Heap Q&A with Jim Huffman, Co-founder and CEO of GrowthHit

Jim Huffman is a digital marketing professional passionate about the intersection of analytics, product, and content. He has grown startups that have been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, TechCrunch, and Wired. He currently is the co-founder and CEO of GrowthHit, as well as the author of the Growth Marketer’s Playbook.

Tell me about your passion about connecting analytics, product, and content. Are people typically on board with this integrated mindset?

To be a well rounded marketer, it’s important to have the perspective of a data analyst, a product manager, and a creative. In order to build this mindset within your team, you must start with a culture where every department is focused on using data to drive business growth, and they must embrace running growth experiments. It helps if this culture starts at the top and then flows into each group. If you can get your organization aligned with one key goal or mission, that anchor can allow you to drive your integrated strategy forward. This perspective creates a seamless experience for the customer, because the organization is on the same page with the product experience.

Why are these areas of the business so siloed? How can organizations bridge this divide?

Before the internet, marketing didn’t have a technical component to it. It was mainly around advertising and branding. After the internet, marketing became technical and data started to become much more accessible. Companies that stuck to the old marketing org chart missed out on big opportunities to learn and to add value to the customer.

In order to connect these areas of the business, you need to open up the dialogue between all of these teams. That could be as simple as running cross-functional stand-up meetings or structuring various growth teams that include one person from each role. This way the organization is proactive about building a collaborative culture.

How do you use Heap today?

Heap’s virtual events tracking allows me to truly understand how a customer or user is engaging with every aspect of our online products. I’m able to see what pages or actions lead to a positive outcome like an online conversion. Once I uncover these leading indicators, I can work on marketing campaigns and UX updates that get users to that action as fast as possible.

How has Heap helped you with your own professional development?

Getting deeper knowledge on data can be seen as an intimidating task and it’s easy to put off. After playing around with Heap for 15 minutes, the user-friendly experience made it easy to understand how to use the entire tool. I was able to do cohort analysis and detailed funnel analysis that isn’t as easily available with other tools. As a result, I was going into strategy meetings filled with more insights and I could actually use data to drive my actions.

Any tips for those who are using Heap or to help people get started?

Start with the end goal in mind. What are the main things you want to learn about your business or your customer? From there, start building out your event tracking and your dashboards.

Any other advice for marketing or product teams trying to become more data driven?

Don’t make being “data driven” a daunting task. The end goal is to find a couple KPIs that will be the north star for the team. These KPIs should help you measure a successful customer experience. Examples include a high purchase conversion rate for e-commerce companies, a strong referral rate for community platforms, or an onboarding completion rate for SaaS companies. To uncover these KPIs, approach being data driven from the perspective of the customer journey. Map out the customer experience from discovery to transaction or referral. Then identify the top five metrics to measure along the way. It’s better to focus on fewer metrics that actually change your behavior, as opposed to looking at a cluttered dashboard and not coming away with any high-impact action items.