The phrase “growth hacker” was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 and it was a phrase used to express how to make a startup grow fast unlike traditional businesses.
In the first phase of a startup, you don’t need someone to “build and manage a marketing team” or “manage outside vendors” or even “establish a strategic marketing plan to achieve corporate objectives” or many of the other things that marketers are tasked with doing. Early in a startup, you need one thing. Growth. In a world that’s changing so fast, growth hacking is the surest way to learn about your customers and win them for life before your competitors do. If you’re an entrepreneur, founder, employee or you’re part of a growth team in a startup or developed business you still need to learn growth hacking.
With traditional media fading and the onslaught of mass customization and niching on the web, marketing as we’ve known it for the past 100 years is in a stage of transition – which means we have to become more creative about how we approach brand strategy.
Here’s what we recommend for staying ahead of the curve:
- Determine your brand purpose. Brand purpose is comprised of functional benefits, emotional benefits and societal benefits.
- Commit to your vision without ego and don’t be afraid to test your hypothesis.
- Determine your engine of revenue growth: Sticky, Viral or Paid. Sticky depends heavily on client growth through retention.
- Iterate or pivot when required. Brands are in a constant state of flux. Keep a close eye on the development and evolution of your products and services.
Business success doesn’t hinge on just one strategy: a great brand promise, an innovative product. It’s not a specific marketing campaign, it’s how your brand speaks to and resonates with your target audience.
Redefining growth marketing
Traditional marketers are skilled at understanding traditional products, but the internet has created a radical redefinition of the word product. For thousands of years a product has been a physical good, but now they are invisible bits and bytes in the form of software products. Products used to only be things like cars, shampoo, couches, and guns. Now Twitter is a product. Your online accounting software is a product. Things you can’t hold, per se, are products. This transition is most responsible for the new age of growth hackers. The internet has given the world a new kind of product, and it demands a new kind of thinking.
Growth mindset has become an integral part of the marketing team these days. To be in the race, brands are required to think out of the box when it comes to promoting their startups or businesses and reach a wide audience at a faster rate.
For the first time, because of this redefinition, a product can play a role in its own adoption. Sound crazy? It is. A product like Facebook allows you to share their product with other friends to make your own experience on their platform better. Shampoo can’t do that. A product like Dropbox can give you free cloud storage if you get a friend to sign up with them. Couches don’t do that. If you don’t come to grips with this new classification of products that the internet has produced, you won’t fully grasp growth hacking.
While there is no harm in trying out new things, businesses, startups and entrepreneurs must focus on deploying tried-and-tested growth strategies using some of the ideas above to scale their brand.
There is no single hack that resolves all pain points. Henceforth, don’t hesitate to practice with new growth hacking strategies as you learn more about your customers.