Growth Hacking. I love this particular marketing buzz word and everything it encompasses. Plus – it just sounds so cool. It caught my attention from the moment I read about it, and I spent quite a bit of time hunkered down exploring this concept in more detail. Here’s a little of what I learned.
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- Growth hacking is a term coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 after he experienced wicked rapid growth at Dropbox and a few other start-ups.
- Growth hacking (the term) came about because Sean (the guy mentioned above) was frustrated as he was trying to hire a replacement for himself. He was the growth guy, and he was struggling finding that person to take over his role. Struggling to find a way to explain what must happen in this role.
- Growth hacking is the activity of trying different methods to make a company larger and more successful. It is a fast-paced experimentation process intended to result in huge growth for a company. To grow, you must experiment. And experimentation starts with ideas. Ideas that ultimately support your business plan and offerings. And a lot of them. Ideas.
- Growth hacking experimentation can occur across all marketing channels and should work to identify the most effective way to grow your business. It should be frequent, and broad. Think high tempo. And think about a team to help manage those experiments – those ideas.
- Growth hacking is only focused on growth. Hence the original connection to start-ups. Because start-ups can only be focused on growth. Or they’ll collapse. And there are phases to growth. So if you fail at the first phase, you’ll likely fail on the second, and third. So keep experimenting until you figure it out. But be strategic about it. And have a plan.
- Growth hacking can support any business, not just start-ups. Because a fair percentage of marketers are concerned about their growth strategy and the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. Everyone should think of themselves a little bit like a start-up.
- Growth hacking is not a quick fix. There is no magical fairy dust. It is strategic. And data driven. It’s not throwing noodles against a wall. You need a business model canvas to start. A product that is a must need to your audience. A value proposition. An understanding of your audience – who are they, why and how are they using your product. And why will they continue using your product? Know these things, then jump in to finding your growth hack.
- Growth hacking does involve failure. And that’s okay. If you don’t experiment – and possibly fail – you’ll never learn anything new. Start with ideation. Prioritize your best ideas for experimentation. Outline those experiments. And go. Then study the results. Then do it all over again. Until you find your growth hack. And then keep doing it. Because channels are changing constantly.
- Growth hacking also lends itself to product development. The product often holds the biggest growth opportunity for your business. Let’s not forget that.
- A Growth Hacker is actually a person. A role within an organization. It can also be expanded to a Growth Master, who might oversee a team of Growth Hackers. According to Sean (again – same guy mentioned above), a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth.”
Had I realized that title was actually a title, I may have reconsidered what I just printed on my business cards. Because that is one of the many things that I love to do. Experiment. Help businesses grow. Help teams recognize the importance of both. Help ensure every idea has an owner. Make sure teams are committed to growth. I enjoy fitting all of the puzzle pieces together in an organized fashion. Absolutely. But I am also open to experimentation – if you are. Learn a bit more about what we can do together.