Growing Your eCommerce Analytics Infrastructure

June 1, 2020
Growing Your eCommerce Analytics Infrastructure

“This was my intro to the founder of a DTC eCommerce company.  In this case, I was talking to an experienced business owner that had started, scaled and exited multiple eCommerce companies.  He was now starting a new company in a brand new market and was interested in finding out how he should scale the marketing/analytics/data side of his team.

{Name}


Great talking the other day.  Sounds like you’re well on your way to making some good hires.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about our conversation and wanted to get you a couple resources you might be able to use to learn more about who you need to hire.  


Our conversation centered around who he might need to hire as he closed in on and then exceeded the 8 figures ARR mark. I outline some of the resources I recommend he familiarize himself with as well as some of the ways his team structure might have to change.  In this case, the founder had a highly capable former consultant he planned to use to lead his marketing team.  He is mentioned multiple times in the email.”


Demand Curve - As I mentioned, they are one of the leading growth marketing training companies.  Might be worth it to purchase their course for  $500 up front and their recurring  $99 monthly fee to be in their slack group to try and find consultants looking for work. 


CXL Institute - As I mentioned in our Facebook Messenger thread, they are throwing an event here in Austin later in the year.  CXL’s network includes many of the best CRO professionals.  You might be able to find some good talent by attending one of their events or reaching out to their instructors to see who they recommend within their networks. 


In terms of people in my network, I do not know anyone at this time that would fit the exact role you are trying to fill as an employee. 


 If you guys are willing to work with independent contractors or consultants that might be a different story.  In general that challenge in hiring for this position is getting someone that has all the skills you would like and who wants to work for someone else - a rare find!


It might be easier for you to get someone who is good at 1 growth channel that you are going to test for {company} and use your ex-consultant hire as the product manager for acquisition.  You can then just have 1 CRO consultant and 1 media buyer/acquisition consultant you work with until you can hire for these positions. 


Similarly, you can try to hire someone who is really good at CRO for Shopify (or whatever ecom platform you are on) and then get a consultant to test 1-2 acquisition channels until you can hire internally for that position (or vice versa).  


Regardless of the option you take, it will allow you to use your current hire as the head of growth or product manager for acquisition so you’re not trying to find someone who has deep technical expertise and is also qualified to lead your marketing team (the unicorn hire).   


Another thing to keep in mind is your analytics infrastructure.  If you’re trying to build a multi 8 figure brand, independent of amazon you need to have your own analytics infrastructure in place.  


To get an idea of how technical this can get I suggest checking out StitchFix’s data science/data engineering blog Multithreaded.  They discuss everything from how they hire to how they use their algorithms team to enhance user experience and keep track of experiments. 


After wrapping your head around how technical things can get in terms of user experience and CRO optimizations on your own platform, you can start building a basic plan for building your own analytics infrastructure. 


I am in no way recommending stitch fix as a model for growing eCommerce companies.  I had discussed this during our in person meeting the day prior as an extreme example of what can be done with a fully matured data infrastructure / experimentation processes / team.  Below I outline the practical route for startup founders. 


The best resource for getting started down that route is familiarizing yourself with some of Tristan Handy’s work with his consulting company Fishtown Analytics (formerly RJ Metrics).  This should give you a concrete set of next steps for who you need to hire to support your analytics infrastructure.  


I suggest you think about your challenge in building your marketing organization this way. 


You need these 2 main things to do “growth”:


  1. Growth team 
  2. Analytic Infrastructure to be able to track and showcase the experiments your running


When you are just starting out this might be one guy doing paid acquisition (FB ads, Google ads, etc…) and one guy doing CRO and making sure your tracking and google analytics is setup properly. 


As your company grows you will eventually need at least 1 person taking care of all of your data.  This could be the ex-consultant hire you have now.  Eventually it might be hard for him to handle the deep technical knowledge that requires while managing all the front end marketing.  


In an ideal world you would eventually have a highly capable head of growth (managing all front end testing and experimentation) and a head of analytics (managing data pipelining and company wide analytics reporting).


The problem with this is that starting out with all these people is going to be way too expensive.  This is why I suggest using an outside consultant to fill at least one of these positions (assuming your ex-consultant team member is able to learn the hands on portion of the other set of skills, CRO or paid acquisition, quickly).


This will also allow your ex-consultant team member learn on the job and become the head of growth you want him to be while learning to identify consultants and contractors who are not performing.  It will also allow you to take your time while you are looking for the team members you want to hire to replace consultants.


Anyway, I hope that all makes sense. Please let me know what other questions this brief overview inspires!  Really enjoyed hearing a little bit about what you are trying to do with {company} and am excited for you and your team. 


I definitely think you are going about building your marketing organization the right way.  99% of people I have worked with are not asking these questions until it is way too late.  So, I have no doubt you guys are going to be massively successful!


Very Respectfully

-Ian


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