The Beginner’s Guide to Full Stack Marketing
Growth hackers, full stack marketers, and ninja-rockstars - oh my! Full stack marketers are on the rise and in high demand, especially in the startup space. So, whether you’re a marketing pro or a startup in search of one, you definitely want to know what it means to be a full stack marketer.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
What is a “full stack marketer”?
You’ve likely heard the term “full stack engineer” thrown around. It’s used to describe engineers who can complete a project from start to finish… all by themselves. They have a background in everything, but they’re an expert of nothing. Somewhere along the way, we applied that same concept to marketing and ended up with full stack marketers.
Full stack marketers have a working knowledge of all of the modern marketing tactics, from PPC and email marketing to social media and PR. They use that knowledge to create integrated growth strategies that they are capable of executing with limited external resources.
Why Startups Need Full Stack Marketers
Full stack marketers are die-hard generalists. And while the generalist vs. specialist debate is tired, most entrepreneurs would agree that startups should hire generalists in the early days and then focus their attention on specialists. Why? In the beginning, startups need people who can wear many hats.
If a PR pro is your first marketing hire, they’ll likely also have a working knowledge of content marketing and social media. But you’ll need to outsource PPC, landing page optimization and analytics. If a PPC pro is your first marketing hire, they’ll likely also have a working knowledge of landing page optimization and analytics. But you’ll need to outsource PR, content marketing and social media.
Full stack marketers are ideal first non-technical startup hires. They’ll take you from 0 to 90, building the framework, establishing early traction, and allowing you to grow rapidly for the first year or so. But full stack marketers are rarely the ones who can take you from 90 to 100.
Why? In the later days, startups need specialists to grow the framework they built their early success on.
Seems like you’d have to have a difficult conversation, right? “Thanks for everything you’ve done, but… we don’t need you anymore!” Fortunately, by the time a startup is ready to hire marketing specialists, most full stack marketers already have their eye on a younger startup or a VP of Marketing / CMO role.
That’s just the natural progression. Either they love the early, rapid growth stage (and they’re leaving) or they love the way different marketing tactics come together (and they’re advancing). Why VP of Marketing / CMO? Because they understand the moving parts… all of them. They won’t favour one tactic over the other because they’re more familiar with it, they’ll design strategies for rapid growth and hire specialists (who are smarter than them) to make it happen.
What goes into the full marketing stack?
Here’s a list of what’s commonly considered part of the full marketing stack (and some resources to get you started).
4. Email Marketing
5. Social Media
7. In-Product Marketing
8. Public Relations
9. Content Marketing
How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners from ProBlogger
The Ultimate Newbie Blogging Guide: What the Experts Don’t Tell You from Heidi Cohen
The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging from KISSmetrics
16 Top Tips from Blogging Experts for Beginners from Buffer
How to Start & Create a Blog Today: Step-by-Step
The Truth About PR for Startups
12. Lifecycle Marketing
13. App Store Marketing
15. A/B Testing
Architecting Great Experiments from Kyle Rush
The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing from Unbounce
71 Things to A/B Test from Optimizely
41 Detailed A/B Testing Strategies to Skyrocket Your Testing Skills from Raphael Paulin-Daigle
16. Landing Page Optimization
18. Customer Service
The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution from C5 and Onboardly
How to Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned, and Paid Media from Convince and Convert
17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content from KISSmetrics
21. Business Development
The 3 Golden Rules of Full Stack Marketing
1. Never stop doing.
You might think you need advice but practice is what you really need.
— Hiten Shah (@hnshah) January 12, 2014
Originally, this golden rule was going to be “never stop learning”, but then I remembered Hiten’s tweet. It’s not enough to read blog posts and eBooks about something, you have to put pen to paper and actually do.
Full stack marketing is all about having a working knowledge of many different tactics. Those tactics are always changing and evolving. So, if you don’t change and evolve with them, you’ll fall behind.
2. If it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t work.
Full stack marketers are agile and scrappy (they have to be). They have to use the limited time and resources they’re given to make big things happen. The key is developing scalable, repeatable strategies.
If it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t work. Most full stack marketers just don’t have the luxury of working with strategies and systems that don’t facilitate exponential growth.
3. Conversions or it didn’t happen.
You’re familiar with the phrase, “Pictures or it didn’t happen”, right? Similarly, if you didn’t get the conversion, it didn’t happen. All of the visits, page load times and average visit durations in the world won’t change the fact that you didn’t get the conversion.
Full stack marketers can’t get stuck focusing exclusively on the top of the funnel. They need to be able to see the entire picture and ensure that leads can progress from one step to the next with ease.
Results are everything. No full stack marketer is being measured by her input.
That’s it, that’s all. Now you know what skills to develop if you want to call yourself a full stack marketer and what skills to look for if you want to hire one. For more information about full stack marketing, follow experts like Kyle Tibbitts, Dan Kaplan, and Morgan Brown.
Did we miss any killer resources for marketers and entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Serena Epstein