Stoa’s Guide to Become a Good Performance Marketer

Interested in performance marketing? We’re offering the tips you need to know to succeed.

Performance marketing – sometimes known as growth hacking or growth marketing – is a field that’s developed rapidly over the last few years in tandem with the rise of digital marketing itself.

Performance marketing is a dynamic field that can mean different things to different people. It’s a fast-moving sector, but if you can do it well you can nearly guarantee yourself a well-paying job role or a successful business. That’s because performance marketing is in high demand among clients as well as employers.

What is performance marketing?

Before we launch into a helpful set of tips for those interested in performance marketing, let’s provide a quick definition:

The Performance Marketing Association defines it as a “comprehensive term that refers to online marketing and advertising programs in which advertisers and marketing companies are paid when a specific action is completed such as a sale, lead or click.”

Since performance marketing has to be judged by results, it usually involves a method that generates a sufficient amount of data to determine how successful the campaign is. The most common channels used for performance marketing are pay per click (PPC) advertising campaigns on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. In some cases, growth marketers also use paid campaigns on a search engine, typically Google.

Besides the fact that PPC ads generate a large amount of data, they’re also used because they can be very useful for making a product or service catch on quickly. This is especially true in India, which enjoys the largest population of Facebook users in the world. It doesn’t matter if you sell consumer devices meant to be used in the home or a complicated B2B service – you can most likely reach your intended audience on a social media network.

Now that we’ve established what performance marketing is, let’s talk about ways to improve.

Get experience to build a portfolio

First, a bit of a reality check: Performance marketing – or any type of marketing, really – is a competitive field. There are so many options available for businesses looking to get results with performance marketing that you’ll need to be able to show a history of successfully engaging in these types of campaigns.

This presents a sort of “chicken and egg” problem. You need to get experience to get clients or employment as a performance marketer, but how can you get that work if you don’t have any previous experience to show potential clients or employers?

There are a few options to overcome this challenge.

Launch your own campaigns

Who says you need to get started on performance marketing working for someone else? One of the best ways to jump in and gain experience is to launch your own marketing efforts for a product, service, or idea. You can create a product if you’d like, but you don’t even need to be selling something – you might consider starting a blog, for example, and launching a paid social media campaign to drive views to your posts.

Offer discounted rates to get started

Another similar option: If you have close friends or family members that sell a product or service, you might talk to them about providing them some help with performance marketing with minimal compensation, if any. Obviously, you don’t want to work for free or at discounted rates forever, but this arrangement can be invaluable for getting your first few client case studies. Remember to clarify that you’ll be using non-sensitive marketing data from campaigns you run for these “beta” clients. If possible, try to get them to agree to offer a testimonial or case study, but don’t push it if they don’t seem interested.

And finally, make sure to set a definitive end date by which your services will wind down. You don’t want people expecting to get valuable performance marketing services for a discounted rate from you forever!

Become a specialist

As mentioned in the introduction, performance marketing is a broad field. Instead of being a generalist that knows a bit about all types of marketing, you’ll likely find more success if you specialize in one or two specific areas.

The classic example to illustrate this point is a health care situation. Imagine you have a problem with your foot and need to seek care. Would you look for someone who specializes in foot care, or a generalist who knows about every other body part? The answer is obvious – just like it is in the field of digital performance marketing!

There are two ways to specialize:

  • By channel or platform. Pick one or two specific areas of performance marketing and learn them inside and outside. You might decide to intensively study Facebook and Instagram ads. Perhaps you’ll immerse yourself in SEO principles to help clients rank higher on search engines.
  • By industry. Maybe you want to help dentists attract more clients for orthodontics. Or your passion lies in the fashion industry, helping online clothing retailers connect with their ideal customers. Be as specific as possible here – if you want to specialize in performance marketing for fashion, for example, you might decide to focus on t-shirt companies or manufacturers of wedding clothes.

Remember, you don’t have to decide between these two specializations. For best results with performance marketing specialization, choose an industry and a channel. You might help jewelry companies attract more leads on Facebook. Maybe you’ll focus on grocery businesses that want to run search engine ads. Explore your personal interests and decide based on what works for you!

These same concepts apply if you are seeking employment. Simply take an inventory of the top three or four companies you’d want to work for – who are their ideal clients for performance marketing? Tailor your interests around them and you’ll give yourself a much easier chance at getting hired.

Cultivate a strong community

As a performance marketer, staying up to date on the latest trends and tactics is critical. And while it’s certainly possible to learn on your own, it’s much easier if you have the help of a supportive group of peers pursuing the same thing.

Interaction with a community can help you by providing a sounding board to share ideas about your skills. You’ll learn about up-and-coming types of performance marketing that you may not have considered. And if you’re looking to pursue a specific kind of performance marketing, you can seek out members of that community who specialize in the same area to get advice about how to improve your skills and avoid any of the obstacles they might have already encountered.

Final thoughts on performance marketing

Whether you’re looking to start your own business as a performance marketer or get hired by a dream employer in this type of role, your ability to drive real results is going to provide the key to your success.

At Stoa School, our online MBA program is designed to equip you with the skills needed to make yourself in-demand, whether that’s among prospective employers or business clients. From helping working professionals earn more money to allowing entrepreneurs to have their breakthrough moments to level up in their business, our focus is on equipping modern learners with practical skills that they can immediately apply in their professional lives.

To learn more about how we can help advance your career, fill out an application for one of our cohorts today.

Raj Kunkolienkar
December 7, 2021

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