There is a new buzzword in town and it seems to be resonating more and more these days among the tech circles, its called Growth Hacking. Initially when I heard the word, I wondered whether it was technical way of cheating to gain growth or was it a lazy team trying out a new jugaad. I’ve been researching on the subject for a while now, only to realise how horribly wrong I was.
Growth Hacking is the new word for a process which involves an intelligent mix of product development and marketing initiatives. This has been a long held practise amongst marketeers and product managers in the Silicon Valley but now taking importance across the world. With the onset of big-data, mass media has begun to fade for its lack of ROI viability in certain cases, and the web becoming silo-ed in to niches or mass customised solutions. Thus, general marketing as seen over the last century has lost relevance. Marketing fatigue has grown significantly (I always skip channels on television when there is an ad and don’t recollect having clicked on a banner ad ever!) and information overload is at an all time high. People will miss taking notice of the next best thing after sliced bread due to the immense distractions and distribution is the number #1 problem every product (i.e. for a startup) faces.
Growth hacking has become the new way in which data-rich Internet businesses reach out to certain segments of their market and distribute the message of their product. Growth hacking uses the ‘pull’ technique based on user behaviour to immediately offer value thereby creating impulsiveness in the user decision. This technique is done through an intelligent messaging wrapped in the thoughts and lives of the target user segment. The business analyst or growth hacker will pull insights from different departments within the company, i.e. finance, tech, marketing, customer service etc. to find the right message to pull in the users.
The most important thing to growth is a good product that people really love and cannot live without. As a next step, growth hacking depends on marketing this product, collecting user feedback, spending time with engineering to incorporate the changes and then re-target the core customer segments with the updated product. This leads to signup, purchases, conversions and thus growth!
Growth hacking looks at looking beyond Adwords or SEO which are becoming ever more expensive. Traditional marketing channels are expensive and lead to high cost of acquisition and questionable life time values. In the current age of social-media, the right growth strategy will be the right product market fit with a data driven marketing approach for different customer segments driven by either behavioral economics or some sort of gamification, will lead to scaling through viral hoops.
The ambition of every growth hacker is to build a perpetual marketing machine. However, growth hacking is not a black book of ideas, nor is it some form of jugaad. It cannot be copied from product to product. Growth is all about do-learn-iterate. This discipline alone leads to growth, its a mindset about how to solve the most innovative problems with the most intelligent of methods…