Why “Growth Hacking” is an Important Marketing Option to Carefully Explore (Part 1 of 2)
What is Growth Hacking and Why It’s Important
Anyone who has been in the online marketing world eventually hears of the term “growth hacking.” Although its primary goal is understood, the methods of achieving this goal are often grossly misinterpreted.
Growth hacking developed out of the need for new companies to expand brand awareness without the need for expensive, traditional marketing schemes. However, many people simply see this as trying to reach as many people as possible in whatever way they can. For a growth hacking approach to be effective, it needs to be part of a coordinated plan.
So why has growth hacking become so necessary in recent times? Is it because more traditional (and usually costly) approaches no longer work? This is a misconception. Traditional growth strategies can still be extremely effective.
The rise in growth hacking does not really reflect a need for a replacement technique, but the need for an alternative and affordable one, used when the situation calls for it.
The number of products being brought to market has increased exponentially in recent years, as generic product development platforms have become accessible to the vast majority. The direct consequence of this increase is that far more marketers can launch a product with limited resources.
Those people cannot afford traditional growth techniques, so growth hacking takes on increased importance. A strategy that allows you to grow your customer base and attract new prospective customers without having to part with any money? Who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity?!
Why Do People Fail to Execute Growth Hacking Correctly
The problem here is that people may need a bold reminder or a rude awakening about one mistaken assumption made about growth hacking – the mistaken assumption being that just because you don’t have to pay for something, you in effect don’t need an actual strategy with clear, defined goals.
The reality is, in business, any strategy should be aligned with your business goals, should be attainable and achievable, and most importantly, should be measurable. This means that you should be able to compare results against your intended goals.
Let’s consider the most common goal or target that new marketers state when setting out on a growth hacking road. “I want to increase brand awareness”. On a very high level, there is nothing wrong with this starting goal. However, for it to be achievable, you need to narrow down not only how you will achieve this, but how will increased brand awareness help your business.
Perhaps, you are in the process of building a list or generating sign ups to a program. Your conversion rate on those people on this list might be impressive, but actually building that list is proving difficult.
Rather than trying to drive floods of traffic through social media, why not consider a referral program with your existing customers? If your conversion rate is solid, your customers like your products. Let them do the selling on your behalf. A personal recommendation is a form of social proof, and can be far more influential than most other types of marketing.
In this instance, you should set a specific goal or target related to the number of additional signups directly attributable to your referral program. There is little point in offering a referral program if you are not in a position to analyze the results with a clinical eye. Judging the performance of separate strategies allows you to decide what avenues are worth pursuing and what should be ignored.
In part 2, I’ll send you an article where we’ll take look at the one fundamental flaw that prevents most growth hacking strategies from ever getting off the ground!
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Transforming Vision to Value
Roberto Ragone has over 25 years experience in government, nonprofits, and business, working with them on strategic planning, marketing and public relations, fundraising, and outreach. He has also worked on literary, film, and theatre projects.
One of his guiding principles is a determination to help you attract popularity, prosperity, and prestige — fans, friends, funds, and fame. He helps define and disseminate the uniquely compelling story about you, transforming your vision to value so you “REaP” the benefits of your hard work.