A basic introduction to growth hacking
Growth hacking is one of the most current startup trends. Unfortunately, many individuals are still unaware of what growth hacking is. Marketing and sales are commonly confused with growth hacking. This, however, is only partially right. Growth hacking is focused on the expansion of a firm or enterprise. But not just through marketing and sales. That would merely limit growth hacking and thus growth!
What exactly is Growth Hacking, and where did it come from?
Sean Ellis invented the term in 2010 while working in the Silicon Valley start-up industry (where else?). According to him, a growth hacker is „a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on a scalable growth „. Growth hacking is an attitude, a process, or a set of skills rather than a profession.
Growth hacking is a mindset that is entirely dedicated to growth. This is particularly true for startups with revenue and user growth goals. Growth hacking, on the other hand, entails far more than simply increasing user numbers. It is about convincing existing consumers to join and converting them into active users who return frequently and use the service on a regular basis. The purpose is to recruit users as service ambassadors, enhancing exposure and virality. Many instances can be given here. Apple, Google, Facebook, Spotify, and other companies…
What seems so simple at first glance is the result of many hours of intensive work to understand the users. What exactly are the users seeking for? What can I provide them? How do I get in touch with them? Where can I find them? All of these challenges must be handled.
Because growth hacking is born in a startup environment, financial, time, and efficiency challenges must be addressed. Of course, time and money are always vital, but they are even more so for start-ups than for established enterprises. Because funding is more limited and start-ups cannot afford pricey research, the latter must be able to demonstrate outcomes in the shortest amount of time possible. Because of this, growth hackers are „data driven,“ developing hypotheses based on known data and testing them with targeted tests (rapid prototyping!).
The growth hacking technique should ideally extend throughout the entire organizational structure and not just marketing. We cover everything from marketing to product development to customer service. Small upgrades (hacks!) can be implemented wherever. Many opportunities for growth are wasted if the people in charge and their expertise are not included in the process.
What is the difference between growth hacking and marketing?
Both growth hackers and (traditional) marketers want to accelerate the company’s growth. Only the routes are clearly separated.
While existing organizations‘ marketers have access to an existing brand, a knowing clientele in a defined market, and existing channels, growth hackers must first locate and build these before reaching out to individuals and winning them over.
The methods and channels used to accomplish this are as varied as they are. Growth hackers prioritize quickly identifying their first customers and actively involving them in the company’s or product’s development process. Without considerable monetary expenditure, information is collected through conversations or other data sources, and new creative ways to grow with the assistance of the company’s own user base are sought.
In contrast, (traditional) marketers prefer to extend reach through large-scale operations, both online and offline (attention). The extent to which they are then approved by the audience (i.e. how many users are added per €) is rarely assessed. The best example is television or radio advertising that follows the „spaghetti principle.“
It refers to the unstructured, unplanned outlay of marketing dollars. The expression originated from flinging cooked spaghetti against a wall to see if it sticks. According to this viewpoint, communication is solely one-way, from the sender (companies) to the recipients (the customers). Customers‘ responses, on the other hand, are ignored here, which is a serious mistake (something that many companies are noticing more and more)
Summary and outlook
This is the first of many posts on the topic of growth hacking. Many questions are still unanswered. However, it should have been evident by now that growth hacking is not the same as marketing. Of course, if you are a marketer, it is easy to envision how a business can expand. However, attracting attention is only one aspect of successfully establishing a start-up or business (the job of marketing, as we all know). It combines marketing, programming, data analysis, creativity, and psychology.