CXL Institute Growth Marketing Mini Degree Week 3 Review

Jon Davis
4 min readDec 28, 2020

Not as much progress was made in the mini degree this week. It was a combination of being the week of Christmas and being extremely frustrated with the quiz for “User Centric Marketing” section. I finally passed it tonight on my fourth attempt. I’m familiar with traditional test taking (I have an MBA). I’m going to rant for a little about the quiz structure, so if you don’t care about this rant, go ahead and skip ahead a few paragraphs till after you see “/end-rant” and I’ll get into what I got out of the content.

In the test for “User Centric Marketing” there were two types of questions. There were single answer multiple-choice questions (ie. “What is a semantic differential survey?” With only one answer to select from) and then there were questions that were multiple choice questions like the one listed below. I’m going to be focusing on one of those to illustrate the frustration with this.
“Which of the following data sources helps you better understand your audience?”

  • Dwell time (time on page?)
  • Search Terms
  • Bounce Rates
  • Page Visits

Firstly, would you select all of them? Cause I did for the answer for my first test and it was incorrect. That makes no sense to me… Want to know what the correct answer is? Dwell time, Search terms and page visits. I wholeheartedly disagree with this correct answer. Bounce rate can be extremely informative to how effective your page is and goes hand in hand with time on page. I’ve even learned about looking into bounce rates from CXL, so this was extremely frustrating. This was only the example of one question, but hopefully illustrates the frustration. It seems the test answers are a little fractured for each section vs. the overall content. I really wonder if they have the author of that section create the quiz vs. having CXL oversee the quiz creation.

Also, if someone is reading this from CXL, please, please pleeeease change the multiple selection quizzes. They come across as “gotchas” that is so prevalent in academia and not truly informative teaching. I’m not going to be covering much of the content out of this section, because that ridiculous test puts such a bad taste in my mouth about the content from that section. If I encounter another test like that, I will likely stop taking the mini degree altogether. I’ve gone through enough of that rigamaroo in achieving my MBA, that I refuse to subject myself to it for any longer, because it brought no true applicable learning and only frustration.


The major growth channels mentioned in this “Growth Channels” section are:

  1. PPC (Also known as “SEM”)
  2. SEO (Also called “Search Engine Optimization”)
  3. Social Ads
  4. Display Ads
  5. Email
  6. Content (blogs, forums)

I did find that they missed a channel which was “partner marketing” or also known as “affiliate marketing” as well as “influencer marketing.” Many notable high-growth companies have used both of those marketing channels to grow their users/customers. I’ll be focusing on the six previously mentioned major growth channels though.

The course instructor recommends identifying your top three growth channels, finding where your customers are and taking into account how long each of the channels take to scale. For example, PPC can be scaled quite rapidly within a few months, whereas SEO really takes up to a year or longer to fully scale depending on the scope of your campaign(s).

The instructor mentioned emerging channels to keep your eye on such as: tik tok (big potential in my opinion if your audience is there), Mobile, VR, and Augmented Reality.

In regards to augmented reality, my opinion is that the future there is more in applications, or being a product itself, vs. being a marketing channel. If there is ad space that can be purchased inside of a popular and relevant augmented reality, then I could see an application, and that is perhaps what she meant.

She had some great sections in debunking myths about some of the major growth marketing channels. The first was about social media marketing. One example was “It’s hard to track,” Which it isn’t. You can use UTM parameters (or other parameters specific to your analytics) in your URL that you use alongside your other ad tracking that can help provide you with the data in your analytics client to give you the data about the results/effectiveness of that channel. A lot of e-commerce companies have used facebook and instagram social media for high growth. Another great idea she gave for demonstrating the value of social media is to tie the click value of what you’re paying on display or ppc compared to what you’re paying for social media. I’d assume that she is speaking to the cost of the social media contractor or employee pay compared to clicks compared to ads. I think this is a great metric, but there needs to be consideration for the cost of ads, plus the cost of the person running the ads, plus the cost of the creative production of the ads if it is outside of the practitioner to get a full picture. I’d also want to add to not rely purely on the cost of clicks, but have the channels ties to specific metrics such as purchases or form fills since that’s the ultimate goal.

To give an example, I was recently doing some lead generating for a real estate company and we were using lead form ads on facebook and getting leads for 1/10th of the cost of what we were getting them for on Google Search Ads. Were we to only focus on that metric alone, we would have put all the spend to Facebook. The outcome though was even beyond the leads to the quality of the leads. The leads on Facebook were absolute trash and were upsetting the real estate broker’s agents because they were such low quality. They were wasting time calling/contacting them along with the money for the leads. We switched the spend back to Adwords and the client was happy again. Moral of the story: focus on growth channels, but align your metrics to the metrics that benefit the company.