When it comes to Marketing, Growth hacking is a bit of a short-sighted concept. Indeed the best marketing is the marketing that allow for a sustained growth and reliable benefits, while growth hacks are in general short-terms, one time tricks that a start-up can pull. AirBnB had to remove its ads from Craiglist as soon as it became successful to avoid lawsuits. In the same extent, Youtube no more allow for women to post strip-tease videos now that it got famous through it.
Your product or service need to be good or else growth hacking is useless
”Start-ups don’t need growth hackers — at first. They need products that are really working in the market. This means users love it, that there’s lots of retention and engagement, even at small numbers.” Said Andrew Chen, currently responsible of Growth at Uber. Growth hacking can’t build your start-up for you, you need to have a more traditional approach of marketing at first and your product needs to meet a need in the market. Making more people sign up to your service or download your app won’t be effective if you have low engagement numbers and your products aren’t the right fit for your customers. It is only once your product is well polished and you get a sufficient amount of good reviews and retention that you should invest on Growth Hacking.
Growth Hacking often plays with what is morally and/or legally acceptable
The biggest brakes to Growth Hacking are law and ethics. Is your user aware of your practices? On the internet everything goes fast, and a hater backlash could destroy your product. The notion of “hacking” itself has a negative connotation. Many growth hacks can and have been considered as unfair competition or distortion by the competition of any market. If you were to engage in such practices, you should be prepared to confront people in case you are caught red-handed.
Path, a private messaging app sent messages through their users contacts list without their permission at 6am to promote itself, after it underwent an angry mob on twitter, they shortly made a public apology to their users. Rap Genius, a crowd-sourced website for lyrics, used sketchy SEO tactics to try and trick Google. After an investigation from Google, they got removed from all search results. This again led to a public apologizing and begging for forgiveness from Rap Genius to Google whom accepted the apology.
Even if Rap Genius is still a big name today, you don’t hear any more about Path do you? So beware, for your actions to accelerate growth may well be the ones that make you meet failure.
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