Hire or Train? Can anyone really be a User Acquisition manager?

Hire or Train? Can anyone really be a User Acquisition manager?

“Anyone can be a user acquisition manager.” That’s what my girlfriend told me recently.  “Hah, you wish”, I thought. Then I realized, she could be right. Everyone can be an User Acqusition manager, but not everybody can be a good one. It’s not an easy job and very few appreciate it: trust me. I’ve been doing this for couple of years.

It started thinking about how hard could it be to hire a good User Acquisition manger month ago, when we started looking for a Performance marketing specialist. And who would have thought, we are still trying to find the right person.

Why is it so hard?

This position is not easy to hire. It’s nearly impossible to hire PPC specialist in ecommerce or other industries. So imagine finding someone with gaming experience.  The task of bringing on new team members can seem hard enough. In this case demand exceeds supply. There are far fewer people with relevant experience than there are open positions to fill. 

Location! That’s another problem. Gaming studios are spread all over the world, but we face a situation where no one within 50 km of our office has ever heard terms like Retention, ROI or LTV.

What should we do?

Hiring experienced, top-level performance marketing professional could be costly for us! But what does experienced/top-level actually mean? The truth is that no matter how great of a marketer you may consider yourself to be, it takes the dedication and skill of an entire team to succeed.

You don’t have to be someone with 10+ years of marketing experience working in high profile Silicon Valley startups.You need to be fresh, ambitious, intelligent and – most importantlypassionate

I find myself at the senior level. Why? It’s not only because the countless campaigns I created, not even maintaining a positive ROI, but mostly because I love what I do and I see myself doing this for a long period of time.
Of course, there are some requirements and skills you need to have.

What it takes?

1. Analytics in mind

PPC managers should have an analytical inclination and should be comfortable in working towards optimizing a set of metrics. This is crucial. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even smaller studios have business inteligence departments, where everything is handled by an analyst. By everything I mean things like LTV or p(l)ayer segmentation.

2. Embrace the change

One big obstacle for online marketing specialists or other job titles to overcome in moving to the gaming industry is changing their thinking about return on investment and cost per install. It requires a lot more attention than just cost per click campaigns. Adding mobile platform, whoah. Welcome to a new world of mobile advertising, App Store Optimization and a lot more.

3. Open your mind

Even without experience you need to think “out of the box”, in order to complete the day-to-day tasks of performance marketing: testing creatives and all variants, optimizing campaings against a specific metric and reporting results in a resonable form to managers.

Three pillars
analytics, change, creativity.

I guess training new PPC specialists and team members of our performance marketing team could be one solution. This obviously involves delayed productivity and a higher burden on existing team members (which I already feel!). In this case, we can take comfort in the fact that there are suitable candidates available, but with different job title

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