Faculty Stories: Christoph Schachner, Growth Hacker
Christoph Schachner is Head of Growth at Hackabu and part of our faculty of the Growth & Digital Marketing Bootcamp at the Talent Garden Innovation School in Vienna. In the following interview he tells us how he became a Growth Hacker, the top hard and soft skills of the industry and why he wants to share his Growth Hacking knowledge.
Describe your job:
As a Head of Growth, I am responsible for coordinating the growth team resources across our clients, developing and executing new ideas with clients and making more people aware of Hackabu. This involves ensuring that our clients receive high-quality work from us and that we meet the expectations that have been set during the initial onboarding phase. I am also making sure that the team is happy and that everybody can develop him and herself within Hackabu. For this we have institutionalized team lectures and learning sessions. We put a lot of value on developing new and deepening existing skills to bypass fatigued and saturated techniques. Being a Head of Growth also means to always stay on top of the latest trends in martech and hovering over our clients to make sure we keep ideas fresh and aimed towards one unified goal – growth.
How did you get into this job?
I have been in Growth Hacking for 3 years now. At the time I was trying to monetize my own Facebook page which I managed to grow to 15.000 followers so Growth Hacking seemed like a good way to grow the page while also being a 1 person team. I saw a job advertisement for the position of a Growth Hacker and was immediately interested in the field. In this startup I was doing “0 budget marketing” which is often equated with Growth Hacking. Since then I was developing to the skillset that I have now which can be summarized as a growth hacker, that creates a balanced marketing mix while relying on lean methods. After writing my master thesis on Growth Hacking in Austrian Startups I joined Hackabu as a Growth Strategist. This position is similar to an account manager as it involves being the responsible person for a client. After that, I got the unique opportunity to be the Head of Growth.
Which are the top 5 hard skills that someone in your industry should have?
The top 5 hard skills for me are data analysis using various tools (depending on the type and size of the data), search engine marketing, conversion rate optimization, funnel marketing and social media marketing.
Which are the top 5 soft skills that someone in your industry should have?
The top 5 soft skills for me are creativity, breaking down complexity, curiosity, hands-on mentality and empathy.
When you start a new project, what are the steps you take?
- Analysis: Digging deep into our clients’ data. This can be looking into the CRM system, finding low hanging fruits within their ads or getting their as well as their users opinion to better understand the target audience.
- Ideation: After bringing together all the different data points, we connect the dots and come up with ideas. These can be completely new like trying out new channels or even creating new products as an entry point or existing ones like improving their webpage, reducing the cost of their ads or trying out a new targeting options to get better engagement.
- Execution: The ideation phase transitions into the execution phase. Here we set up campaigns, create landing pages, implement tracking and so on. This is very customized to what we identified as the low hanging fruits during the analysis phase. To ensure progress we work within sprints which means we set a sprint goal at the beginning of the sprint and review, whether or not this goal has been achieved, at the end of the sprint.
- Learnings: Understanding what results mean is as important as producing them. This is where the learning part of our growth loop comes in (this cycle of analysis, ideation, execution and learning). In keeping with the motto: “The end of every test is the start of a new one”, we reflect on the process we and the results and either tweak something or pivot. To put it more practical. We create a minimum viable test (MVT) for an interactive calculator that calculates how much money you could be saving when switch to this new solution. Then we send traffic to it and compare the conversion from the existing conversion path to the new one (with the calculator). It might improve the conversion but it can also be that it reduces it. Then we try to find out why this is the case. Is the target audience wrong? Was there a technical error? Is the wording unclear? There might be different reasons and this is where we then create a new hypothesis and test it. And it all starts all over again.
What are the reasons you wanted to become part of the Talent Garden Innovation School Faculty and share your knowledge?
For me, there are two reasons why I wanted to become part of the Talent Garden Innovation School Faculty. The first one is that a lot of misconceptions are spread around the topic of Growth Hacking. It’s not something secret. There are no silver bullets, no one size fits all. And you can not grow a product that has no product-market fit. So adjusting the awareness on the topic of Growth Hacking is dear to me. The second reason is that I enjoy teaching. To give people the tools and concepts they can use to further develop their business is an amazing feeling. Bringing my own and the attendee’s knowledge and experience together leads to an exchange that is beneficial for both sides. Since Growth Hacking is a concept that has not been around for that long and is developed by the creative ones, the mavericks, it further develops within these occasions where there is room for it.
How do you keep up with the latest trends?
The most obvious way is reading various blogs in the industry. This means publication s in certain fields e.g. SEO or PPC. Also, case studies are a great source to get a “behind-the-scenes” look. Additionally to that, I try to keep myself informed about statistics and publications on areas where we can support our clients. An example is that WhatsApp is currently the most used messenger which opens up the question of how WhatsApp can be used for our clients to spread their message. Besides this desktop research, I very much enjoy creating connections at events and via LinkedIn to meet with people and exchange knowledge. Not only do you get new ideas but it also helps you overcome thinking barriers when you talk with a like-minded person. I also want to note that blindly jumping on the “hype train” is not what staying up with trends means. It is about knowing the adoption stage and then deciding if it is worthwhile to pursue this trend. An example of that can be TikTok. Sure it is discussed widely and yes it is also a rising channel but looking at the demographics of the channel and the type of content that works well on it means that it still is a niche channel.
In your opinion: Which trends will change the future of business for good?
For this question, I would like to focus on the area that we operate in because I can’t answer that in a general way. In my opinion, the data economy will contribute largely to the future of business. According to a survey, I read recently, it says that 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads. This is important for marketers since we have to deal with wavering attention spans and information overload and personalization, is the weapon to break through the clutter. It is also a useful tool to streamline processes by connecting various systems to one central database. This helps tremendously in achieving a more complete picture of consumers which then can be used for creating multi-channel campaigns that do not overlap but amplify one another.
Which are your future work challenges?
For me, the challenges of my future work are to keep up with the trends. Things are changing so rapidly and are often so interconnected that it is no longer possible to say: “This is not my field”. It also means to always keep improving. For me this is the field of SEO where I try to be as up-to-date as possible. The challenge lies in balancing the day to day operations with the learning aspect. Sometimes we get caught up in operations and feel like we have no time to develop ourselves further. But from what I have learned so far about myself is that especially in these situations it can really help to feed your brain with something new which then helps to bring in new motivation for the operational tasks.
Coming to an end: What is the best advice you can give to people that are interested in taking a career in your industry?
In my opinion, the best advice is to start as an expert in a certain field and then go abroad. By doing that you will not only learn about the specific field but also learn about adjacent fields. For example, if you want to become a pro in content marketing, SEO, Analytics, and PPC are also areas that you will come in touch with. Getting this knowledge can be done in various ways. Of course, education is a good way to become an expert. It is also a possibility to start your own project and develop your skills on the job. I guess it comes down to the way you prefer learning. After you have gained this basic level of knowledge, getting acquainted with the concepts in Growth Hacking is the next step. Then the options are manifold. From my experience startups are most receptive to Online Marketers with knowledge in Growth Hacking but companies and agencies are also starting to look more and more for people with this skill set.
Meet more Faculty Members of our Growth & Digital Marketing Bootcamp:
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This intensive 12-week Bootcamp gets you ready for your future job as Growth & Digital Marketing Specialist. From a solid foundation in digital marketing strategy, we deep dive into topics such as social media, content marketing, SEO, programmatic advertising, e-commerce and growth hacking. We’ll introduce you to all the necessary tools and you’ll learn from expert practitioners. We combine hands-on workshops, informal fireside chats, and project work where you work in groups and on your own. When finishing this course you will have a state-of-the-art skillset to work in growth & digital marketing.
Classes will be held in English, preparing students for an international career. In addition, the course is limited to a maximum of 20 people, which allows to respond individually to the needs of students.
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