Casey Winters – Growth is still in an early stage at large companies
Last Updated on February 7, 2022 by justin
Casey Winters, who previously worked with growth optimization on Pinterest, and who when we met last winter was Growth Advisor in Residence at the VC company Greylock Partners (as a consultant). We saw Casey present her talk “Onboarding Comes First: The Product-Driven Retention Strategies That Make All the Difference” during the 2017 Growth Conference in San Francisco. We also got an interview with him afterwards. He talks about his experience with “Growth” in large companies and Pinterest and emphasizes that “Growth” is still at an early stage in its development. We touch on Change Management, outsourcing of growth and tips.
Working with Growth at large companies
Subject knowledge and abilities are unevenly distributed over verticals, but B2C tends to be ahead of B2B. Companies in all possible industries are now trying to start with Growth Teams, or trying to introduce a growth focus across their entire line organizations. Growth initiatives, however, tend to focus on the wrong things, as they are not synced across an organization’s departments, leading to sub-optimization. In addition, Growth initiatives are not always adopted the first time they are tested. There is simply no universal solution for how to implement the Growth methodology, as it is far too new.
How to start?
His proposal for companies that want to get started is to start with their own initiative in-house. By giving a driven and self-employed engineer three months to work on something that the company has identified inhibits growth, you can create a “first win”, with very little risk.
Do not outsource Growth completely!
Since Growth is part of a company’s core business, it should not be outsourced, but it is perfectly ok to bring in external help, especially in the beginning, to get help with structures and get things started to move. Growth consultants can be valuable because they are often skilled in their field of expertise. Businesses can often benefit from how efficient they are, making it pay for itself. For example, a Machine-Learning expert can set up an automated process; a small effort that can lead to significant gains.
Do not underestimate the Change Management work
It is only when a company has started Growth, and has started to scale it up somewhat, that it is possible to attract a skilled project manager within Growth, as very few professional project managers in this area have enough patience to explain its value and anchor the working method during a long start-up phase. The very anchoring of a growth focus in the organization actually takes up to six months in a mature company, as employees and management may need to go from a state of mistrust to a state of trust in the methodology. Growth initiatives such as these need to be over-communicated, in order not to risk triggering resistance.
- Start your own team in-house and start on a small scale to get a “first win”
- Feel free to get external help with your growth team, but do not outsource the entire team!
- Growth consultants often pay for themselves when looking at saved time or increased efficiency
- Up to half the time of the flag bearer (project manager / growthhacker / etc) the first 6 months should be anchored
- Other interviews we did during the Growth Marketing conference
- Interview with Sean Ellis who also touches on companies’ challenge around Growth