Many marketers are confused about “Growth hacking”. The term “hacking” within “Growth hacking” overweighs and marketers relate it to some unethical ways of accelerating growth which is incorrect.
Some marketers think that growth hacking is just a buzzword and it is just a wrapper on the existing marketing techniques. This is one side of the story. If we look into the other side, there are marketers who are over-optimistic about Growth hacking and think that growth hacking alone will enable exponential growth for their business.
What Exactly Is Growth Hacking?
A simple Google search will throw up many definitions of the term. However, simply put, growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which use creativity, analytical thinking and frugal engineering to make the product exponentially well-known and increase sales.
While it was initially adopted by tech startups, it’s now used by many forward-looking organisations to tap into hidden potential. Growth hacking techniques can work as effectively on the established companies as it works for startups. What matters is the growth technique adopted by companies and entrepreneurs to beat the normal growth phase and adopt an exponential growth trajectory.
Growth hacking is not an elemental discipline; it is a compound of many practices, optimized and synergised to build a comprehensive strategy for rapid growth. Digital plays a key role in it, but growth hacking goes much beyond open rates and click-throughs.
Similarly, the concept of virality ––the ability to spread and inspire action ––is well entrenched in growth hacking, as is the mission of customer interaction and feedback. Growth hacking goes beyond the die-cut activity of marketing and touches the realms of product development, customer interaction and technological expertise.
What Is Not Growth Hacking?
Many people misinterpret growth hacking so it is important to define what it is not. The following is definitely what it is not:
- Capturing site visitors’ details through unethical ways or by violating privacy norms
- Charging customers for free service
- Running a promotional campaign which does not deliver what is promised
- Stealing information from competitors
- Installing scripts to steal the passwords of the visitors
- Selling the details of your users to a 3rd party
- Misrepresentation of the company’s financials and capabilities of the team
- False representation of existing customers on the website
- Hurting the sentiments of the audience
Why Is Growth Hacking The Need Of Today’s Marketing?
The answer lies in the evolution of the customer as we know her. Gone are the days of the passive, laid-back, starry-eyed consumer who could be swayed by sassy ads and bright star endorsers. This is not to say that advertisements and star endorsements are no longer effective now, but to put it simply, they are not enough.
The customer today is connected, informed, curious, communicative and above all believes only when she sees the facts for herself. The path to purchase, the customer decision journey and the ways in which to impact it have created opportunities at every step for a company.
While there is wisdom in the conventional, the out-of-the-box and the unorthodox are what sway customer intent. ‘Intent’ is the operative word here. All marketing efforts are geared to impact customer intent.
Achieving Maximum Out Of Growth Hacking
Here are the founding principles to get the best out of your growth hacking journey irrespective of whether your business is a startup or an established business.
Focus on your product
Immerse yourself as the user of the product and every week write down 5 things you really like about your product and 10 things which you do not like about your product. Do it for a month and then sit with your team to pick up the 40 things which you did not like.
Get your teams’ suggestions to prioritize the things which are not working and create a schedule of tasks week wise.
Incremental Growth Versus Exponential Growth
You cannot achieve exponential growth overnight. It requires constant testing, experimentation and agile product development. Patience and growth mindset are key attributes to achieve the exponential results. Shopclues is one of the companies which successfully deployed incremental growth hacking approach.
As per Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder and chief brand officer (CBO), ShopClues “Most of the growth hacking techniques started with simple ideas that came up in our conversations and evolved with quick experimentation. Once the impact was established via the A/B testing approach, a planned approach was deployed to scale these experiments rapidly”.
Growth hacking requires growth thinking, and this is not a part-time job. An organization that is serious about growth hacking needs to focus on building a function which is completely focused on growth. There can be many structures within the organization that can enable it, so whatever works best for one’s company should be considered.
The growth team can be a separate team or within the existing marketing like Zomato.
As per Pramod Rao, CMO of Zomato, “We don’t have a formal growth team, but within each business there are multiple business functions, like sales, user acquisition and retention, and for each of these functions there are growth leaders whose KRAs would be growth from a business point of view. Then there is a central marketing team that is aligned to the business objectives for each of these products and they coordinate with the business teams to help them achieve growth.”
Growth hacking team should act as enablers instead of becoming a bottleneck or a roadblock. It is very important for the team to have the right skills to enable growth within the organization.
So in summary, growth hacks are small yet significant and often counter-intuitive interventions that are part of the organization’s DNA. Growth hacking can work for everyone provided they adopt the growth mindset and follow a systematic approach across all aspects of the business including but not limited to product development, marketing, customer interaction to drive exponential growth.