Growth Hacking With High School Students in Santa Monica

Feb 18, 2016 · 4 min read
“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.” -William Blake

Learn by doing. That is the goal of the Business and Entrepreneurship course at Pacifica Christian High School in Santa Monica, California. To meet this goal, students are given real problems from real entrepreneurs.

Evrybit is one of the companies participating in Project No. 2 for the class: Mobile App Marketing. We are running a growth hacking experiment for five weeks with nine students, half of the class. The other half of the class is working with CastOff, another Los Angeles-based startup looking to grow.

Growth hacking is a marketing technique that was born in Silicon Valley with technology startups. The technique combines creative thinking with technical skills to increase buzz and sales for a product. It means finding which marketing tactics work best and scaling them, whether it’s through content marketing, social media advertising, email newsletters, landing pages, A/B tests, database queries and more.

Some popular companies that have done growth hacking well include Facebook, Airbnb and LinkedIn. Andrew Chen, a well-known writer and entrepreneur, helped growth hacking go viral. He compiled a list of great growth hackers and now works at Uber on the supply growth team.

Some call growth hacking Marketing 2.0. Whatever you call it, growth hacking is all about growth.

Our goal with the Pacifica class is to create a growth hacking strategy to target the Evrybit app with teenagers. The lessons we learn will help us market our product better and get to product/market fit faster.

Drew Falkman, our CTO, and I spoke to the class this week. We started with an overview presentation of Evrybit.

Then, we did a hands-on demo, and Drew showed the class how our app works.

Evrybit CTO Drew Falkman engages the Business and Entrepreneurship class with an Evrybit demo.

Then, CastOff spoke.

Then, we broke into two groups and gave our assignments to our teams. Our team is a mix of seniors and juniors.

This is our assignment.

Evrybit Assignment

Overall Objective

Create a growth hacking strategy to target the Evrybit app with teenagers nationwide. To do this, you will need to have a clear understanding of how the app works, the kinds of stories this demographic would like to tell, and how this app can stand out in the market amongst competition.

Growth Hacking

Your growth hacking process will go as follows.

1. Define your target demographic. This will be whom, within the U.S. teenage market, you think this app will resonate with. Think about cliques, activities and interests of the users who will like to use this app. Some examples: athletes, fashion trendsetters, influencers (e.g., cool kids). Try to best describe who this group is, how we could identify them if we were to find them online or anywhere. Conduct your focus group or complete the required interviews to help define a good market. Create “personas” to represent members of our target (e.g., this is Lena, she is on the lacrosse team). This is a key step.

2. Create sample use cases. This will be how this demographic will use this app. The kinds of stories they will tell and how they will share them. Athletes will cover their games for pre- and postgame. Fashionistas will document their shopping trips. Etc.

3. Strategize and innovate. Come up with a marketing message and an idea that you think will resonate with your audience. Have fun. It can be visual, textual, or even a meme or concept. Work to come up with something you can use — a graphic you could put on Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat, a question you could ask on social media. You are going to use this strategy FOR REAL, so think of something good.

4. Test. Try out your concept. Post your image on social media, have a focus group, conduct “man-on-the-street” interviews, share your message, get a feeling for what works in whatever way you can. The “growth funnel” for our app is: download the app >> create a story >> add bits to that story >> share the story >> tell another story. The further you can get them down this funnel, the more successful your strategy.

5. Analyze and refine. When you test, find a way to measure your response, and then use this information to determine what did and didn’t work. Based on this data, come up with a new or refined message to build on what you came up with in Step 3.

Document all of your work with Evrybit. Create stories to show your process. That way, you can record interviews, take photos, write explanations, capture everything. You and others will be able to see your progress while you are working on the project and afterward. The key part of this process is the testing and refinement, so we recommend going through at least three (3) cycles to find what works best. In the real world, this is an ongoing process.

Final Presentation

Present the final strategy you have, highlighting your target market, your strategy, what worked and what didn’t, what refinements were made to the process, and the final approach.

We are excited to take part in this journey with Pacifica students and Kevin Kirchner, the teacher of the Business and Entrepreneurship class, Pacifica’s COO and the executive director for the Minchin Center for Innovation/Entrepreneurship at the school.

The final solutions for our project are gravy for us. The solutions are not as important as the steps students use to get there — how they arrive at the solutions. The process. In other words, the journey is the reward.

You can follow our team’s journey here.

We will share our final results when the journey is complete.

This article was written by Evrybit CEO Eric Ortiz and CTO Drew Falkman.


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