Sean Ellis is frequently cited as the one who coined the term “Growth Hacking” in 2010. According to Ellis, a growth hacker is a person who prioritizes growth above all, with a burning yearning to link potential customers with your product or service.
In a company, success with such fast growth is achieved by applying strategies that directly affect specified performance indicators.
So how does growth hacking differ from standard marketing? Is growth hacking a true paradigm shift, or just another passing fad, doomed to fizzle out? And is growth hacking useful not only for large, well-funded startups to experiment with this year but also for very small companies?
To answer these questions, we’ll first require a firm understanding of how growth hacking really looks, and how it differs from digital marketing.
According to Ryan Farley, the founder of the online lawn services marketplace LawnStarter, its benefits typically come down to focus. I find that growth teams are typically much more metrics, process, and iteration focused, he noted. They try more things and are attempting to discover more effective techniques.
Table of Contents
Feeding the beast the Growth Bot crisis
The pursuit of growth led to undesirable consequences. Problematic adherence to social media audience growth metrics has caused what is now known as the problematic situation of social media bots. These adverse results have led many in the marketing community to hate the term growth hacking. Designer and author Paul Jarvis share their opinion in a column.
We should just call growth-hacking what it is―being a self‐centered, self-serving, and phony individual on the web. He claims that he doesn’t want to beat anything about his site and audience, or email list.
I agree with Farley. I think that anything that encourages people to be more experimental is a good thing and that digital marketers should take advantage of that.
Even though hacking may signify something negative, it isn’t necessarily so. Rather, it goes back to engineering speak when they hack something together to make it work quickly.
Profit is the wrong motivation for Intercom’s Ben McRedmond, who often leads growth at the company.
Growth Hacking is the continual promise of silver bullets, red buttons, and headlines with large font sizes, resulting in a 30% growth in revenue every year. McRedmond believes that growth does not come from any of these silver bullets, but from striving to achieve a thousand minor victories day after day.
Startups that operate on a low budget often find that expansion is crucial. This brings us to the current scene of the industry.
How real advancement is regaining Respect?
What does proven growth hacking look like?
Following in the footsteps of Andrew Chen, Uber has placed a growth hacker–type individual in the marketing VP’s role. He is typically a hybrid of marketer and coder. He understands the traditional question of how do I get customers for my product? and responds with A B tests, landing pages, viral factors, email deliverability, and Open Graph.
This focus on the customer has the power to transform the ad growth hacking reputation. Anyone can buy 50,000 Twitter followers. Real growth comes from knowing your product’s value, the way it’s perceived and used by your top customers, and continually improving that dynamic.
In fact, technical features such as email deliverability, page-load times, and Facebook logins are becoming offensive weapons to win in the market, as Warren Chen says.
True, sustainable growth hacking looks true
For Farley, the primary goal is to rapidly expand an audience consisting of individuals likely to benefit from his platform. Tactically, you have to measure social media like something, and double down on the ones that seem to be relevant, he suggests.
That’s where using a growth mindset, and the tools that enable it can make a significant difference. At LawnStarter, it was easy to attract the urban startup crowd, but we should really have been trying to reach suburban homeowners, he points out. Once we realized this, we used Narrow.io to find more relevant followers.
According to Jarvis, if you desire real growth, then you should start by helping others. That’s how you’ll establish a loyal customer base and grow sales.
Building on expectations is also critical. Once a product team introduces a new feature, they do not expect an immediate impact on sign-ups or revenue, Jarvis points out. Both product and marketing teams need to focus on the immediately achievable instead of on the trivial.
As a customer-centric strategy, we should focus our attention on building an appropriate customer base. From the audience that you’ve defined, make your move with your data.
The first steps toward accelerated growth start with making sure that your product or service provides value to a consumer’s experience. Rapid, iterative testing can help you find that value, but it can’t replace the value of finding an interested and targeted niche. When you will find an interesting clientele as well, rapid, iterative testing can help you discover true growth.