Sean Ellis is widely credited with inventing the term "growth hacking" in 2010. According to Ellis, a growth hacker is "a person whose true north is growth," someone with a "Burning desire to connect your target market with your indispensable solution. "
This type of rapid growth is accomplished by experimenting methodically and quickly, using strategies and tactics that have a direct impact on specific key growth indicators.
So, how does this differ from marketing in general? Is the piracy of growth a real paradigm shift, or just the last technological term, doomed to disappear? And is hacking growth relevant for small businesses starting to experiment in 2018, or is it just for well-funded technology startups?
To answer these questions, we need a solid understanding of the real aspect of hacking growth and its (or not) difference with digital marketing in general.
According to Ryan Farley, co-founder of LawnStarter, an online lawn services platform, this often comes down to focusing. "Generally, I find that the growth teams are much more focused on processes, metrics and iterations," Farley said. "They tend to make more changes and to experiment more."
According to Farley's experience, less growth-oriented marketing teams tend to execute strategies than to reinvent them with agility. "They are also more likely to think about how their efforts relate to the brand qualitatively, while growth teams tend to be narrowly focused on the metrics," he adds.
Feeding the Beast: The Growth Bot Crisis
In the quest for growth, something bad happened along the way. Fixing on the KPIs of audience acquisition has led us to the current crisis of bot on social networks. This kind of results has led many people in the industry to hate the term "growth hacking," as the designer and author Paul Jarvis.
"We should just call the hacking of growth what it really is: being a self centered, selfish and fake … on the internet," he writes, insisting that he does not want to "hack" anything about his company, his audience, or his mailing list.
Farley is not in agreement. "I think anything that makes people more focused on experimentation is a good thing, and that digital marketers should accept it."
He points out that piracy does not necessarily mean bad or bad quality. Rather, it comes down to talking about engineering when they "hack something together" to make it work quickly.
Ben McRedmond, who leads growth at Intercom, notes that rapid growth for the sake of growth is not the right goal.
"Growth Hacking is the continuing promise of bullets: red buttons increase listings by 80%, titles with font sizes of 33px increase revenue by 30%, prices decrease by 27% %, "says McRedmond. The real growth does not come from these bullets, he believes, but to win a thousand small battles, every day.
Love the term or hate it, the reality is that for startups with limited leads, fast business growth is a must. Which brings us to the current state of the industry today.
How "real" growth regains respect
What does legitimate piracy of growth look like?
Uber's Andrew Chen says that the traditional role of VP marketing has been replaced by the role of growth hacker, which he describes as "a hybrid of marketing and coder, which looks at the traditional question of "How to get customers for my product? And responds with A / B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. "
It is precisely this concentration on the client that has the potential to reverse the tendency to the wrong hacker. Any fool with a credit card can buy 50,000 Twitter subscribers. Real growth comes from a different place – understanding the value of your product, how it is perceived and used by your best customers, and continually improving that momentum.
"Projects such as email deliverability, page loading, and Facebook login are no longer technical or design decisions, but offensive weapons to conquer the market," he says. .
How much piracy of sustainable growth is true
For Farley, the real goal is to quickly grow an audience of people who can benefit from its platform. "Tactically, you should measure social media as anything, and go back down to the topics that seem to resonate," he advises.
It's using a state of mind of growth, and the tools that allow it, can make a big difference. "At LawnStarter, it was easy to attract the urban youth crowd, but we really should have tried to reach the suburban homeowners," he says. "Once we realized this, we used Narrow.io to find more relevant subscribers."
According to Jarvis, however, a business that wants real growth "would be based on helping others first … because that's how you can build a loyal customer base and follow it. "
Managing expectations is also essential. "When a product team publishes a new feature, it does not expect to see its impact on listings or revenue overnight," Jarvis says. For product and marketing teams, focusing on the immediately measurable should not result in focusing on the trivial. On the contrary, we need to see growth as a customer-centric strategy and find the right audience.
Once you've found this audience, use your data smartly to move forward.
True growth begins with a product or service that adds value to a customer 's experience. Quick and iterative tests can help you discover this value – and swivel quickly if needed – but they can not replace the value of finding the right audience. And when your valuable product is presented to a very relevant and interested audience too, real growth is inevitable.
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