Expert Speaks: In Conversation with Rod Austin, Founder of Growthority

Today, on ‘Expert Speaks‘, we have Rod Austin, Founder of Growthority, also worked as a Director of Marketing in Pagely. He is a seasoned marketing professional with deep experience driving growth, expanding brands, and have the creative ability to transform new ideas into actionable and effective marketing strategies.

In this interview, Rod talks about his journey, how challenges motivate him and his daily life.

We are indeed thankful for Rod, that he could find time to answer our questions with utmost patience, making each of his answers highly useful and effective to our readers.

Tell us something about your background and how exactly did you get involved with WordPress?

I first came across WordPress in 2004 while running a small agency called GridSix. The goal was to find an easier way to build web pages for client projects, and Mambo (now Joomla) was that preferred CMS platform at the time – but it was (and still is) harder for clients to navigate on their own. So I experimented with WordPress quite a bit, ultimately deciding that it wasn’t ready for client work – it was still very blog-centric at the time, and I sporadically used it for that purpose.

Tell us about your experience with the WordPress ecosystem? 

I started using WordPress for the vast majority of my client work around 2008, and while I’ve dabbled in theme and plugin creation, client work dominated my experience with the platform – until I became the Director of Marketing at Pagely, a managed WP hosting company. In that role, I supported our team goal to participate in the WP community through events, interviews and thought leadership efforts, and ultimately became much more involved myself.

What aspect of marketing do you focus on?

I usually focus on the full marketing funnel, from acquisition (SEM, paid channels, content, ABM, etc) to conversion optimization, activation, retention, and expansion. With that said, SEO and content are usually the cornerstones of most marketing campaigns that I manage. I’ve covered both B2B and B2C campaigns but have focused on SaaS marketing projects more in recent years.

So, what’s your normal day look like??

Mornings are typically reserved for catching up on communication with clients, prospects, and contractors to make sure the rest of the day is open for research and implementation. I also try to spend at least an hour of each day learning something new, whether that be a new project idea that I want to explore or a particular marketing concept/technique I want to try.

You worked so many years in the Marketing field for WordPress so what are the major changes you feel in these years?

WordPress has definitely taken over the top slot not just in the CMS space, but as the driver behind 30% of all web pages. That growth has led to an explosion in themes, page builders, plugins and advanced WP customization concepts, as well as the community that supports those areas. This popularity does come with a downside – WP is a common target for hackers, but the community and companies supporting the platform have done a solid job of keeping the dark side at bay.

What are the projects you are currently working on?

I recently built a marketing community called Marketable, where members can share and discuss popular marketing articles and tools. The project is powered by WordPress and a customized theme & plugin.

I’ve also started exploring the idea of creating a new marketing platform called Dotmos, where many of the common marketing functions are consolidated into one tool, making for a more efficient and cost-effective growth environment.

As far as I know, you worked with different people and companies. So, what have you learned from working in different companies?

No two companies are the same. Knowing that from the start and navigating through their unique goals and challenges has been one of the main drivers of my success over the years.

According to you, what will be the new Marketing Techniques for WordPress/WooCommerce?

The top-of-funnel (acquisition) aspects of WordPress are fairly well covered: there are plenty of SEO, social, advertising and email plugins that cover most of that work & integrations. Where I see WP and Woo growing is further down the funnel, especially in areas that manage customer data, retention and beyond – while addressing privacy and accessibility challenges.

We know it’s difficult to manage your work-life balance, so how do you unwind yourself after a long day?

I try to reserve 30 minutes to an hour at the end of each day to do something just for me, typically unwinding with a TV show or PC game. This creates some separation between my workday and my evenings and weekends with the family, making that time distraction-free.

What is the motivation behind your success and what advice you want to give people who want to follow your path?

Providing for my family is definitely my primary motivator. The side bonus is that I enjoy what I do – I like exploring new ideas & projects, and both internet marketing and WordPress evolve fast enough to make that a never-ending process.

So for those that want to follow this path, you definitely need to embrace change, like problem-solving and stay curious no matter what life throws at you.

Hope, his journey will inspire you…

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