I’ve been trying to devise a thought framework for Growth that blends Growth Hacking, Digital Marketing, and Foundational Marketing together into some clarity.
What came out is a categorization along 4 approaches to think about, related to growth. You might initially focus on one or the other, but eventually, you will have to pull all these levers so you can hit on all the proverbial cylinders.
Growth comes from peer-to-peer referrals and user-to-user communicated interactions. It’s typically Organic or Viral growth. This can happen either via a user incentive where you help them (or trick them), or via an emotion where you elicit a voluntary action to share. Don’t forget to also focus on the upper echelon of your users/customesr who are your Advocates. That segment will do a lot more for you than the average loyal user. As the Bruno Mars song goes, they “would die for you”, and you should do the same for them. A lot of the Growth Hacking techniques fall in that category, although there is Growth Hacking that is outside of peer-to-peer.
You pay to either promote or place your service within social, online or a physical space, hopefully close to the context of intent to purchase or to click. This part is the easiest way to measure your results, so you can optimize accordingly. Most of the services in this category will give you a Dashboard, but don’t focus on that Dashboard. Rather, focus on the optimization tools they provide you or help you with. It is more important to be able to instrument the cause and effect of a number, than to stare at it.
We’re in the thick of Inbound Marketing effectiveness, as a method of communications. Inbound Marketing is a great way of pulling-in your customers, users or prospects to find you. The goal is to keep appearing on search results, but also to make your content experience so pleasurable for your users, that they will come back for more, on their own. You can measure traffic, clicks, replies, social gestures, conversions, commenting, emails, etc. In addition, you need to complement inbound marketing with other Communications activities oriented towards influencers or media channel who will also contribute to pull interest towards your product or service.
Even if your customers love you, they will have a tendency to forget about you, over time. That’s why you need to continue to communicate with them on a regular basis, so don’t forget about Email Marketing as another Communications weapon. I’m seeing some companies totally ignore even emailing their users when they are releasing new products or new features. If the user gave you permission to communicate with them, then use that permission. Email is an effective re-engagement method. Twitter does it very well, and it’s part of their growth hacking arsenal. Remember, Email (and Search) deliver more customers than social media. Direct selling (or via distribution methods) is also in this category, because you are “pushing” yourself in front of customers, and you are asking for an interaction. Event marketing is also another form of push marketing, because you place yourself in front of your prospects to get attention.
The purpose of this framework is to force you to think more holistically about having activities in each one of these categories, both online and offline.
What do you think of this framework? Do most growth activities fall into one of them?