In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Mark Fiske, who has lead teams at Ancestry and CreditKarma.
We talk to Mark about all of the things you need to master to lead marketing at a successful scale-up company.
We get into how you should prioritize and understand where you should invest your resources, time, and budget.
We talk about how to do customer acquisition at scale and what happens when your main channels start to plateau.
We talk about the importance of hiring and why the chief product officer at CreditKarma spent 20 hours a week talking to potential candidates, even when they hadn't any open roles.
Time Stamped Notes
[2:45] - We talk to Mark about his time at Ancestry and ask if he found out anything surprising about his family history.
[3:25] - To prioritize market efforts at a scale-up, you need to understand the business's key drivers. Both Ancestry and CreditKarma were media-driven companies, so Mark knew a key driver would be paid advertising. You need to understand the company value and what levers you have to improve that value.
[5:45] - At both Ancestry and CreditKarma, Mark had to find customer acquisition channels to reach potential customers on a large scale. Mark talks about how he leaned into TV advertising and why it worked so well.
[8:25] - When Mark was at CreditKarma, their TV advertising reached a point of diminishing returns. Mark talks about how they took learnings from what worked across TV advertising and applied them to Youtube and social advertising channels.
[10:15] - One of the channels Mark invested in was Youtube. Mark talks about those efforts.
[12:25] - It's critical to understand the business's true drivers, map KPIs to these drivers, and have clear owners for these KPIs. That person is accountable for pulling together all initiatives that can potentially impact that metric. However, something Mark does is separate the person who sizes up the potential impact from those initiatives from the teams who implement them. Mark feels these removes bias from how initiatives get prioritized.
[15:00] - Mark talks about the rituals he has across his teams to keep focused on KPIs. He has each team pick three big rocks to tackle, and the impact from tackling those rocks should ladder up to the overall marketing goals, which should, in turn, ladder up to the business goals. Other things Mark does is have his team create OKRs, have monthly meetings to run through performance, and Mark dives into the weeds with teams who are missing their targets.
[18:00] - Mark talks about the feedback he got early in his career that helped him improve his leadership skills, around who he was hiring, and how to manage talented people.
[22:05] - The chief product officer at CreditKarma dedicated 20 hours a week to networking for future hires, even when he didn't have any roles open. Mark talks about the habits he's developed around hiring.
[24:00] - A critical piece of brand marketing is shifting people's perception of your product. Mark gives an example of how Ancestry worked to change the perception that DNA tests should be expensive and how Ancestry was helping to make them more accessible to everyone.
[26:25] - Other advice Mark gives to marketing leaders around brand is understanding what brand metrics are critical to business success, and how you can impact them.
[29:00] - Mark has recently developed a Marketing strategy course for Reforge. One of the main points he teaches is leaders should understand how the business works and how their goals ladder up to the business's success.
Don't forget to listen to the full podcast for much more advice around marketing leadership.