Marketing And Growth Hacking World — Perfect Marriage Of Mindset And Function
Growth hacking is a buzzword that has been popping up over the past years, and it’s one of those things that everyone wants to be — but not many do. On the contrary, marketing started to be considered old-fashioned, static and dull over the increasing GH popularity. Furthermore, some people believe that a good Growth Hacker should have a strictly technical background rather than marketing.
Marketing is often overlooked or replaced by cooler wording when it comes to growing your project; however, there are many similarities in both fields that I want you all to know! You will learn how to use traditional marketing strategies in conjunction with growth hacking tactics; the similarities and differences between marketing and growth hacking, focusing on how ‘plain marketing’ can be a powerful asset for those looking to grow their projects.
What is Growth Hacking? Quick recap
The Growth Hacking has been covered dozens of times (About 7,700,000 results for “Growth Hacking definition” terms in Google!), so a quick recap just to put everyone on the same page and keep the structure.
Growth Hacking is a term defined by Sean Ellis. It quickly took off as a buzzword in the marketing and growth world. It refers to a set of strategies that focus on high-impact activities designed to get more people using your product or increase awareness, knowledge about, or consideration for one’s brand. Growth hacking dives into the whole customer journey, seeks for bottlenecks, and improves every stage, from initial contact through initial product impression, ultimately leading toward an increasing number of users and, more importantly — paid users and revenue per user. You can apply this methodology to all kinds of businesses and organizations. Therefore it’s still most popular in High Tech & Software worlds.
The foundations of Growth Hacking lay in few aspects:
- Rapid, experimental approach
- Close cooperation or even overlaying between Growth and Product Teams
- A diverse team consisting of data scientists, marketers, engineers, product managers
In short, Growth Hacking is focusing on driving an organization’s growth in terms of the number of users and income.
One would say…, so marketing does?
Empathy — the nucleus&foundation of your growth skills
The first fundamental skill you learn in a Marketing degree is empathy — cliche, but putting yourself into the customer’s shoes is your starting point for all the growth activities. Unfortunately, because we can hear about it everywhere, we tend to underestimate it, assuming that everyone is born with this ability. But it takes some practice to switch the mindset truly.
The secret is to think about everything related to the product through the customers’ lens. And not the ideal one, but the most sceptical one.
Constantly question the value proposition:
– “What’s in it for me?”
– [competitor] also has it
– It’s too difficult/expensive/complicated
Then build the communication around the answers. Try to translate features into benefits and use cases. Drop it at everything related to the product, ad copy, creatives, website, pricing, packaging, design. Of course, the product and design teams might get annoyed with this always crusty person in the team. But if they do, the empathy is not quite there yet, and it’s your responsibility to carry it over and create a candid culture, dividing product/work from the ego.
It’s imperative to listen and understand what is going on in the customer’s world. It could be anything — from understanding why the person needs a product, how they use it, or where they encounter difficulties with your product/service.
In a nutshell — without empathy, you will be flying blind, even with a bunch of data in your hands.
Let me give you an example:
In Growth Hacking’s world, we focus on optimizing particular customer journey stages, such as acquisition, activation, retention, etc. Activation is one of the most crucial ones, as we want users to stick around and try to use our product. So whenever we got stuck at some point (for example, a huge drop off at checkout), we conduct surveys, look over the heat maps, talk to our users, and try to find pain points and ‘aha’ moments.
It takes empathy to understand these data points, keep in mind the humans behind to breakthrough challenge. And by leveraging technology and marketing mindset symbiosis, growth marketing produces fruitful results.
Branding — The Holy Grail of Marketing and side-effect of growth
What comes to your mind when you hear about branding? Probably it’s a massive corporate department trying to create awareness about their brand by using traditional media (like TV ads) and social networks.
An old school branding is often erroneously associated with big companies with deep pockets. However, branding is nothing else than a part of your commercial success measurements. It’s an opinion about the local pizzeria among neighbours, many searches about the new startup, and how your kids react to the McDonald’s sign during the road trip.
And it’s often achievable by simply proving and communicating the value of your product. My favourite example of branding is the phrase “Googling” something. Over the years, Google proved to have an almost infinite number of answers to any question, so we replaced the term “Searching for X on the internet” with “Googling”. And how many Google branding commercials have you seen on the internet? Well, I was googling that and couldn’t find one.
Of course, Growth Hacking is all about speed and rapid experimentation, so it seems that there is no space for creating long-term brand awareness. Few areas where you might shape and recognize the branding:
- Branding keyword searches in SEO report (I was surprised with mine, you can read more about it here)
- Product reviews (and your replies to them! Here, the web monitoring tools might come in handy)
- All sorts of PR — press notes, product releases, etc.
- Website copy
I will refer to the AARRR metrics (acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, referral) once more. Growth Hackers often use this framework to calculate drop-off rates and identify the most significant bottlenecks. The customer journey is never straightforward and includes 11 touchpoints before final conversion. And some of these touches might relate directly to the brand. Maybe your product seems too good to be true, and your customers are searching for some confirmation if it’s legit or it’s a B2B product, so they might need to see some reviews.
You like it or not, along with the company growth, the branding will shape itself. So it’s good to have some vision and navigate it on the right track as soon as you achieve Product-Market fit, and maybe even incorporate it as a part of an overall strategy. And get rid of thinking it’s a corporation thing only.
Your 7xP College Mantra is still alive
7xP is probably the most fundamental marketing concept referring to Product, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Process and Physical Evidence. (I hope my professors will appreciate it!).
We can’t hear much about it these days, but Growth Hacking refers exactly to these aspects of marketing, proposed for the first time in 1960 by E. Jerome McCarthy. So I want you to recognize the solid theoretical foundation you already have to mix with tech and specific work frameworks to run a successful Growth Hacking. Think about all the persuasion, pricing, omnichannel, product lifecycle, design and all sorts of strategies you already know. The GH isn’t and has never been solely about the numbers and data hype that we can see all over the space. It’s about the right mix of competencies, and if you can afford only a single GH professional in your organization — I would personally risk a marketing-oriented one.
Since the technology and GH evolved, we can move faster and precisely track all the KPIs, run and launch experiments (or even products) in a matter of hours. It’s a significant step in allowing companies to solve problems in the most efficient, customer-oriented way. Just keep in mind that foundations and frameworks are as crucial as foundations. That’s why I called it a perfect marriage.