Jelle Kies

From Growth Hacking Trainee to Growth Manager at Google

Jelle Kies started his growth hacking adventure in 2018. After working at his traineeship company Bunq for a while, he made the leap to Google in Dublin. We asked him some questions about how he got there.

Dope role at Google, Jelle! How did you end up there?

Well, after I finished the traineeship I kept on working at Bunq for 89 months. At Bunq I occasionally had meetings with an account manager from Google, to discuss our Google Ads spend. At some point I just asked her: do you think I could work at Google, too? I had been to Ireland for a summit before, and I applied soon after and luckily got the job.

Awesome, what happened after?

And then you’re suddenly in Ireland. I had never been to Dublin, so everything was new. To be fair, everything was really impressive. It’s a company that really takes care of their employees, and you’re surrounded by a lot of smart people. I honestly thought in the first weeks: what am I doing here? Why did they hire ME? But I got used to it after a short amount of time.

What do you do exactly?

I started off doing more operational stuff and growth hacking, but now I’m in a more specialized role. I advise traditional web-focused companies in Northern Europe and the UK on their app strategy. I work with 25+ different companies, from VakantieVeilingen to Manchester United and help them with the transition from web focus to app focus. When looking at the AAARRR funnel, I’m really only focussing on acquisition now.

It’s been an awesome experience so far. I got to travel a lot, to London, Scandinavia and LA. You learn a lot because you get to experience different kinds of companies and industries. In 2 years time I’ve spoken to over a 100 different companies with all sorts of challenges and business models. 

What kind of advice would you give to people who’d like a similar career?

I soon found out that I’m not the guy who should be fiddling around with tools all day. Other people can do that better than me. I’m someone that can talk about the tools and digital skills and understand how it works, but the execution part is not something for me. So I started thinking about what would be good for me, and ended up in a more account management-like role. So basically: do the stuff you’re good at and forget about the rest.

How has the traineeship helped you to get where you are now?

Most importantly it has shaped my way of thinking. Topics such as lean startup and product-market fit really resonated with me and I still use this knowledge on my current job, when analyzing businesses to work with for example. At Bunq I gained experience in the online acquisition field, and because I had experience with apps I got the job at Google.

What does the TTI Community mean to you?

When I was working at Bunq, the TTI Community helped me a lot. I was the most experienced digital marketeer at Bunq at that time, so I had to do a lot of stuff by myself. I found a lot of help by asking questions to the community on Slack. Our traineeship group was very close so we were able to help each other a lot. Later on, I’ve also been to a couple of community events, and it’s a good opportunity to see everyone again.

Have you got some tips/​tricks for young professionals who are just starting?

Don’t let them fool you. Digital Marketing has so many different domains. At first you can get overwhelmed: do I really have to know every single thing? But that’s not the case. You don’t have to know everything. Don’t let them get to you and don’t think you’re not good enough at something. Just do it. Ask a lot of questions. Just keep on going and don’t let them grind you down.

Which skills do you think everyone should have?

Being organized. Make sure you work highly organized so that you’re able to go through your week efficiently. If you’re not organized as a marketeer, and you don’t know what you’re trying to test or validate, it’s all going to get messy. You won’t know where you’re going. So stay organized and know what you’re trying to accomplish and try to focus on that. Everything else is just noise.

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