering this method and implementing smaller changes to increase growth. In the future, the entanglement of marketing and customer experience on our digital properties is going to be combined—they should be one and the same and the one way we create the brand.

Where and how ecommercers could improve

I asked Scott what his favorite tools are, but he told me that that would be a hard one. That is because every year, Scott does his best to catalogue the different marketing technologies. This year, he found 3500, and the list was probably incomplete. However, we defined two categories where he thinks e-commercers should definitely improve to do a better job at marketing and creating better customer experiences. The two categories are:

  • Ecommerce-oriented marketing automation – Ecommercers should do a better job at being able to communicate with customers, even when the latter leave the site, on whatever channel the customers prefer. That could be by email, on banners, or on social media platforms.
  • Content marketing – There is room for improvement on the content marketing front as well. Listen to Scott explaining why and how marketers should improve their content marketing:

Stay on top of the market

Most digital marketing has been extremely siloed. The advertising people were separate from the website people, who then, again, were separate from the individuals involved in email – but that tendency is slowly changing.

In today’s environment, because the consumers are crossing all the different touchpoints very fluently, it is no longer effective for ecommerce companies to treat them as separate departments. Many companies are trying to find a way to synthesize a more coherent way. Adopting Agile management is an effective way to do that.

Do not organize an Agile team for marketing or an Agile team for customer service – instead, create groups with people who are representing different touchpoints.

Free Downloadable Bonus
Download Scott Brinker’s ultimate checklist to growth hacking right here.

Wrap up

It is important to stay on top of the many changes happening in the market all the time. To do that, you must be able to foresee what is going to occur in the time coming. The future of online marketing is, according to Scott, going to be a mix of three things:

  • Adopting the Agile management approach
  • Creating teams to operate in a more cross-channel, cross-functional approach that better aligns with customers’ experiences
  • Having marketing leadership collaborate much more closely with the product engineers to drive growth and customer conversions and grow customer relationships over time

Are you planning on trying some of Scott’s ideas? If so, which ones? Scott is also available for answering questions – all you have to do is comment below, and he’ll get back to you.

Emil Kristensen
Emil is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote. When he’s not busy with writing awesome content and building the Sleeknote brand, he spends his time reading and watching vlogs on YouTube (big fan Gary V). Fun fact: between the co-founders he is the fencing champ.

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  1. Fantastic article with practical ideas that are easy to implement. Thank you Scott and Emil!

  2. Wow!

    I’ve been hearing so many things about this growth hacking – but never thought about the team implementation. Thanks for the post

  3. Wow! I’ve read a lot of articles about this topic, and I think this one really helpful. Thanks for sharing this. Very true!


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