Editor’s Note: The local technology and digital scene has a lot of opportunities. In fact the problem in this sector is that the demand for talent is so much higher than the supply (aka kulang sa tao na meron skills for the job). To help with this we’re going to do a series of articles talking about the different kind of jobs and work one can find in the digital/tech field in the form of interviews, contribution articles, features, and videos. Our goal is to inspire our readers to consider growing (or starting) their career in the digital industry. Read on and let us know what you think about this new section in the comments! 🙂
Meet the Growth Hacker
By: Carlo Isles, Growth Hacker of Voyager Innovations
Whenever I hand people my business card, they usually ask me about my job title.
“Growth hacker?” they’ll say with a mixture of puzzlement and curiosity.
I don’t blame them. My position is not a common one in the Philippines, but it is one that I have embraced ever since joining Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of Smart-PLDT.
The “growth” part of my title can refer to any number of metrics. For our online discovery platform, Takatack, “growth” could refer to sales. We are trying to increase the amount of sales we make in a month. For an app like Talk2, the project I’ve been focused on the most lately, “growth” could refer to users. We want to increase the number of users who use the communication app on a regular basis.
No matter the metric, “growth” means that I am tasked with scaling a particular product, so that it can help as many people as possible. Voyager Innovations, you see, was built to create the digital innovations of the future.
The “hacker” part of my title is where things get interesting. Hackers hack. They find and access shortcuts where others did not think they would exist. In my case, I find ways to achieve growth faster. Whatever the metric is, the chart mapping it should not just show linear growth. It should show explosive growth, or what business intelligence people call the hockey-stick graph.
To achieve this kind of growth, I have a variety of tools at my disposal, including paid ads, search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, social media, and more. Since all of these tools will work to an extent, the trick is finding the tool – or in most cases, the combination of tools – that will work most efficiently. I have to optimize.
This problem is always challenging. I have to experiment with different strategies, do A/B testing, and understand and analyze the subsequent data. While I approach growth hacking with a spirit of experimentation, I still must continually deliver results. This means I must grow sales, users, or leads and try to hit certain targets.
Aiming for these milestones can be challenging, especially when you don’t know why a particular strategy is not working (or, as commonly, why it is working), but when things click, and you are able to grow what you and your team have built from scratch, there is no more satisfying feeling in the world. This is why I love growth hacking.
A prerequisite to growth hacking is experience with doing the dirty work of digital marketing and having knowledge of the product itself. By this I am referring to the execution or implementation of the strategies I mentioned above, such as paid ads or social media. Yet even if a person does not have years of experience in this field, you can still succeed as a growth hacker so long as you have one characteristic: passion.
Since growth hacking can be stressful, passion is – as cliche as this may sound – is crucial. Nothing else should matter more to you than growing your brand. There will be late nights. You will bang your head against the wall. And there will be times you don’t know where to begin.
If you have passion, you will see through all these challenges. And if you don’t have passion, then you inherit it, you marry it, you kiss up to it, or you get out of the way.
While I’ve always had a passion for growth hacking, working with some of the best people in the Philippines has only increased it. I’ve had the privilege of learning from Rachit Dayal of Happy Marketer, Jimmy Cassels of Spiralytics, and Paulo Campos of Zalora. At Voyager Innovations, I get to exchange notes on a daily basis with Raymund Villanueva, who is an expert at digital marketing, and Mitch Padua, who is an expert at ecommerce.
Learning from them cuts across most parts of my usual work day. My typical day begins with checking and analyzing data. From there, I adjust strategies accordingly or implement new ones. When I am unsure of how to address something, I look for best practices online or simply focus on what the brand lacks. As the occasion calls, I will meet and confer with product managers and developers to devise solutions. Then this cycle repeats.
You could say that my day is predictable. Then again, so are rollercoasters, as you can more or less anticipate their valleys and peaks by looking at the road ahead. But you still have the time of your life, soaring into places where others only dream of.
About Carlo Isles
Carlo Isles is a Growth Hacker at Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of Smart-PLDT. He has been doing digital marketing for more than five years, including stints at Happy Marketer, Zalora and Spiralytics. Follow his growth hacking journey at his blog.