So to do this topic justice I suggest you read “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday or check out a blog post by Andrew Chen here! But basically to summarize if a company, especially a startup doesn’t take into account Growth Hacking, they will inevitably run…
I am just kidding, I am just trying to stay topical. Ice Cube would be proud. Alright before I dive in, to wet your appetite read this Mashable article! Growth Hacking is founded on the principle of harmonizing product development and marketing. So what do I mean by that? It is all about finding Product Market Fit, a term explained by Marc Andreesen as finding a product that satisfies a highly specific need for a highly targeted audience. To reference the Mashable article:
Hacking is taking advantage of loopholes and under appreciated opportunities. With American Spotify, it was Facebook integration. With AirBnb, it was hijacking Craigslist to get new users and traffic. With Zynga, it was cheap online advertising and Facebook alerts (its CEO later explained they were willing to do anything to get users early on). Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss gave parts of his last book away on BitTorrent and sold around 250,000 copies as a result.
Simply, Growth Hacking is finding cost effective, intuitive ways to increase consumer engagement and retention. Another example that comes to mind when I personally think of Growth Hacking is DropBox. They brilliantly never used Google Adwords, Facebook Ad’s, or any other expected marketing techniques. No. They built consumers on referrals, and consumer exponential growth. Which is one satisfied customer referring DropBox to two friends, and then so on.
Andrew Chen in the linked article above brilliantly defines the modern Growth Hacker as “a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.” This is very cool! Think of it as the blending of roles between marketers, engineers, and product developers, to ensure the consumer is fully engaged and satisfied. Obviously Growth Hacking is important for Startup Growth. However, it is becomingly increasingly popular in modern day business. To reference the brilliant Andrew Chen once more, he states “the fastest way to spread your product is by distributing it on a platform using APIs, not MBAs. Business development is now API-centric, not people-centric.” I believe this to be true. With a socially connected consumer, and a hyperconnected marketplace, a bad online experience is make-or-break for a sale. To dive more into this, check out “The Law of the Shitty Clickthrough.”
Andrew dives into a case study about Air BnB which is linked above. But basically he explains how the success of Air BnB’s marketing campaign was not solved by the textbook Brand Manager. No. It was solved by the Tech-Savvy engineer who realized the lack of traffic was based on technical components, not textbook theory. He again explains that “PR and press used to be the drivers of customer acquisition, instead it’s now a lagging indicator that your Facebook integration is working. The role of the VP of Marketing, long thought to be a non-technical role, is rapidly fading and in its place, a new breed of marketer/coder hybrids have emerged.” If you want more case based examples of Growth Hacking check out this!
Forbes defines Growth Hacking as “Marketing for Startups” in the article here. Sean Ellis first introduced the idea in 2010. However some can say Growth Hacking is just religiously practicing the lean startup method. There are elements of a Lean Startup included in Growth Hacking however it incorporates a technical component. It is a never ending process of constantly updating, reiterating, user testing, and optimizing. So in which stages of the customer lifecycle is Growth Hacking incorporated? Well the Forbes article believes it is involved in “(i) acquisition; (ii) engagement; (iii) purchase; (iv) retention; and (v) referral.” The constant adaption of a CTA, or landing page, is just an example of the technical scrutiny needed to critically grow your consumer base.
So to summarize traditional demands for a marketing magician are shifting to a heavy emphasis on technological finesse. The ability to work with engineers, and product developers is only going to increase, as the consumer increasingly demands for a smooth, online experience. Cheers!