MG meets Ana Grasic Karic, Head of Growth at KickAssGrowth, a growth hacking agency that helps businesses to achieve rapid and sustainable growth. In this exclusive interview Ana talks about the importance of social media, the threat of artificial intelligence and why the AARRR funnel could be the key to achieving ROI! Don’t worry, all will be revealed below…
Hi Ana, you’ve recently been promoted to Head of Growth – please could you give our readers a quick update of your key tasks for this role and how you implement these in the workplace…
My job is to plan, budget, oversee and document all aspects of the projects I am working on. These include brainstorming, research, client communication, creating monthly and weekly sprints and ensuring all my clients and team members are happy and fulfilling their KPIs!
Speaking of KPIs, you’re also responsible for cultivating company culture. Can you give an example of a successful strategy or initiative you’ve introduced that’s helped your team to deliver ROI…
Well, KickAssGrowth has a really specific company culture that doesn’t focus on hierarchy, yet we are all motivated by one specific goal: to learn and grow together. For example, I often work with my team on their tasks and we try different strategies together. By motivating each other, we are able to promote a positive company culture – one that is not afraid to make mistakes and – more importantly – learn from them.
You’ve been involved in sales and marketing since 2009… what made you choose this as a career?
Actually, marketing is something that grabbed my attention from a very young age, so I knew it would be somehow involved in my career. I was lucky to find something I enjoy so much pretty early in life, so my career progressed naturally in this direction.
Please could you tell us how you started on the career ladder and how the role of marketing has changed during this period…
When it came to marketing I started as an intern, then account manager for a big travel agency that had an in-house magazine. I was involved in typical ATL and BTL marketing and at the time billboards and events were still doing the trick. However, Facebook was slowly becoming a great way to promote, and I was eager to see in which direction this would take me. Also, back in 2014, more people were attending seminars, rather than watching webinars (as is the norm today).
In your experience, what are the three key attributes every entrepreneur should have if they want to succeed in business?
In my opinion it’s pretty simple: work hard, never lose motivation, but be flexible when it comes to new trends. Oh, and you should always remain humble in what ever you do!
Growth hacker, digital marketer, tech blogger, project manager… that’s a lot of roles and skills, which are your favourites and why?
Well, they are all pretty much connected since being a growth hacker means you are able to do some (in my case tech) copywriting and be well informed about digital marketing. However, project management is something completely different, which involves the organisation of my team. I must confess, I most enjoy penning a good article or two!
You’re a growth hacking expert. Please could you give our readers a quick breakdown of what this involves and why companies should be looking to utilise it…
Well, in the case of KickAssGrowth, our mission is to provide growth for clients with specialised services throughout the entire AARRR funnel. To be more specific: acquisition, activation, referral, retention and revenue. Speaking of the last ‘R’; everyone wants to see an increase in revenue – growth hacking helps you achieve this in the fastest way possible.
How essential has social media been in getting your message across?
Extremely! It’s just a case of picking the right channel. When it comes to social, people usually just think of Facebook and Twitter, however you also have channels like Quora, Reddit and Hackernews, which in some cases are even more powerful.
Do you keep a keen eye on the latest developments in tech? If so, what do you think will be the top trending topic of 2019?
Yes, I like to stay informed and my colleagues always share the latest tech news with me. I think that blockchain and other disruptive technologies will be the hot topics of 2019.
What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence and how it will affect people’s careers going forward?
Honestly, it scares me a lot. In a couple of years machines will be smarter than people! On the other hand, I don’t think they will affect human careers that fast as there are a lot of adjustments to be made. I am sure that some positions won’t be needed, but it’s something that is expected and has already happened with the development of technology.
What’s your one piece of advice to a job seeker who is having trouble securing an interview, let alone a new job?
Keep on trying! I have friends that don’t want to work unless it’s a well-paid job or in their field of interest and that’s something you shouldn’t afford yourself. Unless you are a successful serial entrepreneur. The more you work, the more you meet new people, the more opportunities you’ll get!
Health and wealth… are the two mutually exclusive?
It all depends on one’s habits and lifestyle, but I’m sure that if you’re disciplined to work hard, you must also be able to eat healthy and train often. The only thing I see that may cause a problem is lack of sleep, but in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘Sleep faster!’ 😉
Enough about work, let’s hear more about ice cream… what’s your favourite flavour?
What a hard question! Ice cream flavours shouldn’t be discriminated against. One day it’s all about stracciatella, and sometimes I crave pistachios or cookies. Not forgetting chocolate and vanilla. You see – I can’t make up my mind!
You love to travel. Do you have a recommendation of where our readers should travel to next?
I just came back from a trip to Zanzibar and it’s my honest recommendation! I’ve traveled a lot, but also had the pleasure of living in several exotic places like China, Thailand and Lebanon. I feel the beauty in traveling is getting to know the people, their habits, everyday life and thoughts. Therefore I can say that I am truly amazed by Thai people; they’re extremely kind, positive and always smiling.
Finally, what’s your most hated industry buzzword?
‘Growth hacking’, believe it or not! People don’t understand the right meaning of the words.