Growth Hacking is a fairly new term in the marketing game, but there is a lot to be said for the difference in approach Growth Hackers take to marketing. Not everybody has the luxury of being able to work with multi-million pound marketing budgets to throw around prime time TV for branding, but that doesn’t mean low-budget marketing has to be any less successful or effective.
Many startup companies have used growth hacking in their early stages to build exponential growth beyond the traditional practices, including Airbnb on Craigslist, Dropbox’s referral programs and Spotify’s deal with Facebook.
These are all uncommon ways to grow a user base for a much more affordable amount than the traditional means, by finding ways that nobody else has thought of or executed well enough.
Enter the Growth Hacker.
Here are the 5 elements in a strong Growth Hacker’s make-up…
Let’s start by saying that Growth Hacking is NOT easy. Results don’t just come from thin air and there are no over-night successes in Growth Hacking. If you’re not prepared to be frustrated for 90% of the time then it’s not for you.
What is important however is that you live for that 10% of the time when your grand plan does come off! You have to be resilient, relentless and tireless in pursuit of that 1 thing in 10 that will work for your company or client.
Even when it feels like you’ve tried everything, I guarantee you have not. Let’s cover the key points that can make the difference between an old-school marketer and a Growth Hacker.
2. Understanding Your Customers
So often the answers we are looking for are with our customers or potential customers. Understand what their problems are, what their likes and dislikes are, and where to find their pain points. If you have this information from your customers then you have the data to create something truly valuable.
Side tip: If you don’t have personal interaction with your customers, try your sales team – they are the ones that are in contact with potential customers day in, day out. If they don’t know a thing or two about your customer base, build a culture that encourages that kind of intuitive mindset.
3. Scientific Thinking
In marketing and other lines of business, it’s easy to get caught up in things that you believe and hammer your hunches home. Growth hackers have to think like scientists and to do this, you need to be able to let go of any emotions or personal attachments you have to your previous ideas. You have to think like a robot. OK maybe not a robot, but a scientist.
A scientist sets hypotheses for what they think could happen, and then set out to prove the hypothesis wrong. When you prove or disprove one of these hypotheses you learn, which is what growth hacking is all about.
4. Creative Curiosity
Growth Hackers need to secure in themselves and confident in their own ability. I say this because you need to be able to go against the crowd, think outside the box and break away from the status quo.*
Marketing and trends come in waves**, meaning that just because something works for company X today, doesn’t mean it will work for your company tomorrow. You need to be creative and come up with ideas that may not have been done before. There is no harm in looking around for inspiration, in fact I’d encourage that, but think for yourself.
5. Get Your Hands Dirty
Although it may seem like, and rightly so, many growth hackers spend a lot of time behind a desk, this is not to say that it’s not necessary to get stuck in. Closely linked to the first point, growth hackers have to be up for a fight, willing to bounce back from rejections and take it on the chin when campaigns don’t work.***
Sometimes we have high hopes after putting in ‘all the work’, just for a launch to fall flat. Time to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to the next one. And the next one.
* and more cliches about non-conformity
** as do goodbyes
*** and more cliches about resilience