Less obvious backgrounds
The career paths of Lead Growth Hacker Susanna Neiglick and Lead Growth Strategist Markku Nykänen haven’t been obvious. They both have a humanistic background with studies from areas like psychology, computer science, literature and even cinema research. But how did they end up in growth hacking?
“I like teamwork, experimenting and finding out how things work which is a fitting mindset for a Growth Hacker. I have a Master of Arts degree, but my studies are a jumble of a bit of everything, ranging from computer science to behavioral science, psychology and communication. I also have some research background in the social sciences. I started with computers and coding at around age 6, so yes, I’m a geek born and bred. A recent interest is the neuroscience of dance, so we’ve got that covered too,” Susanna laughs.
“I’ve also studied a bit of this and that too. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from the Faculty of Arts and a Master’s in Social Sciences. In addition to studies in communications, I have a combination of studies in social psychology, Finnish language, literature and film studies. Before going to university I studied filmmaking for one year. It was my first passion which also led me to the world of communication and media culture,” Markku explains.
Markku and Susanna show that you don’t need a business degree to work in growth marketing. People skills, the ability to learn and adapt and a generalist approach are valuable when working with a wide range of industries, projects and people.
“The skills I’ve gained from my studies and my previous work experience are in good use when growth hacking. Honest and honed critical thinking, research method knowledge and a sprinkle of scripting skills every now and then form a very good basis for the role,” Susanna explains.
Connecting the dots
In addition to being interested in a broad range of different topics, Susanna and Markku look at their work from the same point of view. Building long-term partnerships and value for clients guides their work.
“We look at our work very much through helping. Truly understanding the customer creates long-term relationships and helps the customer grow and develop. Sure, numbers and results are also important, but building partnerships through trust and understanding is invaluable,” Markku explains.
“Indeed. We bring change to our customers’ organizations. I’m curious by nature. Learning about how various industries operate and helping our customers change their ways of working and through that, their organizations are key motivators to me”, Susanna adds.
Experience from many different areas helps Markku and Susanna succeed in their current roles. They are able to understand different people and communicate in a way that makes sense to everybody. This way they connect the dots between different teams and the client.
“I often act as a bridge between development, marketing and communication. I try to communicate clearly between these business functions, which helps clients’ projects move forward faster,” Susanna explains.
“That’s another thing that connects us, we act as bridges between content people and more technical people by communicating understandably to both sides. I don’t know if it’s the humanist background, our multidisciplinary background, or the knowledge of several areas that makes it easy to interact with different groups,” Markku explains.
Great minds think alike
In addition to sharing similar career paths, Susanna and Markku share similar interests outside the office.
“Markku gave me a sourdough starter, which unfortunately passed away during the summer when I was sailing” Susanna laughs.
“Oh no! You’ll get a new one. And Susanna gave me a kombucha scoby, we both like to ferment things. We haven’t studied chemistry yet, so this is how we tap into that area too”, Markku laughs.
“Ever since Susanna’s first project at Genero we’ve noticed similarities in our thinking. It’s been a pleasure to work and learn together”, Markku says.
“Yep, we’re a colleague match made in heaven!” Susanna agrees.