Office Hours: I'm Kat Garcia, Growth Architect at BCG Digital Ventures, contributor at Forbes, and founder of The Corporate Diary.Featuredhttp://katgarciaonline.com

jessicali's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for joining us, @katgarcia. Elphas: please reply in the comments with your questions for @katgarcia before this Friday. She may not have time to answer every single question, so please emoji upvote the ones that interest you most. Thanks!!
Mishatb's profile thumbnail
What led you to your role at Accenture?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
A lot of events led me there.Management consulting isn't something I knew much about and often was intimidated by, in how corporate the space was. I knew I wouldn't fit in within the realms of a very corporate culture because of my creativity. I had an e-commerce in 2012 and one of the people I had partnered with for a fashion show ended up a Deloitte Digital. We kept in touch and she reached out to me about working in digital consulting.At the time, consulting firms were acquiring digital agencies. Deloitte had Heat, Accenture had Fjord and now Droga5, and other leading consulting firms were building their digital practice. It was the perfect combination between creativity and analysis - a corporate setting with rules and creative minds looking to break barriers.I ended up interviewing at the Big 4, and strategy consulting firms. Accenture ended up being the best fit.
Mishatb's profile thumbnail
Thanks @katgarcia! It sounds like your network to create awareness, your experience and expertise staying connected to your value and alignment of timing. Do you feel like your role now offers less opportunity for you to be creative? If so, what are you doing to let that energy flow in other areas of your life?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Thanks @Mishatb! Happy to help. I have to say I've never felt more at ease in terms of fit than where I'm at now - DV and within my role as a Growth Architect within the realm of corporate VC. I get to create and grow startups! Management consulting is a great place to start though as creative as a firm may be, it's still restricting because of the nature of the industry. Given my background in acting in television, I would say that I do get to use my excess creativity in writing, public speaking and talking on camera. I do all of this on Forbes, The Corporate Diary and my YouTube :-)
Mishatb's profile thumbnail
Love the balance Kat! Thanks again for all of your shares here.
sfkts's profile thumbnail
How did you start contributing to Forbes.
roshalmascarenhas's profile thumbnail
YASS! I've been wanting to know this for a while now! :(
talealimi's profile thumbnail
Hi Kat, nice to have you here. What are the core functions of a growth Architect and how does this apply to a startup that wants to grow fast?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
A Growth Architect is at the forefront of product, finance, marketing and technology. Growth Architects at DV are responsible for incubating growth thinking into ventures at every stage, from ideation (i.e. innovation) to customer adoption (incubation and commercialization). We continuously seek to evolve the industry standard for growth best practices, rapidly inventing transformative new strategies to validate launch and scale our ventures. The work spans across product, finance, marketing and technology, and we drive successful growth by leveraging the symbiotic relationship that exists between them. Through a hypothesis-driven, rapid test and learn approach, we strategize, implement and execute go-to-market activities that ensure best in class customer acquisition, engagement and retention.As an example, we'll run market validation tests using marketing tech stack tools and growth modeling, across a variety of channels to understand: product-market fit, market size & potential, generate unit economic metrics (i.e. CAC, LTV, CPC, CTR, etc.) to serve as inputs into the financial model, branding support, and more. Driving a venture's growth ultimately sits a Growth Architect. It's strategic but also very much hands-on, more than I've ever seen.
talealimi's profile thumbnail
Great insight!. Thank you for sharing.
Keerthana890's profile thumbnail
Thank you for taking the time @katgarcia ! I am co-founder of an early stage startup that is building a platform to help companies manage all their supply chain data and generate carbon + water footprints for products produced in the supply chain. We also provide end - to - end traceability from seed to product using digital IDs for our products. We are currently building MVP. My question is - we have a few people interested in our offerings, and have contacted us. How much revenue should we generate before we step into first round of funding to ensure we mitigate early stage risk as much as possible? I am certain I need to go the venture route because our product is expensive to build (blockchain, AI etc), and we want to scale quickly. Thanks a ton - Keerthana
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Very exciting! I'm assuming you'd be raising pre-seed? I've seen a couple of founders try to raise pre-revenue and have it be difficult as it presents a greater risk for VC's who will want to see a more tangible return and potential prior to investing. Raising through angels (angel.co) and syndicates is a good way to obtain capital to move the product along. Besides including market sizing, it's always possible to showcase reach through in-market experiments. Creating a non-branded campaign using social or search to determine the market demand and lead generation estimation is a good way to showcase real-time and in-market revenue potential. Leads and subscriptions support sales and showcasing there's market appetite for your product is a good way to show VCs why your product is worth investing in.
Keerthana890's profile thumbnail
@katgarcia Thank a ton for the advice. We spoke to a VC firm that specifically focusses on circular economy investments (our suite of products are designed to launch circularity programs with brands), and she asked us to keep her in the loop, because they usually invest series A onwards. It makes sense for us to follow your advice on lead generation. I was wondering If I could reach out to you once we are ready to start our first round of fundraising?
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It seems like many products are growing from community first -> then product. What tips do you have on building a personal brand with the goal of eventually building a product for that audience based on learnings from engaging with the community? At what point, do you know you have a special community that you can really build something for? Are there qual/quan metrics that define that?
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There isn't a one size fits all, and I do agree that it's what is now popular. I often think about Glossier (blog to unicorn beauty brand), Femstreet (VC newsletter for women), and influencers (free organic content to paid media).Understand first, what you're looking to build. What is the goal? Using your personal brand as one vehicle to attain that goal will require a strategy. See my response on this thread on building a personal brand.In terms of when to use your special community, again it depends. Influencers who have 5,000 followers sometimes go on and on about being micro-influencer given their incredibly high engagement rate on Instagram. Knowing this, they'll require brands to pay them. Other influencers may have 500,000 followers and get $0 worth of conversions with low engagement rates. Ultimately, what are the KPI's of the platforms your community is on and how can they be used to generate value - whether monetary or not - towards your customers (end goal)? When you get to a good benchmark, that's when you'll know. Note, benchmarks and KPI's differ across every platform and industry. Run a scan and either create your database or look for one depending on where you want to be.
MelissaHui's profile thumbnail
Hi Kat! Thank you for sharing your expertise and insights. I'm curious about how you structure your time and balance between The Corporate Diary, writing for Forbes, and your work at BCG Digital Ventures. What advice do you have for Elphas looking to excel in their day jobs and do things that they love that helps build their careers?
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1) Your day job comes firstBCGDV is my priority and depending on the work I have to do there, I'll balance my spare time (evenings and weekends) to Kat Garcia Online and portfolio brands (Kat Garcia Blog, The Corporate Diary, Koach Kat, Ladies Who Lunch, and all other partnerships like Forbes writing). It's important to always focus on your day job first, and be the very best at your craft before jumping into side / external projects to support career building. I'm grateful to know that I work at a place like DV that champions my entrepreneurship and I will say that finding a place that "gets it", makes the world of a difference. 2) Be kind to yourselfI've been building my online presence for 10+ years across platforms and there were years I pushed more than others. It's not easy and being kind to yourself is my most important tip. You can't have it all and sometimes it's recognizing what you want to say "Yes" to.3) Structure your +1s I often think about how to best structure my "+1's" and how to create synergies between my work at DV and future career goals. For Kat Garcia, I've gone about creating a content strategy to understand the following:- sub-brand- goal (conversion, awareness, deal flow) - type (organic, paid, etc.)- content type (article, video, partnership, email, social, etc.)- platform channel (website, blog, email newsletter, social, partnership, YouTube, etc.)Creating a calendar, and using marketing tech stack and automation tools can also help. 4) Create synergiesWhen I first started out on YouTube, I was making viral videos about auditioning for Disney channel. I was an actress at the time and shared behind the scenes to my life as a TV actor on set. It was great! However, when I went to business school and needed to rebrand my online persona, I began to look for ways to create content or have my +1s relate to where I wanted to be. "The Corporate Diary" came about. When I partner with brands and say "Yes" to my time, I always ask myself how it will help my current firm, my career, future goals, communities I support and my mental health + happiness. 5) Get supportJust like you have people who audit your work, have a board of directors in your life who can help audit your "+1s".
MelissaHui's profile thumbnail
Kat, thank you so much for your incredible and thoughtful response! Your thoughts around structuring your +1s was both insightful and powerful, and I really appreciated seeing how you've knitted everything that makes you both genuine and unique into a cohesive brand. Thank you again!!
TCBotten's profile thumbnail
I am interested in learning more about your work in Digital Transformation. Since many companies fail to implement it correctly, what do you think is the biggest differentiation for companies who are successful?
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Great question! I've been fortunate to work on digital transformations for some of the largest Fortune 100's. 1) Embrace the changeSuccessful transformations are with firms who can admit they need to change and have the change management approach or mindset to do so. Corporates are large because they've been successful at what they do best and at their core. However, digital transformations are there to help giants remain and ego's need to be set to the side, while recognizing the change is a necessary to keep winning. 2) Build for the user - not the bottom line Digital transformations - even when internal - are to support the business. The business is the product. The product is built for the user. Having been staffed as a Product Manager on a consulting case a couple years back, I recall discussing the importance of building user stories and features to reflect the user's needs. The company's executives were the ones in workshops informing the product, rather than the user. This didn't sit well with me but corporates sometimes think the bottom line comes first even when there's bias. Those who put their ego aside have greater success and can utilize an innovative culture to push the needle.Successful digital transformations and product development are not about the business. Again, it's about what's best for the user, who will then support the bottom line through conversion and sales.
TCBotten's profile thumbnail
@katgarcia - Thank you so much for your insights and perspective on Digital Transformation. How did you get started in consulting for Digital Transformation? What would you recommend for someone interested in working in this area?
yasminnozari's profile thumbnail
Thank you Kat! Would love to hear more about your day to day work with startups as a growth architect. What are your top 5 tips for startup growth?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Hi! Every day is different and it also depends on the industry, concept/product and venture stage. No company is the same. We can average benchmarks when building something new but every startup will experience its set of growing pains. Similarly to the question above, I'll describe what a Growth Architect at BCGDV does and who they are. Note, that at BCGDV, a team is responsible for building a concept and startup from the ground up. This is done alongside our corporate partners (i.e. Fortune 500's). A Growth Architect is at the forefront of product, finance, marketing and technology.Growth Architects at DV are responsible for incubating growth thinking into ventures at every stage, from ideation (i.e. innovation) to customer adoption (incubation and commercialization). We continuously seek to evolve the industry standard for growth best practices, rapidly inventing transformative new strategies to validate launch and scale our ventures. The work spans across product, finance, marketing and technology, and we drive successful growth by leveraging the symbiotic relationship that exists between them. Through a hypothesis-driven, rapid test and learn approach, we strategize, implement and execute go-to-market activities that ensure best in class customer acquisition, engagement and retention.As an example, we'll run market validation tests using marketing tech stack tools and growth modeling, across a variety of channels to understand: product-market fit, market size & potential, generate unit economic metrics (i.e. CAC, LTV, CPC, CTR, etc.) to serve as inputs into the financial model, branding support, and more.Driving a venture's growth ultimately sits a Growth Architect. It's strategic but also very much hands-on, more than I've ever seen.--As for quick tips, I'd keep in mind a couple of buckets.1) Unit economics: What are your metrics? Work on driving LTV up and CAC down through a series of exercises. Understand how margin-based marketing, SEO, content strategy, email marketing, media buying and similar relate to ultimately drive these metrics where you want them to go. 2) Test & Learn: When we think of digital marketing, we often go straight into A/B testing. There's so much more to test and learn methods than straight A/B tests. You can use testing strategies to get branded vs. non-branded unit economics, market appetite for your products, test landing pages, full funnel and attribution. You can test markets, channels, spend allocation/media mix, devices, and so much more! 3) SEO: Understanding how platform algorithms work and how to boost search ranking through SEO expertise and content strategy is top of mind when scaling. 4) Martech Stack: Automation tools and marketing tech stack is something startups often forget to use to support their busy teams. Simplify your life and find ways to invest in marketing tech stack tools across efforts. 5) Start with the basics: Find basic wins. Low hanging fruits. I often see founders breaking their heads over ways to grow and scale forgetting their network, word of mouth, and PR. Apply the 80/20 rule there.
sophiayenmd's profile thumbnail
What are your top 3 tips for personal branding? How do you become a brand?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
1) What are your values?When I was interviewing for jobs, in the corporate world, companies always asked me to recite their values. It was quite strange. Ultimately, I recall working in Management Consulting for a client whose values were on their doors and hallways. They often were quoted during meetings too! I realized I had never asked myself what my own values were as a human being. When you're building a brand, you create brand values that will inform your messaging. It will inform the culture you create and how others see you. From a personal branding perspective, understanding what your values are is the first step. What do you want people to associate to your name? As a brand associate test, ask people: "What is the first thing / quality you think of when you hear my name?" Build from there.2) Your work should speak for itselfBeing able to build a personal brand is great but ultimately, you work should always speak for itself. When you think about what you do for a living and what you want to achieve through your work, can it stand on its own without the marketing? As a growth person, you want to sell an amazing product. 3) Platforms & strategyThere are endless ways you can do this. It can be building a personal brand through word of mouth, an email newsletter, building a product and company, a content hub, social media, and much more. Coming up with a platform you can join or create yourself to distribute across other channels is always a great way to build a personal brand. However, the primary way is to always think about your immediate circle. Who and how are you to those who you interact with more intimately on a day to day?
kristinelocker's profile thumbnail
Hi Kat! Thank you for giving your time to answer some of our questions -- I would love to hear your advice on the best way to acquire initial users through press publications and social media.
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Great way to acquire leads. Ultimately, press and social are awareness (top of the funnel) focused platforms but you don't own that data until its in your own space. As you think about your attribution model, look for a way to build a landing page for email or personal data information to own your leads. Find partnerships - free press - to highlight your work. Even if the blogs themselves are small, it all counts. Similarly for social, using lead gen forms across different platforms is a good way to get your ads out there while acquiring leads easily.
ShirleyNgo's profile thumbnail
Hi Kat -- I come from a similar background to you from Accenture (I come from IBM Digital). I'm curious to learn about what you do at BCG Digital Ventures and what you do specifically in a Growth Architect role. I have been really interested in moving into the start-up world and have been interested in "growth"-type roles and what they would entail. Thanks, Shirley
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Hi, very cool! 😎 Check out my 2 replies on what a Growth Architect is and how we work at DV.
jenniferburns's profile thumbnail
Thank you @katgarcia for taking the time! I am the founder of Wedzee and I would love to hear more about your thoughts on startup incubators (we are currently working with Embarc Collective out of Tampa, FL where we are based), and your ideas on content strategy.
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Congrats on Wedzee. Beautiful and a smart business! Startup incubators are great. There are many different ones with a variety of models. It's both important to work with smart entrepreneurs who can support you through different points of views and feedback cycles, however, it's more important to find individuals who are experts in specific fields. For instance, working with an experience designer, a product manager, as strategic designer, growth architect, business "GM", and similar can help support your company by tackling it on all fronts. Ensuring you're getting that 360 perspective is crucial.I can talk about content strategy all day. Luckily, I distilled it in a couple of words with the help of DV'ers and platform leaders at TikTok, Pinterest and Quora. Check it out here:https://medium.com/bcg-digital-ventures/content-strategy-3-0-a-new-winning-formula-5aa6a1edf5de
AuryC's profile thumbnail
Hey @katgarcia! I’m curious if you have any books or online resources for learning unit economics in relation to VC outside of directly working in the field?
katgarcia's profile thumbnail
Great question! I often share some of my favorite articles or POVs on www.katgarciaonline.com newsletter. You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/katgarcianewsletterI also need to promote BCGDV and my Growth team here, ha! Check out our DV Medium page:Margin-Based Marketing - A healthy approach to growth, protecting margins at every turn: https://medium.com/bcg-digital-ventures/margin-based-marketing-acaba8467a25--Otherwise, I love the following:- Benedict Evans - Newsletter- Anand Sawal - CB Insights- The Consumer VC - Podcast and newsletter- Andrew Chen - Newsletter There are so many great ones out there but unit economics are usually embedded in consumer, marketing, early stage and product-market fit type content.
JessicaValenzuela's profile thumbnail
Hi Kat, a pleasure to meet you here. Thank you for joining us! Two questions for you.1. Where does big data and marketing insights fall when it comes to a brand's digital transformation? 2. If there is push back on the use of data to drive decision-making, what tactics do you use to encourage brands to be more data-driven in their strategy and execution?
michalfinegold's profile thumbnail
Hi, thank you for doing this!With your experience growing companies, plus your background in the media, I thought you might have some advice on how I could pursue partnerships with media brands.I mentioned on another thread that I make this real-time easy to use animation app, PuppetMaster (www.puppetmaster.com). It has a lot of traction in schools and with kids, but the same patented technology is useful for professional content creation as well.I have specific ideas for partnering with with television networks, or various content brands. I can see clearly how my tech would save them money and add value, but I find it challenging to get an audience with the right decision makers - not sure specifically to whom I should reach out, or how best to do it.I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this.Thank you!
rachelbraunscherl's profile thumbnail
Looking forward to hearing your POV on all of the questions below.