The Psychology of a Growth Hacker

Growth Hacking — is something that constantly think of Silicon Valley startups, and now all the projects at the initial stage in our country. What is it? How to set up a company and its employees on the fast growth?

Currently Growth Hacking is an extremely popular phenomenon: in fact anyone who is even slightly related to marketing or product development, prefers to call himself hacker on growth. And because every second defines itself in a similar way, the term begins to gradually lose its significance. However, that includes the concept of Growth Hacking (or whatever it will be called in the future), will continue to exist and, in fact, already significantly transform the industry as a whole.

In the most general terms I describe Growth Hacking as a way of thinking. It relies on an understanding of customers and users, their behavior, market dynamics and technical abilities . And of course, without imagination can not do: all of these items need to successfully combine for maximum growth. But what does all this mean in reality? Let’s delve into the definition of Growth Hacking, to clarify — both for themselves and the readers benefit.

1. Understand what is needed to grow

According to Sean Ellis, Growth Hacker — a person whose true target is growth. This definition leaves much room for interpretation, but actually it is not so bad. Although some argue that the Growth Hacking has nothing to do with the growth of income, I think it is complete nonsense.

The concept of growth and selection of the most accurately determining its metrics on a 100% unique to each company that wants to grow. Therefore it is necessary to understand what exactly you are targeting: the number of registrations, the profits to attract and retain customers, possibly viral marketing? Determine the purpose, you can begin to implement it.

And to do so in full swing, you need to understand the following.

2. First, social engineering, and then computer engineering

When you try to create something without first obtaining a deep understanding of human behavior (as in the general scale, and particularly in the context of your industry), you are likely to expect only limited success. But if the study of psychology and behavior of users you spend as much time as the study of the latest marketing trends and growth hacking, you’ll be much more successful in implementing its marketing strategy. 
Understanding human behavior in the context of your application or service will really help you to find the most effective tactics Growth Hacking and optimize costs.

Top Growth Hacker’y know that when the efficient growth have to think not about products or services that they are promoting in the first place all the attention should be focused on the user and the client. Of course, the understanding of their behavior should be used in their own interests for the sake of profit. However, success can be expected only in the case when the first takes into account the interests of users, and then their own.

Having an idea of the role played by social engineering (Applied Sociology), you can go to the next step.

3. Strengthening the network effect

Sometimes the appearance of the network effect is obvious, sometimes not. Sometimes you need to scale the masses, but it is possible to benefit from micro-networks, they may be enough to expand the business significantly. Very rarely run the network effect where it does not occur naturally. 
I am upset “experts” claiming the impossibility of viral spread to cloud services B2B-segment. I am sure that this prejudice stopped for at least a few people on the search for solutions in this area.

In practice, in the course of joint work people perform certain actions in a certain way. When they interact with their team, subordinates, boss, corporate leaders, partner organizations, suppliers and customers, they are subject to certain regularities in their behavior. Careful study of these behaviors, understanding why this happens (in terms of the objectives of their actions and psychology) — is the key to the rapid growth of market share (at macro level) and the popularity of the brand (at the micro level).

Identify the actions that users can perform within the network in which you are planning to expand their audience and popularize them with the help of social and computer engineering, and it will be Growth Hacking.

Imagine that you need to bring a cloud service with B2b business model to a rapid and significant growth. Perhaps we will never reach the level of Facebook and Twitter in terms of viral coefficient. However, we can reach an entirely unprecedented level of growth in B2b-segment simply by identifying the natural behaviors of the existing network of contacts a specific audience.

Then, with the help of social and computer engineering, we use them for profit. It’s simple. It is not easy, but simple.

4. Growth Hacking is not free

So, even if your promotional strategy does not involve the use of a fixed value of instruments (eg, contextual advertising with pay per click), Growth Hacking requires time-consuming, and time — is money. People often do not appreciate your time, and it’s not just about startups. You must understand that Growth Hacking is worth the money, even if carried out through the “free” channels. The channels associated with the potential for growth, should not be ignored because of their high cost, this way of thinking is contrary to the philosophy of Growth Hacking.

Undoubtedly, the high cost can not fit into the plans of individuals and companies, especially those that involve the development of the procedure bootstrapping — without investment. However, for the real business owners who understand the importance of customer engagement and dissemination of information, enhance the network effect, the growth in money investment makes sense.

5. Need culture growth

Tactics of Growth Hacking should be applied according to certain rules. At the moment, there are books and hundreds of articles about famous Growth Hacks — projects Hotmail, Paypal, AirBnb and many others. In each of these states any one tricks that worked in each case. For example, added to every email from Hotmail postscript «PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail »caused the viral spread of information about the project.

Paypal and AirBnb are able to succeed thanks to the proper use of services have gained popularity — eBay and Craiglist respectively. 
Anyone who has posted advertisements for apartments rented on Airbnb, could at the same time to post information on Craiglist, the company has made it possible, despite the lack of API at Craiglist.

Subsequently, it began to look like this:

Unfortunately, only a few are trying to figure out what really prompted us to apply certain tactics. Most people do not realize that the success was not simply due to the bare Growth Hacks, going to work in a vacuum. Yes, these tactics have been successful, but the result is the correct growth of the culture as well. These companies really considered growth as their primary reference point, and it was not just about a single person working within an organization and about each employee. Most likely, the same tactics will fail sooner if you implement them in an environment where the growth of the idea is not cultivated, where it is — not one of the main goals. In other words, in an environment that does not share the thinking of the true Growth Hacker such tricks is unlikely to work.

I assume that the popularity of Growth Hacking is due to:

1) way of thinking, where the growth of the idea is in charge of the entire strategy, finally got the bright name.

2) People began to notice how ineffective their marketing, and they believe that the Growth Hacking must necessarily bring them success.

Unfortunately, when I talked to more conservative directors of marketing (it often happened after a conversation with the executive director), they talked about the Growth Hacking as one of a number of other tactics, located somewhere between Adwords and e-mail newsletters.

In most cases, Growth Hacking should not be seen as a means to quickly resolve problems, often it requires a change in the entire company. Some organizations simply not adapted to growth simply due to the specific structure. Sometimes they do not have space for the introduction of flexible procedures needed for monitoring, competent management and the constant iteration of these tactics. My experience is that these companies can not make full use of Growth Hacking.

And although I would argue that Growth Hacking is useful not only for start-ups, the need for it particularly clear for growing (of course) companies at an early stage of development.

While Growth Hacking is often carried out in the company’s “bottom-up”, the most successful cases have occurred in organizations with an authoritarian, aimed at growth management style, where this ideology inculcated leadership. It is worth thinking about it.