How to be a growth marketing anti-agency

“As a nerdy kid I loved tech and was fascinated by how business works,” says Cam Sinclair, founder of Australian growth marketing firm Ammo. “I always knew I wanted to find some way to help founders and innovators get their great ideas out into the world. After working in political campaigns, I realized that many of the skill sets overlapped with what startups need: moving fast, being lean, communicating well, being adaptable and staying flexible.”

In the latest installment of our ongoing interview series with top growth experts, Sinclair tells Anna Heim that his experience in politics “inspired me to grow an ‘anti-agency’ where startup founders could genuinely feel like they had someone on their team who understood their challenges and the risks they were taking.”

The TechCrunch team has been hard at work the past two weeks. We had a wildly successful Disrupt conference, with all sorts of growth-related discussions that we’ve included links to below. We also renamed Extra Crunch, our subscription service for startups, to TechCrunch+ and expanded its availability to dozens of new countries (read more about that here).

First up, though, here’s not one but two interviews that Anna did with top growth marketers. If you have a growth marketing expert that you think we should know about, let us know.

Growth marketing is not a magic trick, says Ellen Jantsch of Tuff: Anna had the chance to speak with Tuff founder Ellen Jantsch, who shares how they hire for their team, some pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency versus an in-house marketer and more. “We work with more than just e-commerce businesses; we flex into SaaS, fintech and B2B industries and it’s forced us to truly develop a model/process for growth and not just a playbook, meaning our channel and tactic mix is always different,” she says.

Australian growth marketing agency Ammo helps startups calibrate their efforts: Anna spoke with Ammo about their collaboration process with startups, how they know when a startup is ready to work with them and how they help startups develop a minimum viable brand. Sinclair, Ammo’s director, says, “In the past we have described our role as making ourselves obsolete — that our clients would grow large enough to be able to hire their own in-house marketing team. Today we still retain many of these client relationships in different ways by providing more strategic advice.”

(TechCrunch+) How Ryan Reynolds has mastered authentic marketing: During Disrupt, Jordan Crook spoke with Ryan Reynolds about his marketing agency, Maximum Effort. Jordan says, “At TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 this week, we sat down with Reynolds to discuss how startups can use ‘fast-vertising’ (a term Reynolds coined), which involves treating real-time cultural moments as a springboard, to build their own brand buzz.”

The Subtle Challenges of Assessing Product-Market Fit: TechCrunch News Editor Darrell Etherington hosts this Disrupt panel with guests Heather Hartnett, founding partner and CEO, Human Ventures; David Thacker, general partner, Greylock; and Victoria Treyger, general partner and managing director, Felicis Ventures. Listen in, “as they discuss the subtler challenges in finding and assessing fit.”

How to Accelerate Everything: In this Disrupt panel, “We brought together some of the best growth marketing minds across verticals to tell you how they conquered growth in 2021.” Hosted by Danny Crichton, he is joined by Jenifer Ho, VP, Marketing Elation Health, Inc.; Nik Sharma, CEO, Sharma Brands; and Shoji Ueki, head of Marketing and Analytics, Point.

How to Build Brand Buzz and Generate Influence in the Creator Economy: “What does it mean to build a brand in today’s competitive marketplace and how can you assess success?” Sushma Dwivedi, VP Communications; Alexis Gay, comedian and host of the podcast Non-Technical; and Julia Munslow, special projects editor, Yahoo News joined Taylor Hatmaker for a panel at Disrupt last week to discuss it and more.

Google ads to get more transparent by offering access to advertiser’s recent history: Sarah Perez dives into the most recent changes from Google Ads. She says, “The changes are a part of Google’s broader revamp of its ads business in the face of increased regulatory scrutiny and a broader shift across the tech industry to technologies that promote transparency and consumer privacy.”

(TechCrunch+) The death of identity: Knowing your customer in the age of data privacy: Ted Schlein, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins, writes about the importance of knowing your customer and how privacy demands are changing what customer data businesses should focus on. Schlein says, “While these developments threaten to upend how digital marketing is performed today, they signal a necessary, and effective, shift in the ways brands will understand their customers in the future.”