“Put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket.”
– Mark Twain (1835-1910) American author
Tomorrow, Tuesday May 28th at 6pm EST, I’m speaking at the Toronto Growth Hacking Meetupgroup about growth hacking and marketing. My talk is entitled “Beyond Growth Hacking: Growth Marketing.”
For startups, successful Growth Hacking is a bridge to Marketing because it paves the way to letting you pull the many levers that marketing offers when your growth is on a consistent trajectory.
Here’s my Slideshare from that talk:
But Growth Hacking is also one of those new terms that have become so popular that it is starting to get overused, misused, abused and subject to misinterpretations.
And at the recent Growth Hacker Conference (founded by Gagan Biyani and Erin Turner), that topic took center stage for a full day, and included the who’s who in growth hacking experience. Here’s my Storify where I curated the best 50+ Growth Hacking soundbites from that event.
Like any new term, it goes through a novelty phase that gives it some added importance, but soon enough it becomes integrated into something else. That something else is Marketing.
MARKETING MIX 2.0
Marketing has always been about a set of integrated approaches, and it will always be. It’s called the Marketing Mix. The components of that mix may change over time and the mix is different for each company. Growth Hacking is one of those new components, so welcome to the Mix.
Part of me is skeptical about the hype surrounding the term Growth Hacking, but I’m playing along with the rest of the community if it helps to shine a light on it and elevates its importance. But as my friend JLM always says, Your Generation Did NOT Invent Sex.
In my talk tomorrow, I will focus more on Growth Marketing, including the full-stack of marketing, product/market fits, market positioning, customer marketing and the linkages to growth hacking.
But in this post, I wanted to clear the air on my views relating to Growth Hacking.
GROWTH HACKING IS GROWTH ACTING
Here’s my definition of Growth Hacking:
Growth Hacking is tinkering with your analytics until you clearly and deeply understand what undeniable factors are responsible for growing your users, user engagement or revenues.
So, Growth Hacking is a term that is used to describe the techniques that startups undertake to figure out their growth triggers. I don’t care if that growth is linear, non-linear or at what acceleration velocity. Growth is growth. And here’s a critical reminder: All Startups are about growth. If you don’t grow, you don’t survive. It is that simple.
In the technical sense, Growth Hacking doesn’t imply programming. But it does imply an ability to manipulate all analytics relating to your company’s data so you can act on that data. If you dumb it down, a Growth Hacker is really a fancy word for Data Analyst. But who wants to be called Data Analyst when they can be a Growth Hacker? Hey, it’s more hip to be a hacker than an analyst.
So, Growth Hacking is really about actionable analytics. For a deep understanding of analytics, you must read the book Lean Analytics by Ben Yoskvovitz and Allistair Croll. If you have the book, please jump immediately to pages 235-240 where the authors discuss Growth Hacking.
Here are additional factors relating to Growth Hacking.
1. User or Revenue Growth or Both?
When you peel back all the examples of Growth Hacking, most of them point to user or revenue growth via a deep understanding of analytics or via some marketing exploit.
Here are some examples in these 2 articles, The Top Three Examples of Internet Growth Hacking, and The 7 Ways that Dropbox Hacked Growth to Become a $4 Billion Company.
2. It ties to your Product Features.
Growth hacking is also intricately related to your product features and on-boarding experience. So you must keep the feedback loops on a very short leash in order to clearly understand how the growth velocity is affected at each step. For example, if your on-boarding has 4 steps, and the 3rd step is where you are losing users, then you need to know that right away. Your process is as weak as your weakest link. Customer analytics tools like Woopra (disclosure: I’m an advisor) allow you to dissect and plot each funnel at the user level to figure out exactly where your weaknesses or growth spurts are.
So, growth hacking doesn’t replace a product that hasn’t hit its strides, but it can help you to improve the on-boarding experience.
3. Show me your Marketing Stunt.
You can augment your Growth Hacking actions with a marketing stunt to further amplify that growth. There are no rules for marketing stunts, except that the better the stunt is, the greater the chances of getting shut down after it is discovered. By that time, your goals would have been achieved, and you get additional free propaganda if your exploit gets publicized and that contributes to further growth. You will know you have achieved that stunt if it looks like you’ve blown some metric out of the water.
4. Understand the Behavioural Motivation of your Customers.
You need to understand what is driving the behavior of your customers – why they are coming, why they are leaving, why they are staying, why they aren’t buying, or what value they are seeing…at every point of interaction. Then you can correlate that behavior to results and actions and improve your website experience to yield better results. A tool likeQualaroo (founded by Sean Ellis…surprise!) allows you to do that.
BEYOND GROWTH HACKING
So this was a teaser for tomorrow’s talk where I will reveal more of my original thoughts on Growth Hacking and the relationship to Growth Marketing.
- Tuesday May 28th at 6pm EST. The registration link is here: Toronto Growth Hacking Meetup .
After the talk, I will do a town hall style discussion to further dive into the issues raised during the presentation.
If you are in Toronto, please come join us tomorrow (it’s free), or follow the Twitter stream during the talk at #GrowthHackTO.