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Effie Hatzigiannopoulou-Bersoux, GrowthGirls: “A good marketer is made by “life””

GrowthGirls founder Efi Hatzigiannopoulou-Bersoux believes that a successful marketer is shaped by life experiences rather than merely by technical abilities learned in the workplace. To encourage creativity and innovation in marketing, she highlights the value of observing and obtaining inspiration from the surroundings, hobbies, and art.
Efi Bersoux

Effie Hatzigiannopoulou-Bersoux is the founder of GrowthGirls, a dynamic Growth Marketing Agency fueled by female power, which in its 3 years of operation has grown to have Fortune 500 companies as clients.

Originally from Thessaloniki, where she started her marketing career, Efi Hatzigiannopoulou-Bersoux has been based in London for years. GrowthGirls’ expertise lies in taking a holistic approach to company growth and her motto is “The truth is in the numbers”.

MW: What is your view on the marketing scene in Greece?

Efi Hatzigiannopoulou-Bersoux: GrowthGirls is based in London and much of the projects it undertakes are international but it is also very active in Greece. As I see it, this question has two strands: my view of “marketing in Greece” and “Greek marketers”.

In the Greek market in general the sizes are small. The market is limited, marketing budgets are low and when you want to do “big” things Greece puts a ceiling over your head. At the same time, Greece is slow to follow developments and still has many barriers that put many obstacles to doing innovative marketing at scale.

To talk about Greek marketers, I’ll answer experientially. My generation was nurtured in uncertainty. Personally, the crisis era found me at the beginning of my career in Greece. When instead of thinking about the next step in your career, you think about how to circumvent the obstacles of capital controls to do your job, you are shaped as a professional accordingly. So my priority became rushing into the unknown and finding solutions to the most complex problems, not my personal ambitions.

So when you shape your personality in an environment of uncertainty, flexibility, speed and boldness are imprinted in you as a professional. But it also leaves you with a hungry mindset and survival and competitive instincts. All these traits in an international environment become competitive advantages, as long as you use them properly and don’t become a prey to them.

What is the secret of a successful marketing agency, especially in the competitive international environment?

For GrowthGirls what I believe makes the difference is the enthusiasm we have for each project, honesty and “goodness”. It may sound kind of corny, especially when said by a data-driven marketer, but when you put “kindness” into all levels of how you work, from the communication between the team to what the end recipient of your work will see, you create an impenetrable canopy of “beauty” and optimism that helps you have the consistency, stamina and clarity of mind necessary to succeed in something as militant as growth marketing.

What is the working model of GrowthGirls?

GrowthGirls follows the fully remote working model, with team meetups for bonding purposes and workshops.

With the remote working model you could work from anywhere. Why London?

At the time when remote working was introduced many marketers moved to areas like Thailand, looking for a more pleasant lifestyle than that offered by cities and perhaps a lower cost of living. Personally I wouldn’t make that choice and it has to do with where I want to position myself in the market. A front line marketer needs performances. And I don’t mean palm trees and pineapples.

I mean the variety of shows that only the world’s major international financial centers can offer you. I also have no desire to isolate myself. As an introverted person, my purpose for being in London is not for networking (which inevitably happens) but to be “where the action is”, however difficult it may be to establish yourself in the world’s most competitive markets.

However, my relationship with Greece remains strong and because I love my country, I find great satisfaction in being able to apply the experience and know-how that international projects give us to our Greek projects and to pass it on through the Growth Hacking Academy on an individual level and through the in-house courses we provide through the Growth Hacking University.

What makes a good marketer?

It’s a lot! We are talking about a complex profession and role. However, I would like to focus on what we sometimes pass over as “simple” or even “obvious”, when it is quite the opposite. I believe that a good marketer is made by “life”. You acquire the skills in your spare time, not in the office. In the office you acquire the technical skills and tools. Those alone don’t make you a marketer, just like having brushes and paints don’t make you an artist.

The environment we move in, our hobbies, our friends, nature, art, all of these are stored in our brains and transformed into creativity and inspiration. And you can find it in everything, as long as you observe. You don’t have to take an overseas trip. You can learn a lot from the way the vendor sells tomatoes at the farmer’s market. As long as you don’t use degrees and diplomas as blinders and don’t get entrenched in the social bubble that everyone has.

What is the most challenging part of being a marketer?

I could answer the usual… Late nights, competition, need for constant development. But it’s no different in these parts to other professions. Ultimately it’s not the profession that matters but how you choose to practice each profession.

Growing up I was surrounded by lawyers and when I was young that’s what I wanted to be. So I was asked “would you defend a criminal?” Because I was fascinated by the combativeness of the profession, in my childish mind I answered “Yes, I would use any means, even lies, to win and keep him out of jail.”

I was then told that my job would not be to lie. I would have to understand the criminal so that I could represent him in a way that he could not. To convince the court of the good elements of his character, to explain on his behalf the situation that led him there, etc. I was still in elementary school but that conversation stuck in my memory.

I believe the same about how I want to practice marketing. If you want to effectively “represent” all of your clients, with their range of specialties, you necessarily have to be a “multi-disciplinarian”, which entails mastering knowledge not only on a horizontal level but also in depth. If, for example, you take on the task of promoting the products of a car manufacturer, it is not enough to know about “cars”, you must also know elements of mechanical engineering. And if this is seen as difficult, it is undeniably unpleasant to observe the opposite: a smear of knowledge and sloppiness.

As for honesty, contrary to what some parts of the world believe, our job is not to lie and sell seaweed for silk ribbons, even when selling our own services. My basic principle in everything I do is “truth”. In how I promote projects, in my relationship with my clients and my team, in my self-criticism. That in itself creates extra demands on your role. Especially in a profession that has a lot of “hidden” parts.

At this point I would like to say that it is an extraordinary luxury to choose your clients and to truly believe in what you are promoting and I feel grateful that I can do this to a large extent.

How do you see the invasion of AI into the marketing space?

Both AI and various tools that simplify tasks have been around for years, it’s nothing new. So it’s a natural progression that personally not only doesn’t scare me but excites me, because it will move not only this industry forward but everyone! Besides, I am on the board of a related startup. The dilemma is not whether intelligence is “natural or artificial” but rather its “intelligent or naive” use.

What advice would you give to young marketers?

To generate new knowledge, not to be content with reproducing existing knowledge.

Find the original article in Greek here or get in touch with Efi Bersoux

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