Expert Insight: Nicholas Scalice - Funnels Or Loops?
An insightful look into the world of data analysis and how to approach user acquisition and growth in this interview with a product expert.
There is a lot of overlap between marketing and data analysis. Very often, data analysts are placed into marketing or growth marketing teams to tackle user acquisition and growth, evaluating marketing campaign performance, user source traffic attribution, affiliate impact, as well as managing CAC and other marketing-related conversion metrics.
As someone who has worked closely with all of these subjects, I’m excited to get a chance to interview Nicholas and learn his perspective on good and bad marketing strategies, frameworks, must-know applications, and metrics for measuring and scaling user growth.
Nicholas Scalice is one of the strongest experts on Growth Marketing. He is a Google Partner, CXL Certified Optimizer, Zapier Certified Expert, ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant, CallRail Agency Partner, and also the host of one of the top-rated Growth Marketing podcasts called Growth Marketing Toolbox, which has featured world-class marketers such as Seth Godin and attracts over 10,000 downloads per month.
1. User acquisition and growth is a very common domain for data analysts today. What are the most important conversion rates analysts should look at for analyzing user acquisition?
What I usually recommend is that rather than trying to hit a specific conversion rate goal, you simply try to improve your conversion rates consistently over time. For instance, let's say you launch with a 5% conversion rate, and then through a series of A/B tests you get it up to 7%, then 10%, and beyond. This type of consistent growth is what we should all strive for in our marketing campaigns.
2. Funnels or Loops (wheels)? Do you have a preference for a strategy and framework?
I do have a preference! It's a "flywheel." I've written about this exact topic on my blog recently. The main premise is that marketing funnels are too linear and they don't account for continual growth. A marketing flywheel model—which many companies, including HubSpot, have now adopted—allows for growth to be continuous and for us to learn from what happens through the entire customer lifecycle.
3. What are the examples of bad and good marketing strategies?
Bad marketing is all around us. Usually, it is heavily reliant on tactics without enough priority given to strategy. I always say that you need to start with a solid growth strategy first before diving into the tactics. This includes researching your audience, developing a great offer, and really honing in on your messaging. Then you can worry about the more tactical stuff like where to get traffic and how specifically to convert that traffic into leads and sales.
4. What are the must-have tools or applications data analysts must have to tackle growth and marketing?
Google Analytics is a must-have. They just launched a new approach to analytics called Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and we're trying to learn as much as we can about it. One of the biggest improvements with GA4 over previous versions of Google Analytics is a new data modeling feature that is more reliant on A.I. to fill in data gaps that may have been blocked by issues with cookies or other problems. And the user interface got a huge upgrade. Another tool I really like is Hotjar, which is great for creating heatmaps, session records, and more. It pairs well with Google Analytics. I've also been exploring a new free tool from Microsoft called Clarity, which does a lot of the same stuff Hotjar does with an interesting twist on it.
5. Anything else you can suggest/advise to people getting into growth and marketing?
If you're interested in getting into growth marketing, the best thing to do is start with the foundational elements. Don't worry so much about tactics right away. Learn about growth flywheels and how to create compelling offers. Learn about data-driven approaches to growth, and what it means to create a culture of testing within your organization. A more specific resource would be my weekly newsletter called GrowthMarketer Weekly, where I share my favorite growth marketing news, tools, and insights, which you can subscribe to for free.
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