Recap: Global Growth Marketing Conference 2017

by Anna Crowe | 6 MIN READ


The Growth Marketing Conference has, at its core, been a place for growth marketers to thrive.

As the global leader in both interactive and educational growth marketing, this conference helps to attract many of the entrepreneurial heavy hitters from around the world. From CEOs, founders, CMOs, and growth champions, a variety of winning tactics are talked about every year.

To sharpen my inbound marketing game — and selfishly, to check San Francisco off my bucket list — I traveled to the Growth Marketing Conference at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to learn from the marketing greats.

So, for those who couldn’t attend the conference in person, no worries! I’ve got you covered.

Below I highlight some of my favorite presentations by summarizing both the main points as well as the comments that stood out to me.

Data-Driven Design: The Optimization Blueprint Your Growth Team Needs to Succeed

Oli Gardner, co-founder of Unbounce, focused on how brands can best optimize their customer’s experience in regards to their websites.

Gardner has made a career of focusing on data-informed decisions that help to improve both the marketers, designers and customer’s experience.


His segment took on topics like warning attendees against looking like the NFL and NBA desktop sites (spoiler: Gardner thinks they are horrible), parallax scrolling (tricky, but magical when done correctly), and scroll jacking (the absolute worst because the code makes it tough to control).

He did highlight some new things to come like smart navigation (only there when you need it, not all the time) and asymmetric design (looks cool and removes false bottoms).

Gardner highlighted the danger of trends by using the example of decreasing sales of merlot wine following the blockbuster hit, Sideways, which praised the quality and taste of Pinot Noir wine instead.

The most memorable moment of Oli's presentation (though least relevant to marketing) was when he announced his elopement with his now wife, Nicole.


You can check out Oli's presentation from the conference, click here.

Lessons Learned: Growing From Single Product to Multi Product Business

Following Gardner’s talk, Jeff Titterton of Zendesk tackled the common problem of expanding your offerings from just one product to multiple.

Before his role at Zendesk, Titterton had 18 years of experience leading marketing and product marketing from startups to corporations.

He kicked things off by talking how difficult it is to go from one product to many, and he referred to the single-product life as a “utopia.”


However, he also explains that as soon as one additional product is added, it adds a level of confusion and customers begin to feel frustration with each new product.

“Treat your first product like a diva. New products are backup singers until they’ve proven otherwise.”

Jeff Titterton, SVP Marketing at Zendesk

A big takeaway from his tips?

It’s simple, just bundle!

But don’t just add a bundle and hope for the best. Instead, test for the optimal bundle by showing the savings a customer will see.

Jump-Starting Agile Growth

Sean Ellis, the Founder, and CEO of GrowthHackers and former Founder and CEO of Qualaroo tackled the concept of “agile growth” in both start-ups and more mature corporations.

By highlighting companies like Netflix and Amazon, he emphasized the importance of traditional companies preparing themselves to compete with these newer growth behemoths.

Successful companies like Netflix showed an early commitment to data whereas more established ones, like Disney, had to scramble to catch up.


This early commitment to data allowed companies like Netflix and Amazon to test their product offerings to see how people were interacting and more importantly, how to keep their retention rates high.

He also shared advice for individuals hoping to join a company as their growth expert. He explained that when interviewing for these types of roles, you should ask for what you need -- highlighting that you won’t be successful in your endeavor without the authority to be creative and test across departments.

Check out Sean Ellis's full presentation below.

Scaling Your Growth Team: Roles, Responsibilities, & Functions Needed

Ada Chen Rekhi, Founder & COO at Notejoy, a social document editor for teams, discussed how to structure your growth team.


As a former SVP of Marketing at SurveyMonkey and Head of Growth at LinkedIn, she has quite a bit of experience when it comes to optimizing growth teams.

By highlighting a case study of Slack’s organizational structure, she shared how their growth team has three, decentralized growth teams that functions as a funnel.

LinkedIn, however, has a more centralized growth team that is much larger than that of Slack’s group. LinkedIn’s view on growth is not focused on monetized services and growth is instead focused on new sign-ups.

Her final case study was Credit Karma, whose previous growth team structure recently re-organized into a more decentralized growth team.


Her main takeaway was that “growth is not fixed” and is instead a constant evolution.

The Top Box. Moving Up Fast: The Secret to Rapid Growth and a Big Exit

Chief Executive Officer at, Nathan Latka, covered how companies can expect to see rapid growth.

He started his talk by speaking about his podcast, The Top Entrepreneurs, where he interviews SaaS CEOs.

By engaging in rapid fire with these CEOs, he has built a database of over 1,000 CEO’s answers regarding their company’s number of users, revenue, salaries, and more intimate questions.


This database provided valuable insight into the industry which resulted in his creation of a few recommendations -- that companies should have one utility metric, monopolize one distribution channel, and increase money velocity by decreasing the payback period.

Autopilot, Scalable, Repeatable, Compounding: How to Invest in Long-Term Growth in 2018

Later on, attendees heard from Anne Fleshman, the Director of Marketing at Autopilot, the visual marketing software.

She focused on the various ways that companies can improve by focusing on long-term growth.


By highlighting commonly done “no-nos” like offering a sale at the last minute which could result in a lower perception of the brand, she explained instead how to do it the smart and sustainable way.

Her long-term strategies belong in “wells.” This wells approach takes more time and upfront effort instead of money. She explained that all of these solutions should be scalable, repeatable, and compounding.

Her example of how to do this was PandaDoc (also a Firesnap partner.)


PandaDoc has 33 competitor landing pages, so when a potential customer asks how their company is different than competitors, rather than drafting a quick email each time, they can instead refer to this page.

This page not only identifies their prowess but is also great for SEO purposes.

Now, people who search for “alternatives to DocuSign,” will find PandaDoc high in the search results. By focusing on commonly asked questions, she shared that you can create content specific to those FAQs while helping to drive traffic to your site.

Wrapping Up

Overall, the conference provided numerous valuable takeaways and is definitely

The best part? Access to quality speakers.

Tactical information could be gleaned from them no matter the current state of their business. The talks were informative, detailed, but easy to understand.

In short, the Global Growth Marketing Conference 2017 definitely delivered some bang for the buck and may be worth adding to your list of 2018 marketing industry conferences to attend.

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Originally published February 22, 2018. Updated February 22, 2018.